University of South Florida

USF Health faculty and students help treat 2,200 patients as part of local medical mission to Haiti

A team of USF Health faculty, residents and students recently traveled to Haiti to provide medical care and carry out research on water quality as part of a trip sponsored by Corpus Christi Catholic Church of Temple Terrace.

The group traveled to Dilaire, Haiti, with other community volunteers, forming a group of 42 members.

“This was the strongest team we have put together in the six years of this clinic,” said Javier Cuevas, PhD, professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology and associate professor in the College of Pharmacy.

“We treated nearly 2,200 patients, including 60 inmates in a local jail and 30 children in a neuro rehabilitation center.”

Dr. Jane Mai

Dr. Jane Mai listens to a patient’s heart.

The group was divided into two teams.  The first team travelled to Haiti from Feb. 28 to March 7 to carry out research on water quality in the area and conduct two surveys, one relating to perinatal care/practices and a second looking at the correlation between hypertension and stress/depression. This team also spearheaded an education program that gave multiple classes reaching about 1,800 people covering such topics as men’s health, women’s health, maternal/infant health, and child health. The first team also set up the clinic.

Gita Bhandari

Public Health student Gita Bhandari tests local water.

The second group was in Haiti the following week, from March 7 to 14, and was responsible for operating the clinic. This group treated nearly 2,200 patients in four days.

“We treated all kinds of conditions ranging from malaria to giardiasis to hypertension,” Dr. Cuevas said. “We also had a surgeon performing procedures such as major wound care. Sadly, we saw patients who had conditions that are beyond the scope of what we can do, such as an omphalocele or large fungating tumors. In addition to this clinic, some members of our team visited the Ft. Liberte prison and treated about 60 inmates.  A second group saw about 30 children and adults at the Fondation Haitienne de Rehabilitation center in Ouanaminthe, who had neurological conditions, such as seizure disorders and cerebral palsy.”

Dr. Richard Roetzheim

Dr. Richard Roetzheim listens to a patient’s abdomen.

Bottom line is that this medical mission is made possible by a big collaboration, he said.

The USF Health team included the following volunteers:

USF COPH students: Gita Bhandari and Maryse Francois.

USF College of Pharmacy faculty: Jose Barboza, PharmD.

MCOM students: Jennifer Shields and Dawn Howard.

MCOM faculty: Richard Roetzheim, MD, (Family Medicine); Waldo Guerrero, MD, (Neurology); and Javier Cuevas, PhD (Pharmacology and Physiology).

MCOM residents/fellows: Joseph Romero, DO, (Pulmonary and Critical Care); Jane Mai, MD, (Infectious Disease and International Medicine); Jennifer Torres-Velasco, MD, (Infectious Disease and International Medicine); and Valery Devanney, MD (Internal Medicine).

Haiti Mission Trip 2015-3962

Photos courtesy of Medical Mission Team.

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