NEW YORK – New York’s Monroe College, a national leader in urban and international education, announced today (April 13) that a team of students and faculty from the institution’s School of Allied Health Professions will be traveling to Moneague, Jamaica during spring break to provide medical assistance and health education to local residents.
Nine students and two faculty members will be traveling to a small rural community in the northern region of Jamaica that is home to some of the country’s most vulnerable residents, including the elderly and those with significant physical and mental disabilities. The community, named Jacob’s Ladder, is the only one within the island nation that specifically caters to the needs of adults with such heightened medical and social challenges.
The Monroe students will live and work within the village from April 18-25, providing practical information on hygiene and healthy living, as well as educating older children and teens about HIV, how it is spread and the precautions those infected must take to mitigate the risk to others. They will also conduct essential wellness screenings at the local clinic, such as checking blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels, and conducting eye exams. Additionally, they will participate in other critical community activities, such as painting, building repairs, planting crops and helping care for the local livestock.
Professor Tasha Valentino, who will accompany the students with faculty member Dr. Desmond Poyser, will also work with the community’s medical staff to ensure that they are utilizing the latest lifesaving and first aid techniques. They will also help elders in the community stay alert and active by offering yoga programs.
“The Medical Mission is a highly sought-after opportunity among Monroe students looking to leverage their clinical training and healthcare knowledge to help people without easy access to the type of basic health information and medical care that many of us take for granted,” said Dr. Jerry Kostroff, Dean of the School of Allied Health Professions. “We are extraordinarily proud of the number of Monroe students that seek to participate each year, as it speaks to the caliber of compassionate, caring healthcare professionals they will assuredly become one day.”
This is the fourth consecutive year Monroe’s School of Allied Health Professions has organized the Medical Mission over spring break. Last year, students traveled to Beards Fork, West Virginia; earlier trips were to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. As well, there was a separate trip in February to Haiti, during which five students in Monroe’s School of Nursing Baccalaureate program provided medical assistance and health education to residents of a town severely impacted by 2010’s devastating earthquake.
35 students applied to participate in Monroe’s Medical Mission program this year. The nine chosen to participate were selected in a rigorous process that included a committee review of applications, GPA scores, letters of recommendation, written essays and prior community experience.
This year’s Medical Mission is being conducted in cooperation with Mustard Seed Communities, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that operates the 100-acre community in Jamaica as well as other communities for vulnerable populations in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Zimbabwe.