Multicultural Medical Student Organization Ponders Lessons From Communities During Mission Trip

March 28, 2018
MAPS Spring Break Mission to DR

Baylor MAPS students partnered with the Good Samaritan Mission Council in La Romana, Dominican Republic, teamed up with local physicians and visited rural and impoverished communities in the country.

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WACO, Texas (March 28, 2018) — Baylor University's Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) sent a team of 13 students and faculty members over Spring Break to partner with the Good Samaritan Mission Council in La Romana, Dominican Republic, and gain a greater understanding of service and cultural competency.

MAPS exists to promote diversity in the health care field and facilitate service learning opportunities to prepare its members to provide for the health care needs of individuals from varying backgrounds, cultures and socioeconomic levels.

The students teamed up with local physicians and visited rural and impoverished communities in the country, serving in communities called bateyes. Bateyes are settlements found in sugarcane fields, where residents work hard and are fortunate if they have running water or an outhouse. They have very little to no medical attention.

MAPS students served on the mission trip by shadowing local doctors, providing food and taking vital signs so members of the community could get basic medical care. The organization also brought additional over-the-counter medications, including antibiotics, antifungal medication, cough syrup, ibuprofen, aspirin and Tylenol to aid the pharmacies at the clinics.

Irving senior Pamela Ruz, a psychology major, went on this trip two years ago and had an eye-opening experience. She decided to run for Medical Mission Chair to be able to lead the trip this year.

“I fell in love with the people and their joy. I just needed to go back. However, the most important reason was to be able to bring a team with me and for them to experience this trip,” Ruz said. “Since I am graduating soon, I wanted those who went on the trip to learn and be inspired to make this a priority in our organization to be able to provide as much help as possible to the places we went in the Dominican Republic.”

Outside of health care, Ruz said the MAPS team discovered a number of other problems the organization wanted to address, such as the lack of education in the places they visited.

“Our team was so impacted by this that we decided to create a committee for next trip to come up with lessons about health education, hygiene and other topics to hopefully help,” Ruz said.

“A lot of our team was scared about the language barrier. However, it didn't take them long to realize how they didn't need to speak the same language to communicate. A smile is universal,” Ruz said.

Although MAPS went to help those in need, many students and faculty felt that they were the ones transformed.

Mojgan Parizi-Robinson, Ph.D., lecturer in biology, said the people of Dominican Republic inspired her to be more cognizant of material things she doesn’t need.

“They just make me realize how precious life is without all of the material things that we think we need. It just brings me closer to God. This is the second time I’ve gone there and every time I’ve come back feeling fulfilled and feeling that they helped me more than I helped them,” Parizi-Robinson said.

Ruz said that in spite of their circumstances, the people of Dominican Republic inspired her to have joy for life itself. As MAPS continues with this mission trip, they hope to improve it so they can meet more needs.

“The joy and faith in these communities were so impactful,” Ruz said. “They live in these places where they don't have clean water or nutritional food, and they’re stuck in this system that is almost impossible to get out of because they are practically owned by the huge companies. However, they are still smiling and thanking God for giving them the strength to wake up that morning.”
by Joy Moton , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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