Physical Therapy Graduate Students Travel to Dominican Republic
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.
ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.