Twelve students and several faculty members from Iowa’s only private medical school are preparing for a trip to Belize in Central America. The group from Des Moines University will leave this Saturday for the week long visit to Dangriga, a town on the southern coast of the country.
The Dean of the DMU College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Kendall Reed, says the students will learn about cultural differences in terms of health care and treat diseases not usually seen in the U.S. "We think it’s important for our students to have a flavor of what global and international health is all about," Reed says, "because every disease process we deal with in this world today is simply a plane ride away."
The students will work in a government-run hospital that lacks a surgeon, adequate supplies or medicine. Reed says many of the patients they’ll see will walk 5 to 10 miles to get needed treatment.
The cost for the trip, including medicine and supplies, amounts to nearly $1,500 per student. The students raised the money themselves, with most of the donations coming from DMU faculty, alumni, and local doctors. This will be the second straight year a DMU group has traveled to Belize.