The pandemic has strengthened the commitment of Augustana’s public health majors.
Public health outreach in Central America
Augustana students are provided an opportunity to serve the less fortunate through public health outreach while learning about another culture, and themselves. There is one trip of approximately 15-25 students in early July each year, and most students use their Augie Choice funds to help defray trip costs.
We partner with Praxis, a non-profit organization that employs local providers to deliver basic health care to remote communities in Central America.
For about two weeks, students travel to small communities in Central America to assist doctors, dentists and veterinarians in free health clinics for the local people or for their animals. Evenings are for group reflection as students discuss their experiences and feelings about what they have witnessed.
Students come away with some technical training, experience working with physicians and patients, and exposure to a new culture and people.
While Spanish language ability comes in handy during the trip, it is not a requirement for participation as bilingual Central Americans are employed by Praxis to help in the clinics. Prior clinical experience is also not necessary, as students receive basic training prior to the trip. Students learn to take patient histories and vital signs, and also practice making preliminary diagnoses. All diagnoses and treatments are confirmed by one of the physicians from Central America before patients are given free medication from the Praxis pharmacy.