In 2005, a small group of University of South Florida students with an interest in international health noticed that USF Health lacked a student-led interdisciplinary organization. With this, the vision for the International Health Service Collaborative (IHSC) was born.
IHSC is unique in that it hosts students, faculty, and professionals from the University of South Florida Colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy and School of Physical Therapy. The collaborative works together to implement sustainable health projects for underserved populations both locally and around the world, extending the collaborative to communities in Tampa, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Panama.
Last March, 14 USF Health students embarked on a service trip to Chica, Panama. They organized a community clinic serving more than 100 persons, examined water and sanitation needs, implemented health education at the local primary school, and conducted informal needs assessments at the clinic and at various households. These efforts have prepared IHSC for future projects in Chica.
For Spring Break 2014, students will return to the rural mountain town of Chica to continue assessing needs and providing services. Research projects will be conducted in conjunction with the community pertaining to the community’s access to health resources, water/sanitation infrastructure, and school-based health education prevention programming.
In support of their 2014 service mission, IHSC is holding a holiday fundraiser selling handmade ornaments crafted by some of the student members. The ornament can be personalized to reflect USF Health colleges and schools and a particular graduation year. Buy the ornament à la carte or packaged with hot cocoa and homemade brownies for the holidays!
Story and photos courtesy of Shivani Gogna, USF College of Public Health