Visit to migrant camps begins Campbell’s health care outreach initiative

October 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment

Visit to migrant camps begins Campbell’s health care outreach initiative

NEWTON GROVE — A group of first-year medical students and faculty members from the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine and several students from the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences participated in their first “domestic health care outreach initiative” last week with migrant farm worker camps in Sampson County.

Campbell’s new Department of Medical Missions and Global Health began the week with a Monday orientation and spent the next three days traveling to different migrant worker camps in the area. Once on site, they split into smaller groups to visit families throughout each camp to talk to the families about current health issues and their options for proper health care. Greeted each day by happy families and children eager to play soccer or toss around a football, the Campbell students quickly formed trusting relationships with the families, which allowed for positive interaction with parents.

“Building and fostering these relationships allowed us to encourage [the migrant workers] to understand the value of their health from their perspective,” said first-year medical student Cherie Dickson.

While many of the students who participated have traveled abroad and experienced other cultures first-hand in recent years, others received their first introduction to new cultures through last week’s initiative.

“We came to Campbell to be part of the mission of serving the underserved,” said med student David Gregory. “It’s evident that these people are underserved.”

Classmate Jim Hooper agreed, saying, “I can’t imagine anyone who is more underserved than these families.”

The students and faculty ended the week by meeting over coffee and breakfast on Friday. Much of the discussion centered on both Campbell’s mission and the responsibility of the students as future health care providers to serve the community around them.

“This first trip is all about exposure to various cultures and learning how to be an effective health care provider in those settings,” explained Dr. Mike Soderling, director of the Department of Medical Missions and Global Health. “It’s about understanding the importance of relationship building [in cross-cultural health care], which is more than just an event. It’s a process.”

“I signed up for this trip for several reasons,” added med student Dominique Stasulli. “The cultural immersion, the early clinical experience ... but also to show the migrant workers appreciation for what they do on a daily basis.”

— By Shelley Hobbs, Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine