Students from Oklahoma Christian University put their medical skills to the test while serving children. Over summer break, Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences Dr. Jeff McCormack spearheaded a group that included his wife, five nursing students and three pre-medical students to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The mission-minded adventurers embarked on a one-week journey to El Zamorano, Honduras, home of Jovenes en Camino.
Jovenes en Camino, which means “children on the way” in Spanish, provides a home to 60 young boys who were orphaned or rescued from abusive situations. The lush, nine-acre tropical campus includes a soccer field, sparkling fountain and a large swimming pool. The boys learn skills like carpentry, help operate the farm that includes 11 cows, receive tutoring and school plus benefit from the care offered by the onsite clinic and pharmacy.
The clinic benefits El Zamorano (population 15,000) and surrounding communities with improved healthcare. Colleges of Pharmacy at both Lipscomb University and Belmont University funded the project.
“I’ve taken students on mission trips before, but this is the first year we had the opportunity to do a medical mission trip to Jovenes,” McCormack said.
The OC group met many of the boys and staff who live, work and play there. Junior nursing student Mallori Meuller recalled her experience of putting her knowledge into action.
“Not only did we get to transfer our knowledge from the classroom to real-world practices, but we also got to build relationships and inform patients about how to take care of themselves,” Meuller said. “The people were so appreciative and vulnerable, which made us happy to be vulnerable with them.”
Meuller and the other students conducted basic check-ups by monitoring weight, height, taking blood pressure, checking vitals and filling prescriptions.
In addition to visiting Joevenes en Camino, the team interacted with the surrounding community by offering assistance to other clinics. The team set up various clinics in small schools and churches, using sheets to create “rooms” for patients. McCormack and his team assessed over 100 patients in Lomanillo, Galera and El Rincon. By the end of the two weeks, the team had provided medical attention to over 500 people.
“These kinds of opportunities are really rich for students to be exposed to, and it shows them that there are ways to serve in any kind of environment they might find themselves in,” McCormack said. “I can see the light go on through their interactions, and that is one of my favorite parts about bringing students on these types of trips.”
Photo from left to right, top row - Katie Dowty, Tina McCormack, Will Gathwright, Mallori Meuller and Jeff McCormack.
Bottom row - Kylie Chaffin, Hannah McMillon, Tamzin Bryan, Katie Stagg and Jacob Knox.