Forty seven UK students, faculty and community members will spend their spring break in Ecuador, providing care to those in need.

UK students work across disciplines to provide health services in Ecuador

A group of UK students, faculty and community members will be spending their spring break in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, on an interdisciplinary health brigade experience with Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG).

The Centro de Salud Hombro a Hombro clinic, the primary worksite for UK’s STSG volunteers, provides medical care, prevention services, oral health and school-based services to the community. The clinic opened its doors 10 years ago as an initiative led by Dr. Thomas Young, a pediatrician at UK HealthCare.

“It is so exciting to celebrate 10 years of delivering comprehensive health services in this community in Ecuador,” Young said. “STSG and our Ecuadorian partners have provided tens of thousands of patients with services and service learning opportunities for UK students, staff and faculty. We plan to continue to dream big.”

The brigade is a culmination of months of preparation that included the Interprofessional Teamwork in Global Health course. As part of this course, students learned about Ecuador, how to work in an interprofessional environment, and how to apply basic principles of cultural anthropology, sociology, diversity and healthcare to the experience.

This year’s brigade will include students from a variety of colleges including Arts and Sciences, Education, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Dentistry.

Whitney White, a third-year dentistry student, said that she hopes to gain an appreciation for Ecuadorian culture and gain valuable skills, which will allow her to make faster and better diagnoses.

“I’m expecting to do a lot of extractions, oral hygiene instruction and diet counseling,” White said. “This experience will also be unique and rewarding because I will work outside of my comfort zone. I know I will return with a new appreciation for how I perform dentistry at home.”


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