Thursday, April 19, 2018

LUCOM sends student-doctors to Honduras during Spring Break

Liberty University College of Osteopathic MedicineLUCOM student-doctors spent a week in Roatán, Honduras, during their spring break, volunteering and seeing patients at the Clinica Esperanza, located in Sandy Bay. The not-for-profit clinic sees on average 100 patients daily and is the primary medical provider for hundreds of families throughout the island of Roatán. The students were able to observe and treat young children in the pediatric wing in addition to providing general medical care and women’s health services.

For second-year student-doctor, Fadi Tahhan, he was excited to be a part of the continuity of care that Clinica Esperanza provides. “They’ve [clinic staff] really made a difference to the islanders because health care is not always accessible in this country. I got to see patients with diabetes, pediatric patients and also help with women’s health. This trip taught me more than just medicine and for that I am grateful.”

Liberty University College of Osteopathic MedicineTahhan was also able to provide Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) alongside two of his classmates at the same time. “We treated a man who suffered from chronic back pain for a few years and at one point all three of us were treating different areas of his back and legs. We communicated well and gave efficient care,” he said. At the end of the session, the man was able to sit upright without pain and gave the students a thumbs-up.

Another unique component for the student-doctors was the daily Lunch and Learn sessions where physicians from the clinic offered to help LUCOM students understand how the clinic is operated, how the patients are diagnosed and provided with follow-up care, and even hear personal stories from the main attending pediatric doctor. On Wednesday, March 21, Christopher Benhatzel, Class of 2020 and undergraduate teaching fellow for OMM, demonstrated a few techniques that the clinic physicians may be able to adopt into their patient care.

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine

“The presentation was about 20-minutes demonstrating OMM as well as explaining the five tenets of OMM and how it relates to patient intervention. The doctors and nurses seemed to love the information and was followed with ten minutes of questions,” said Benhatzel. “The chief medical officer was really enthralled by the presentation as I directed him towards treating patients with lower back pain and headaches and how OMM is a treatment and diagnostic modality tool.”

Prior to the trip, LUCOM received donated funds with a request to purchase Gleaning for the World Wings Kits and have students distribute while in the country. On Thursday, March 22, student-doctors spent the afternoon visiting numerous homes in a community village and delivered the feminine products as well as provided check-ups and vitamins for the children.

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine“The Wings Kits are reusable feminine hygiene kits that are sustainable for up to three years. This is especially important for women in underserved areas who do not always have easy access to hygiene products,” said Mariam Asper, second-year student-doctor. “It was such a rewarding experience to raise the funds and hand deliver the kits to the women in the community, who were very grateful to receive the products.”

One of the goals during medical outreach, is to expand clinical collaborations and outreach opportunities. “We are building bridges to help connect students with international resources and hopefully, encourage them to go further into medical mission work,” said James Cook, director of Clinical Collaboration and Education. “For the students to work with the Honduran physicians and nurses at the Clinica Esperanza only heightens LUCOM’s mission of preparing osteopathic physicians to serve their fellow man.”

During this same week, the Office of Clinical Collaboration and Education returned to Guatemala for the sixth time since 2015 and for the first time, sent student-doctors to Peru and the Dominican Republic.

View digital image highlights from the Honduras trip at