Megan Spurny, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Respiratory Care, College of Health Sciences, led members of a new collegiate chapter of TIMMY Global Health on its inaugural journey to the Dominican Republic on Jan. 11. During the eight day trip, the students and medical team saw almost 800 patients, mostly children, and provided much-needed basic health care to five rural communities of banana farmers.
The Boise State brigade is one of the newest collegiate chapters of TIMMY Global Health and included two respiratory care students, three pre-medical students, one kinesiology/biomechanics student and one bilingual education student. They partnered with a national team of physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses who frequently work with TIMMY chapters to fully staff the trip.
Dr. Mike Blood, from Medical Missions South Haiti based in Crawfordsville, Indiana, brought lab equipment and an ultrasound. Together the group was able to perform 60 ultrasounds, more accurately diagnosing and treating certain infections and perform multiple out-patient procedures like biopsies or abscess draining. This was amazing for both the students and the local patients because people in these communities had never had access to things like this before. Women who had never heard their baby’s heartbeat were able to see an image of their child!
“Many of the students were able to observe and even perform some tasks for the very first time, as well as observe and participate as part of a well functioning interdisciplinary health care team,” Spurny said. “We are excited to begin planning and fundraising for next year’s trip; we are hoping to include even more students from many other departments! Thank you to all who donated, supported or plan to continue to support TIMMY!”
“This is truly a unique opportunity for Boise State students to work with medical professionals from around the country to deliver health care to a rural and underserved area of the world,” Spurny said. “I am excited to be part of helping students learn outside of the classroom.”
Student Camille Stover spearheaded formation of the chapter after traveling with a TIMMY chapter in August. She is serving as president of the Boise State group and student Ryan Calfi is serving as trip leader.
TIMMY visits its partner locations every two to three months to provide a steady and sustainable source for basic health care in the very rural area of Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic.
Boise State students served various roles throughout the clinics such as assisting with vital signs and patient histories in triage situations, shadowing physicians and other medical professionals in patient consultation, helping dispense medications in the pharmacy as well as aiding in possible outpatient procedures. The Boise State group also collected adult, children and prenatal vitamins to take on the trip to donate to local clinics.