Each year, the UF chapter of the Global Medical Training (GMT) program hosts medical mission trips to Central and South American countries. These trips provide hands-on clinical experience to undergraduate students interested in a medical or dental profession as well as free medical and dental services to medically deprived communities in Central and South America. Nutritional sciences junior Lorenzo Quiceno received support from the VP Promise for his medical mission trip to Peru with UF GMT. The winter break trip included two travel days, four clinical days and one excursion day.
Quiceno served a rural community in Peru and spent his first full day in the country refreshing his skills on how to take blood pressure, listen to the heart, examine the lungs and conduct eye exams. Quiceno said that knowing Spanish was helpful, but the local communities have their own dialect depending on the area.
The majority of the trip was spent serving others. Students and GMT coordinators set up at locations ranging from a recreational facility to the local community center. At the recreational facility, Quiceno gained hands-on experience performing patient exams. “After this, we presented to the physician with what we thought the patient’s diagnosis might be,” he said. While at the local public school, there were many patients with cardiovascular diseases, which provided Quiceno with an opportunity to learn how to properly place electrodes on a patient to perform an electrocardiogram. Quiceno said he hopes to come back and work with the community again and help those in need.
Before departing, student participants went parasailing at the beach before traveling to Lima to begin the trip home.
This trip gave students a glimpse into the culture, history, politics, comparative healthcare systems and public health problems of Peru. One theme Quiceno emphasized when reflecting on his trip was the healthcare divide between rural and urban communities. “When talking to the patients, I learned that rural areas compared to urban areas have the same medication prices,” Quiceno said. “Availability is better in rural areas ; however, they don’t have the variety of medicines available in urban areas.”
The VP Promise is an initiative to provide financial assistance for students pursuing experiences in agriculture, life sciences and natural resources. CALS supports student success both inside and outside of the classroom and encourages students to broaden their perspectives through enriching opportunities such as study abroad programs and travel to conferences. For more information on the VP Promise visit the CALS website.