Salus students from various programs participated in humanitarian trips this academic year to serve underserved communities. 

La Barca, Jalisco, Mexico

2 Salus students giving eye exams to 2 patients in MexicoThe Class of 2024 Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University’s Student Optometric Service to Humanity (SOSH) chapter went on its first post-pandemic trip to La Barca, Jalisco, Mexico. The trip included 15 students and two faculty members who had the opportunity to serve 2,278 patients over the span of six and a half clinic days. Although humanitarian work has been part of the SOSH chapter’s mission for more than 50 years, it was the first time SOSH teamed up with Oeuvre Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) Santa Cruz.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

PCO student working giving an eye exam to a young boyPCO/Salus students from the Class of 2023 had the opportunity to go on a humanitarian trip and provide eye care to underserved communities in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Over a four-day period, the group saw more than 3,900 patients. Students performed refractions, dispensed medications, referred patients for surgical procedures, and provided prescription glasses and sunglasses to patients in need. The PCO/Salus contingent joined the Connecticut chapter of VOSH at its annual clinic and joined a team of approximately 50 members.

Zacapa, Guatemala

OT and PA students smiling for a group photo in GuatemalaIn August, 17 Physician Assistant (PA) Studies students, two Occupational Therapy (OT) students, two PA faculty members, two nurses, and two non-medical volunteers traveled to Zacapa, Guatemala. The students, along with in-country interpreters and a local physical therapist, were able to offer basic healthcare and health education to 400 medical and therapy patients in five different communities. Partnering with Hearts in Motion, this was the perfect opportunity for students to experience first-hand medical care in an area with limited medical resources. Through this experience, students were able to gain a deeper understanding of the role social determinants of health play in healthcare accessibility and outcomes that may be difficult to appreciate in the classroom setting. 

Turks and Caicos Islands

Bob Serianni working with a child in Turks & CaicosIn August, five Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) students joined other SLP and physical therapy students from across the United States in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to work with children and adults with a variety of communication and swallowing disorders. The trip, organized by Therapy Abroad and supported by TCI’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, was supervised by an interprofessional team of clinicians from the U.S., including Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, Salus SLP chair and program director. Students conducted a community-based camp for several children and home visits for other community members on Grand Turk for one week.