My Medical Mission trip to the Dominican Republic

by Hector Santiago.

I have always had a desire to help the community throughout my academic career, lending a helping hand to those in need, even in the smallest way possible. I was heavily involved in community events throughout the undergraduate school, including local outreach events and participating in mission trips abroad.

Their reality was so surreal to me as moat children in the USA are so privileged to have the lives they do.

During my first mission trip abroad with Med Life to Ecuador, I learned quickly that these people are truly in need. I saw kids sleeping on dirt floors in their homes, and playing soccer with a plastic water bottle filled with dirt. Their reality was so surreal to me as moat children in the USA are so privileged to have the lives they do.

After starting at Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine (BUSPM) , my desire to help grew, as I participated in events BUSPM offered and attended a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic this past spring break. In this medical mission trip, I learned that the local people are truly lacking essential healthcare. For many DR natives, it was the first time they had ever been seen by a health professional.

I became interested in making this a recurring and sustainable initiative to the problem. 

Aside from the lack of health care to the population, I noticed that all the children were lacking proper footwear; many kids didn’t even own a pair of shoes. The majority of the children wore old sandals, many of which were made out of cheap rubber and foam. They use these sandals for everything: school, sports, church, etc. This propelled me to get involved in my university as the “Community Service Liaison” and start conversations and dialogue with organizations to help bring about a difference to these communities. After seeing four upperclassmen start a fundraiser to send expandable sandals to Guatemala, I became interested in making this a recurring and sustainable initiative to the problem. 

I am thankful to say that I am working with a local medical missions foundation, Jose’s Hands, to start a tradition in which kids receive shoes that can grow and extend as they get older so that they or their parents don’t have to worry about where their next pair is coming from.

I am excited to continue and potentially expand this initiative as time goes on to contribute to the improvement of the lives of others.

by Hector Santiago.

School: Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine

My medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic

Student, Lifestyle, Clinical experience


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