TouroCOM Administers Healthcare in Honduras
Medical Brigade Is Learning Opportunity for Students and Community
Students from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Middletown campus recently volunteered for the school’s Medical Brigade mission in Honduras, where they provided critical healthcare services to residents of underserved communities in Pedregal and Las Crucitas.
Students performed triage, took vitals, ran a pharmacy and taught children at an education station. “It was truly an eye-opening experience, as it was the first time many of us had volunteered in a third world country,” said Bianca Zapanta, one of the volunteers.
TouroCOM has participated in Medical Brigades programs in Haiti, India and all over the world. “It’s a great experience,” said Dr. Jerry Cammarata, Dean of Student Affairs at TouroCOM, Middletown. “All of a sudden, the primary techniques these students have learned, such as using a stethoscope, become very meaningful. Often times, they are providing treatment to people who have never been able to see a doctor,” he said. “The students work with physicians and the local community. And they are learning the culture.”
In setting up the mission, medical students also learn to be independent organizers. “The second year students develop and orchestrate the trips for the first year students,” said Dr. Cammarata.
Despite the language and cultural barriers, Zapanta said “we were able to connect instantly with the community members, and they were grateful for the time we spent with them. We learned a lot from them and they from us. It's a program we will never forget and one that we would recommend to all TouroCOM students.”
Dr. Cammarata said TouroCOM’s Medical Brigade is, in many ways a rite of passage.
“It signifies that you’re on the path to becoming a doctor,” he said.