Students and alumni share medical mission experiences

Author: Shadia Ajam

2015 Dooley Society medical mission stipend awardees

2015 Dooley Society medical mission stipend awardees
Medical mission stipend awardees

Each year Notre Dame alumni in medicine award stipends to a group of current Notre Dame students or alumni in medical school to cover funds for international medical missions. This past Saturday (Sept. 5) before the Notre Dame vs. Texas game, several of the students convened in the Jordan Hall of Science to present their medical mission experiences.

Christopher Ferari ’16 participated in the Texas Medical Mission this summer from May 24-June 2, in Lima, Peru. Ferari and his group volunteered in the National Cathedral Hospital, “2 de mayo,” a public hospital in Lima that treats publicly-insured patients.

“It was really eye opening for me. I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to go abroad again for a really long time.” Ferari said about his experience. “I now see the healthcare system in the U.S. very differently.”

Lauren Matera ’12, a third-year medical student, spent a month in Kabale, Uganda treating HIV/AIDS patients and working to improve maternal-child health care. She worked with Kihefo, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to community development, which includes providing comprehensive medical care, education, and counseling in Uganda. With this organization, Matera traveled to local villages every month to treat HIV positive patients and provided her services in traveling medical camps that were set up in villages.

A group of Notre Dame students, Jeff Chapa ’16, Kristina Stang ’16, Steven Goicoechea ’16, Aaron Tarnasky ’15, Maggie Long ’16, and Laura Anderson ’16, also participated in a week-long medical brigade in Nicaragua where they had the opportunity to shadow licensed doctors in medical consultations and assist in a pharmacy under the direction of licensed pharmacists.

“The Notre Dame alumni who organized the trip taught us a lot about compassion and care. Even with a language barrier, we learned how touch and care can go a long way,” said Goicoechea.

Joseph White, Ann Marie White ’80, and Mary White ’17, traveled to Haiti to work with the Notre Dame Haiti Program. Founded by Rev. Thomas G. Streit, CSC, the goal of the program is to eradicate the mosquito borne illness, Lymphatic Filariasis, by the year 2020 in Haiti. White and her children set up mobile medical clinics in villages, mountains, and quarries, and saw around 500+ patients per week.

Members of the Notre Dame’s chapter of the Timmy Global Health Club, including Michael Broderick ’17, Maria Noel ’17, Jacqlyn Riemersma ’16, Elizabeth Wettere ’15, Tiffany Nguyen ’17, Emily Kaye ’16, and Alyssa Hummel ’15) traveled to Quito, Ecuador this summer. The group went to five different communities around Quito where they treated 521 patients and referred 129 patients, half of which were in chronic conditions, to the local hospital. Timmy’s mission is to expand access to health care and empower students and volunteers.