Published on July 7, 2016 by Jeanie McLean  
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Patrick Carroll, a second-year student in Samford’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program, was so impacted by his 2012 undergraduate Department of Kinesiology medical missions trip to the Dominican Republic that he initiated extending that annual effort to his fellow D.P.T. students this year. He conceived the July addendum to the Health Care Service course as an opportunity to minister to bodies and souls.

 “We’re working through One Vision International, the same organization Dr. Alan Jung, dean of Samford’s School of Health Professions, uses to coordinate undergraduate trips,” said Carroll. “The organization provides the facilities and contacts, and I’m in charge of staffing the group.”

Carroll’s team includes Assistant Professor Andrea Bowens, as well as pediatric nurses and physical therapy students. The group was assigned to a children’s outreach center, with the week’s mornings reserved for wellness screenings/check-ups and afternoons designated for vacation Bible school–type activities.

 “We’ll be working with both the morning and afternoon programs,” said Carroll. “There’s a Dominican team already in place to help us with translation. In the medical portion of this, we expect to see some malnutrition with resulting deformities that prevent them from moving their joints correctly. We’ll be sharing knowledge with the adults about nutrition and about general movement to help these children grow and thrive.”

Such trips offer a “great chance” to further medical experience, Carroll says.

“The primary reason I came back to Samford for graduate school was that these programs open opportunities in the mission field. I realized how much it impacted my life as an undergraduate to see different cultures. Since some of my PT classmates didn’t have that experience, this was a great opportunity to organize a trip so they could work with conditions they would be unlikely to see back home.”

Carroll was gratified by the curriculum credit provided by Department Chair Matthew Ford and other faculty.