Students Complete 20th Year of Medical Mission Trips to Central America
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
By Britain Miethe
For the 20th consecutive year, pre-med and health science students from Lee University traveled to Guatemala and Honduras during the summer to provide medical care for those in need.
Students departed on June 12 for the Guatemalan city of Huehuetenango, where they stayed during their trip. The group served more than 1,500 patients in 10 clinics over a 16-day period.
The team served under the direction of the Iglesia de Dios Evangelio Completo District Supervisor Estuardo Clara Vela and worked with local health care providers in order to ensure proper continuity of care. Dr. Jeri Veenstra, professor of health science at Lee, was the faculty sponsor and dentist for the trip.
Along with receiving service hours and course credits, participating students learn more about the need for competent health care workers in poverty-stricken areas.
“The primary goal of our program is to introduce and encourage students in providing health care for the poor throughout their careers,” said Veenstra.
This year’s Guatemala team consisted of Lee faculty, students and alumni, along with a few friends and family, and included Dr. Erin Bailey, Jared Barton, Rachel Boltniew, Ankita Chaudhari, Elliot Edwards, Amanda Gibbs, Dr. Lorin Holst, Michelle Holst, Alex Huelskamp, Laura Jones, Billie Jones, Shelby Lane, Kelsey Lovingood, Bradley Oroszi, Lynnette Riley, Bedford Smith, Willa Smith, Jim Veenstra, Dr. Jeri Veenstra, and Laurie Womac.
In addition to the Guatemala team, another group of Lee students, under the direction of Ms. JoBeth Boyer, Dr. Eddie Brown, Dr. DeWayne Knight, and Dr. Keven Bowdle went to serve with Dr. Martin and Wendy Williams at the Jungle Hospital in Rio Viejo, Atlántida, Honduras.
Both teams were able to provide medical, pediatric, dental, optometric, and pharmaceutical care to the local villages in their respective areas. They also partner with area pastors in order to ensure that spiritual, as well as physical, care is available for those who need it.
Other team members included Renee Brown, Jackson Bowdle, Janay Boyer, and Lee students Taylor Bailey, Garrett Bowdle, Anita Chukwu, Zack Deering, Chad Flora, Christina Grimsley, Christin Henry, Cedrica Postenrieder, Michelle Spangler, and Baylor Spotts.
Working with the Williams’ ministry, Healing Hands Global (HHG), the Honduras team was able to see over 750 patients in seven villages. Four clinic days at the Jungle Hospital were also included.
“In the five years Lee has been partnering with HHG Honduras, the 25,000 residents of this isolated region have become measurably healthier,” said Boyer. “Through the generous support of Lee, plus numerous grants by medical non-profits, the Lee team brings in between $75,000 and $200,000 in pharmaceuticals to minister to the people of Honduras.”
For more information on this or other Global Perspective trips, please contact 423-614-8357, or visit http://leeuniversity.edu/global/.
PHOTOS: (top left) Guatemalan team; (upper right Lovingood, Huelskamp, and Edwards administering a blood glucose test to a patient; (bottom) Honduran team