Mercer student Kendra Raines, gives a care package to a Chinese woman injured in the recent Wenchuan earthquake in China.
CHONGQING, China — Mercer University nursing, public health, science and pre-med students, visiting China as participants in the Mercer On Mission program, embraced the victims of China’s recent earthquake with personal care packages and hospital visits in Chongqing this week.
Dr. William Bina, interim dean of the Mercer School of Medicine, is leading 15 students and four faculty members on the first Mercer On Mission trip to China. Recognizing the plight of the earthquake victims from the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province, students initiated the project. Students collected donations and purchased personal care items for distribution to the patients and their families, then made personal visits to the local hospitals in Chongqing.
“This is bigger than anyone can realize,” said Laura Lunsford, a junior in Mercer’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. “There is so much that needs to be done to help these people. Although our efforts have been small, everyone has been so open, welcoming, and appreciative of every small gesture.”
Mercer students have been visiting China for the past 12 days, focusing on China’s health care system in comparison to the U.S. health care system. They have visited a local orphanage, the children’s hospital in Beijing and the Chongqing Medical University. They have met with local Chinese medical students and healthcare officials, including the Beijing Center for Disease Control.
“Our purpose is to transform the lives of students, and these experiences outside of textbook learning -- through orphans, special needs children, and victims from the earthquake – has surpassed our expectations,” Bina said.
Students and faculty will continue their experiences through June 3. They will visit a rural community to learn more about China’s challenges in health care delivery as it relates to the mission of Mercer’s medical school to train physicians to serve in rural and underserved communities in Georgia.
Mercer on Mission is a two-year-old program that offers students life-changing experiences through a combination of study abroad and service-learning. In 2007, Mercer sent teams of students and faculty to Kenya, Guatemala and Brazil to partner with local Baptist missions agencies in service opportunities. This summer, Mercer On Mission has deployed teams to China, Liberia, Senegal, Costa Rica and South Africa.