BOISE -- A small group of Boise State students will be leaving for the Dominican Republic in January as part of a medical brigade. The trip will provide them with hands-on experience and a chance to help more than 600 people in need.
The students will be partnering with a team of doctors and nurse practitioners from all over the country. They will be changing the lives of those they help and enriching their own.
"It just kind of warms your heart to see the way people act when you come into these places and give them things that they don't have," said Camille Stover, Boise State respiratory therapy student.
Stover's first experience volunteering at a medical clinic in the Dominican Republic was in May 2012. She says she can't wait to go again. This time she is going with seven other Boise State students and a faculty advisor.
"Any time you get the chance to do something outside the norm is very important for students," said Megan Spurny, assistant clinical professor for Department of Respiratory Care at Boise State University.
The group will be working at several medical clinics in Monte Cristi, near the border of Haiti, where the need for medical care is overwhelming. The people living in the rural, impoverished area suffer from malnutrition, internal parasites, hypertension, and the lack of dental hygiene. The Boise State students will be right alongside doctors and nurses providing care.
"This is really going to give me a close, inside look of what I'm going to be doing," said Ryan Carfi, Boise State student. "I've already shadowed doctors and things but when you're down there, it's completely different. You get to follow doctors around. You're actually assisting with things, versus just watching."
The Boise State medical brigade is working with an organization called TIMMY Global Health, which works to empower students and volunteers to expand access to global health care. Stover spearheaded formation of the TIMMY chapter at Boise State.
"We will help with triage so we'll take blood pressures, temperatures, weigh children, measure adults," said Stover.
Carfi, a junior pre-med student, is serving as trip leader.
"I'm looking forward to experiencing a different culture. It's going to be completely different from what we live here day to day," said Carfi.
The Boise State group is in need of supplies to take to the Dominican Republic. If you would like to help, please take new, unopened items to the Health Sciences Riverside building, Room 206-A. They are located at 950 Lusk Street in Boise.
Vitamins - adult, prenatal, and youth. No "gummie" or expired vitamins please.
Over-the-counter medicines, like pain relievers and antacids
Coloring books - or any other items children might enjoy and play with while their parents are being treated
A fundraiser is also planned from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Blue Cow Frozen Yogurt located at 2333 Apple Street in Boise. Fifty percent of sales will go toward the trip.