Students would be
able to work in several areas of the clinic. Much of
their work would be in the clinic itself, assisting
health care providers in the medical, dental, pediatric,
and women’s clinics. Other translating opportunities
would be in the areas of patient education, pharmacy,
midwife education, and in teaching the firemen. There
would also be the more difficult challenge of
translating for the hospital lectures, this would
require a more extensive knowledge of technical medical
We would accept both High School and College students,
either those who are native speakers, or who have
demonstrated proficiency as Spanish majors. For High
School and for freshman and sophomore college students,
we would request a statement from a Spanish teacher that
they are fluent enough for the challenges that they
would face. For students who would be translating for
the teaching mentioned above, we would provide the
English vocabulary that they would have to use ahead of
time, so that the student would be able to acquire the
appropriate vocabulary in advance. Opportunities would
be available for the student to prepare patient teaching
topics that interest them ahead of time and then to work
with our patient educator in the clinic.
Students should be in good health. We require that they
receive Hepatitis A and B vaccines ahead of time, and
that they be up to date on tetanus immunization. The
altitude that we work at is free of malaria. Dengue
fever is a risk that is avoided by use of insect
repellent. We stay at a pleasant small hotel, and travel
by bus to the clinic. The cost of the mission is
~$900-$1000 for each volunteer. This covers airfare,
hotel, all meals and all ground transportation.
Besides being an excellent opportunity to practice their
Spanish, students will be exposed to the reality of
third world problems, in an environment where dedicated
volunteers are working to make a real difference in the
lives of the people served. Since we are an ongoing
mission which has served the same area for over six
years, our mission has made real friends among the local
population. This means that the student will have an
opportunity to work with the area bilingual population
as well, since these townspeople help us as translators
on each of our visits.
Clearly, such a mission could fulfill a school’s
requirement for community service, in an area where the
students skills are needed and valued.
For further information,
click here to download an application, email us
, or contact us by mail
at PO Box 627, Glens Falls, NY 12801.
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER EXPERIENCE*******
One of the major roles of the Health Care Provider
student in the latter stages of his training, is to
increase his exposure to clinical material in a setting
where he will sharpen his skills in physical
examination, gain experience in differential diagnosis,
and learn cost effective, appropriate treatment.
Typically, this is achieved in a hospital, clinic, or
private practice setting. Often in these settings, the
constraints of the available patient population
restricts the type of experience the student will have.
The Glens Falls Medical Mission Foundation holds 1 week
medical missions in Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala every
spring and fall. During the 5 days of the clinic, we
typically see over 2000 patients and their families. We
provide medical, dental, pediatric and women’s care
services. We have a fully stocked pharmacy and patient
education departments. We hold outreach training for
local firemen, midwives, and hospital personnel. We work
closely with the townspeople and the local Lions Club,
and have become an important, if intermittent, part of
Our health care providers include practicing dentists,
physicians, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives,
physician assistants and nurses. Almost since our
inception, we have accepted Health Care Practitioner
students as well. We would like to codify this student
experience, and submit it to teaching institutions to
permit more students to avail themselves of this unique
learning experience. We would hope that the educational
institutions that refer students would consider this to
be a credit bearing rotation. Obviously, this could also
fulfill an institution’s public service requirement.
On a Glens
Falls Medical Mission rotation, the student would:
by practicing Health Care Providers in the specialty
clinics that they work in.
Be exposed to
social and cultural issues more intense than they
would ever experience at home. We deal with problems
caused by poverty, malnutrition, inadequate
immunizations, inadequate health care system,
illiteracy, and inadequate sanitation. The will see
the role of patient education in helping to address
these issues. We try to deal with these issues in a
culturally sensitive way that preserves the dignity
of the individual. They will learn how the issues of
third world cultures eventually affect all of us,
whether through the import of exotic diseases, or
addressing the needs of immigrant populations.
Be exposed to
many disease entities that are uncommon in the US,
and many that are in more advanced stages than would
be expected in a first world country. Kwashiorkor,
marasmus, vitamin deficiencies, cataracts,
incapacitating varicosities, previously undiagnosed
congenital abnormalities, and parasitic diseases are
just a few.
opportunity to rotate through all the clinics,
spending time with practitioners in each area.
Depending on staffing needs, time could also be
spent in pharmacy, education, or other areas.
really use clinical skills. Our access to lab and
x-ray services is very limited, and clinical
diagnosis is emphasized.
cost effectiveness really means in medicine. They
will work with the pharmacist, educator or providers
to be sure that the patient can be provided with the
means to actually carry out the prescribed regimen.
In order to
join a mission, the student would need to:
Be in the
final stages of their training. We would accept 4th
year medical students, and other students who are
within 4-6 months of graduation, or who have had
approximately 2/3 of their clinical training behind
them. They would need a letter of approval from
their dean or academic advisor. We are not in a
position to teach basic physical exam skills, and
expect the student to be proficient in these areas.
Be in good
health and appropriately immunized to tetanus,
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A. We are at an altitude
too high for malaria. Dengue is a risk, we address
this with insect repellents.
Be able to
pay their own way. A mission costs ~$900-$1000 per
person. That is all inclusive: air fare, ground
transportation, room and board.
own exam equipment: blood pressure cuff,
stethoscope, otoscope and opthalmoscope.
enthusiastic and hard working. Our days are long and
tiring. We expect students to initiate the patient
assessment, then seek out a provider to review their
findings and plan.
Be a team
player. They will be working with many people who
may have less education but more experience than
they do. They must be able to learn from, and work
with, everyone on the team.
Be covered by
their school’s malpractice insurance.
A typical mission
has 35-40 people. We stay in a very pleasant small
hotel, and travel by bus to the clinic each day.
Students do not need to be fluent in Spanish, although
that is, of course, an advantage. Those who are not
should make the effort to learn the basics: how to
introduce themselves, greet people, and learn phrases
useful in the physical exam. (“Lie down, open your
mouth” etc.) For students joining us on their own, we
will have a limit of 3 students per mission. If an
instructor comes with the students, this number can be
negotiated according to the needs of the mission that
trip. For those who wish it, there is an opportunity to
travel a bit in Guatemala after the mission is over.
This can be arranged with our travel agent.
Click here to download an
In offering this educational opportunity, we hope to
enlarge the horizons of Health Care Provider students,
both culturally and medically, as well as improve our
ability to serve this medically indigent but wonderful
group of Guatemalan people.
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