LUCOM student doctors, faculty embark on first outreach trip
Student doctors, faculty, and staff from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) left for Guatemala on Saturday, July 18, on the college’s first international trip. The university is partnering with Hope of Life International for the trip, which includes 56 participants from LUCOM, as well as five graduate-level public health students and three School of Nursing students. The team returns on Saturday, July 25.
While on the trip, volunteers will separate into four teams. Three of the teams will include medical personnel who will go into remote mountain villages to work with individuals who do not have access to medical care. They will set up a mobile clinic that will provide blood pressure assessment, diabetes assessment, and a variety of other health care services.
The fourth team will volunteer at orphanages and senior citizen homes, and have the opportunity to care for abandoned babies who have been rescued from poor living conditions.
R. James Cook, LUCOM’s director of medical outreach and international medicine, is leading the group.
“It is overwhelming and a wonderful blessing for me to lead this trip,” he said, noting he has gone to Guatemala six times, though he has never led a team larger than 20.
Cook said that the goal is for each volunteer “to be the hands and feet of Christ through medicine.”
“It is not just giving a pill, it is giving a hug, and it is about reaffirming a hope. Then when people we are serving ask about the hope that is within us, we can share the Gospel,” he said. “As a school our cup has continued to run over with blessings, so we want to give back to others.”
Joshua Reynolds, who will be a second-year LUCOM student this fall, said he enjoys the humanitarian aspect of medicine and appreciates the spiritual component of the trip.
“This trip is combining my passion to serve on a mission trip as well as allowing me to apply what I have learned in the classroom to a real-world experience,” he said.