This Sunday students and faculty from UMass Dartmouth's College of Nursing will depart to Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a week, as part of the experiential learning portion of the students' Community Health course at UMass Dartmouth. The team is traveling with Partner's in Development (PID) to Port-au-Prince to work at the non-profit organization's medical clinic.
In total 20 individuals are part of the UMass Dartmouth team traveling to Haiti, including 2 faculty members, 5 additional nurses, and 13 students. Senior nursing students traveling on their second trip to Haiti are Paula Cruz, Kelly Miller and Kimberley Saunders. Junior nursing students traveling are Ryan Carey, Tyler Duffy, Kimberly Liston, Kimberly Striglio, Katie Pelland, Kathleen Lynch, Jillian Wry, Jillian Baron, Mary Kate Krawcinski, and Sandy Lopez.
PID has been involved in health, education, and development initiatives in Haiti since 1990. This is the 5th trip to Haiti for the university's College of Nursing. This year, student nurses collected more than 400 lbs. of donations to bring to Haiti. The donations consist of essential medical and dental supplies, along with toys and other items for children and families.
In preparation for the trip, the students learned about the political, social, economic, cultural, religious, and healthcare systems in Haiti to complete a community assessment. In addition, the students learned to speak Haitian Creole and put together health promotion materials to bring on the trip. The team of students, faculty, and nurses will live and work on the PID compound. In year's past, there were opportunities to work in mobile clinics and also assist in construction efforts following the devastation caused by an earthquake in January 2010.
"Students describe this experience as life-changing," said Maryellen Brisbois, Assistant Professor of Nursing at UMass Dartmouth. "More than ever it is important that nurses are culturally competent to care for all types of patients as the world has become a 'global village'."
Those interested can stay up-to-date with the group's trip on Facebook and Twitter.