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Marshall University team serves 2,100 patients on Honduras medical mission

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
  Sheanna Spence, Assistant Director, Alumni Affairs and Community Relations, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Marshall University team serves 2,100 patients on Honduras medical mission

LA ESPERANZA, Honduras – Volunteers from the Marshall University community spent last week vaccinating and treating thousands of patients on its annual “Herd for Honduras” medical mission trip.

The team, which included 66 medical and pharmacy students, clinical faculty, residents, undergraduate students and other health care professionals, treated 2,133 patients during five days of clinics in and around La Esperanza, Honduras. The group came prepared with 55 boxes of supplies, provided by Cabell Huntington Hospital and other community partners, to treat a vast array of conditions—from sexually transmitted diseases to seizures to severe glaucoma to a machete wound—for patients of all ages.

“This year, we focused on preventive medicine and follow-up care,” said Leah D. Stalnaker, a rising fourth-year medical student at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and one of the trip’s organizers. “They don’t have access to many of the medications we have in the States, so we felt like education on managing their conditions would be more valuable long term.”

The team administered TDap vaccinations to protect patients against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Preventive care also included providing more than 160 water filtration systems to Honduran families. The systems are designed to last up to 10 years and can help prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses and parasites. 

In addition to general medicine, the team also provided specialized ophthalmology, dentistry and gynecology care. A gynecology team hosted a clinic for annual exams and performed a variety of surgeries. The team also provided follow-up care for patients who received abnormal Pap smear results during a different medical brigade visit.

During the last two years, Herd for Honduras partnered with Lions Club International, whose local affiliates at Club De Liones La Esperanza help organize accommodations for the Marshall group, serve as guides during the trip, schedule clinics and advertise the medical services provided by the brigade throughout local communities.

Thanks to the Lions Club partnership, Herd for Honduras also has a reliable way to help ensure its Honduran patients receive the follow-up care they need. The club connects patients with local physicians and/or other medical brigades that visit the area and facilitates transportation as needed.

“90 percent of the general medicine cases we saw were simple problems that could be easily treated in our clinic or managed with proper patient education,” Stalnaker said. “For the 10 percent who suffered serious conditions, the Lions Club helped them get hospital treatment and/or follow-up care.”

Now in its ninth year, the annual Herd for Honduras medical mission trip carries on the legacy of the late Dr. Paul Ambrose and his passion for global/public health. Ambrose was a 1995 graduate of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine who was killed in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

This trip is made possible through an endowed fund that bears Ambrose’s name and the generous support of his parents, Dr. Kenneth and Sharon Ambrose; other community supporters, including Cabell Huntington Hospital, which donated medications for the trip; and various student-led fundraising initiatives.


Date Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017