A team of 14 Wilson College students, faculty members and an alumna, accompanied by three local medical practitioners associated with Wellspan Health, traveled to the Dominican Republic Jan. 5 on a weeklong medical mission trip to help Haitian sugar cane cutters with healthcare needs. It was the second such Wilson-sponsored trip in the past two years─the first was held in 2018.

The students, Wilson nursing professor Julie Beck (who directs Wilson's nursing program) and Spanish professor Wendell Smith, along with retired physician George Baker, Dr. Sanjay Dhar and Wellspan Chambersburg Hospital Senior Vice President of Hospital Services Sherri Stahl provided medical services in remote villages called "bateyes," where Haitian "guest workers" who cut sugar cane make their homes during the cane harvest. Because of the company-owned villages' isolated locations and poverty, most families living in the bateyes have limited access to preventative healthcare and depend on volunteer teams that bring doctors, nurses and medicine to provide basic medical care for the workers and their families.

The local team coordinated its work through an agreement with El Buen Samaritano (the Good Samaritan) Hospital in the southeastern coastal city of La Romana, which runs medical trips to approximately 100 bateyes twice a year.

Medical missions are part of Wilson’s service-learning programs for students. 

Published: January 13, 2020