Mission Trip to Dominican Republic Teaches Health Professions Students that Medicine is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
by Olivia Odom
Students within Samford University’s School of Health Professions know that bandages can treat wounds and medicine can heal infections, yet through a recent medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, students were able to learn about the power these tools have in treating needs that go beyond the physical body.
Led by School of Health Professions dean Alan Jung, students and alumni spent seven days in the Dominican Republic, learning from each other how they can use what they learned in the classroom to empower their mission and ministry.
“Time spent in the Dominican Republic undoubtedly revealed the magnitude of both physical and spiritual burdens of God’s people and action we’re called to respond with,” said Emily Davis, junior health sciences major.
“Our team was enabled to build relationships and share the hope of Jesus from the platform of medical care. Though temporary physical relief was needed, we were strengthened to share the words of eternal healing from the Ultimate Physician,” Davis said.
The team served as a traveling clinic, and each day, the clinic was set up and torn down as they move from village to village.
This is Jung’s seventh year to led the trip, and each year, the team returns to the same villages. They find that people also return to the clinics and remember the Samford group. Many of the students and alumni who return do so to continue building on these relationships.
“In the Dominican Republic, I was able to have hands-on experience in medicine that I would not have gotten here in the States,” said Will Jackson, junior health sciences major. “I learned so much about medicine, and how to treat not only the physical needs of the people there, but also the emotional and spiritual needs of some.
“The team quickly became close friends, and our relationships with the physicians and Dr. Jung grew so much. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic and go out of my comfort zone to help others,” Jackson said.
Words like these fulfill the vision Jung had for this trip—to teach that medicine is just a small piece of the puzzle.
“In general, my favorite part of the trip is watching how God uses this experience and the people of the Dominican Republic to change the lives of the students,” Jung said. “Each year, God has provided students, medical professionals, supplies and patients, and each year, it is a life-changing experience for everyone. These results are a confirmation that it is God’s vision and will.”
Olivia Odom is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer for the College of Health Sciences.
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.