Starting February 25th, the World Student Health Organization (WHSO) at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine will send a group of 20-22 medical students and a physician to Haiti for 10 days as part of an already planned medical mission. The student-run organization plans to take drugs, medical equipment and health care to Haiti. According to a press release, the trip has become even more critical following the massive earthquake that devastated the impoverished island nation.
“As soon the students heard about the earthquake you would have thought they would have been concerned about still going on the trip, but the reaction was the total opposite,” says Rosita Iordanova, a second-year medical student. “The students are even more motivated to go to Haiti and make a difference in people’s lives.”
“These students, and the faculty who assist them in these trips, deserve a tremendous amount of admiration for these missions,” says Valerie Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., interim dean of the School of Medicine. “They bring much-needed care to remote villages and towns, and in return they get a real education into how a substantial segment of the world’s population lives without adequate health care. I hope that everyone who can will contribute to these missions.”
The nonprofit WHSO is seeking donations of medications, vitamins, condoms, pregnancy test kits, blood pressure cuffs and blood sugar measuring kits. Tax-deductible monetary donations will assist the group in purchasing additional supplies and equipment, and can be made at the WHSO’s donation page.
In addition to sending a mission to Haiti, the WHSO has already sent a mission to Nicaragua during December, and also plans to send teams to Belize (Feb. 28-March 7), Costa Rica (Feb. 25-March 7), and Ecuador (March 20-28). About 90 students in all will take part in the medical missions this academic year. The trips are typically staffed by 20 first- and second-year students, two fourth-year students, and a physician and customarily remain on the missions for seven to 10 days.
Students who go on these trips abroad must first do volunteer work in the the Detroit area. Among the activities are a mentoring program at Lessinger Middle School, where the medical students help teach science classes and create assembly-like educational events. WHSO also sends volunteers to Freedom House, a place in Detroit for refugees to stay while they are waiting for permission to legally stay in the United States. There the WHSO members read blood pressures and also give presentations on medical topics such as female/male health, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.
The WHSO has steadily increased in membership since its formation four years ago, and is now one of the largest student organizations at the School of Medicine.