Mercer Student-Led Team Headed to Haiti for Medical Mission

July 15, 2010

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

To follow the progress of the team on its blog, which includes photos, go> .

MACON – A mission team led by students from Mercer University’s School of Medicine will leave for Haiti this Saturday to set up and operate a mobile medical clinic at several orphanages in Haiti, a country that was ravaged by an earthquake earlier this year. The mission team includes 12 medical students as well as Mercer faculty and will include medical and non-medical personnel from Macon and surrounding areas. The team will travel to the city of Les Cayes and set up their medical clinic. The group will be in Haiti from Saturday through July 24.

The team includes four Medical School faculty members (including three physicians), a Mercer Medical School parent who is a doctor, four nurses, 12 medical students and eight non-medical personnel. The non-medical personnel are friends and others from local church ministries who will coordinate a children’s ministry, work daily with orphans, and assist in non-clinical duties helping patients and care providers

Second-year medical student Amy Mason spearheaded the trip and said medical students often organize a summer mission trip. Last fall students picked Haiti for their mission. Their travel plans were confirmed on Jan. 12, the day of the quake. The team was in part organized through the Medical School’s Christian Medical Association and Mason felt that the team was led to Haiti, where it can now make an even more significant impact with its clinic, helping heal a wounded nation. 

“As the student leader of the trip, I am very excited to bring people in the medical field together to serve the people of Haiti, especially under the name of Christ.  It’s always been my belief that those of us in the health profession have an obligation to use our abilities to narrow the gap that exists between America and the third world,” Mason said. “Christ gave his life sacrificially and our team hopes to serve the Haitians in the same way. I am grateful to the Medical School, especially Dean Bill Bina, for their support of the endeavor, and I cannot wait to see the fruit of our work.”

Les Cayes is four hours west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where the earthquake hit, but there are thousands of refugees that have fled the city to the outlying areas. The team will work with El Shaddai Ministries and daily set up a mobile medical clinic in different communities in the area. They will work with both children and adults from the community, focusing on primary care. Students and faculty members are providing their own support for this work, receiving funds and donations from businesses, charities, churches, family, friends and their own personal resources. All told, the team’s trip will cost $45,000.

“The school strongly encourages this service and learning experience for medical students,” said Dr. William Bina III, dean of the medical school. “Students serving the health care needs of refugees and others who seek care gives them a deep appreciation and understanding of what a community physician is and does. Medical students who participate in this type of service will have life-changing experiences through immersion in another culture while providing meaningful service to others.”

About the Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon and Savannah):
Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. The School only accepts Georgia residents into its medical degree program. Students entering Mercer University School of Medicine will be graduated from a school that utilizes a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. In August 2008, the inaugural class of 30 students began study at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah at Mercer’s second full, four-year doctor of medicine program. The School also offers master’s degrees in public health, family therapy, family services and nurse anesthesia.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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