The road to Honduras


On March 14, 2014, 31 Des Moines University students embarked on a weeklong journey to provide health care, education and supplies to hundreds of underserved individuals in Honduras. But did our adventure really begin when we boarded a bus to Chicago International Airport? No. The road to Honduras actually began way back in August 2013.

Three second-year trip leaders had to develop an application, grade essays, interview applicants and select the candidates best skilled for the experience. This year, there were more than 60 applicants – the largest group the global health department has experienced! We had the student workforce ready, but we still needed health care workers to lead us in providing medical service. We managed to recruit nine health care providers and one pharmacist. Manpower, check!

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Honduras trip leader Dan Cole, D.O.’16, discusses the Central American country during a session of the DMU Global Health Learning Collaborative.

Then came the hard part – we had to actually plan the trip and smooth out the nitty-gritty details. This involved making travel arrangements, booking flights, coordinating with Global Brigades for arrangements in Honduras, and working in sync with DMU for travel, payment and approval of trip plans. All of the participants met on four different occasions to discuss the trip and learn what our roles were going to be in Honduras. In addition to these meetings, we attended seven Global Health Learning Collaborative sessions to learn more about health care on a global scale. Details, check!

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What’s left on the to-do list? Purchasing medications and supplies, and then prepping these supplies for use in the Honduran clinics. We started fundraising at Iowa Cubs baseball games, where members of the Global Health Club worked together multiple nights throughout the fall season to raise the necessary funds. We held an additional fundraiser at Wellman’s Pub featuring music by DMU’s very own Muscle Energy band. The money raised, as well as support from the University, was used to purchase about $8,000 worth of medications and supplies. Once we received all of the supplies, students worked together to package it all away in over 25 duffle bags. Supplies, check!

Now we are prepared with our manpower, details, and supplies – ready for what Honduras has in store for us!

This road to Honduras would not be possible without the leadership of three second-year and three first-year students, along with the tremendous help and support from the global health department’s Chris Catrenich, administrative assistant, and Dr. Yogi Shah, associate dean of global health.

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