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Chris Bush and Milca Nunez, students in the BS Public Health program, have been named as the Volunteers of the Month, by Project HOPE. http://www.projecthope.org/get-involved/volunteer/volunteer-of-the-month.html
Chris and Milca, are completing their field experience with Project HOPEs clinics in the Dominican Republic. They have been involved with the distribution of vaccines donated by Project HOPE and with educational programs about HIV/AIDS and about teenage pregnancy targeted to adolescents, operated by the clinics.
Mikki Johnson-Maczka, Clinical Instructor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, who oversees international internships for the College said This is the first time we have placed student interns with Project HOPEs program in the Dominican Republic and are thrilled to see their value recognized as the Volunteers of the Month. Chris and Milca were in competition with volunteers from the 35 other Project HOPE countries so this is a great honor and testament to their contribution to the organization. We are incredibly thankful our students had this opportunity and greatly appreciate everyone who made this experience possible.
Chris and Milca are Frist Global Health Leaders, having received support for their international field experience from the Hope Through Healing Hands Foundation, and the Niswonger Foundation. They also received support from the International Office at ETSU. All students in the BS Public Health program are required to complete a 400 contact-hour field experience, and some select to complete this experience in an international setting.
The experience weve had thus far with Project HOPE has been incredible. Said Chris Not just the exposure to the patients, youth, and families weve worked with, but also the staff. From the first day, Ive felt like a part of the Project HOPE family by several staff members in the clinic and the office. Ive learned so much already about international health systems and have been able to see several of the concepts discussed in the public health curriculum. This has been the experience of a lifetime; Im thankful for the time spent here and the recognition from Project HOPE, which was certainly surprising.
Milca added Choosing to pursue a global health experience in the maternal infant clinic with Project HOPE in the Dominican Republic has been one of the biggest opportunities I have taken advantage of. In the past weeks, I have gotten a real-world perspective on healthcare and health promotion activities, and I have gotten a chance to teach life-long healthy habits to the youth in Santo Domingo. Project HOPE has inspired me to work with the world's most vulnerable populations, and I am truly honored to receive a recognition from such an amazing organization"
Project HOPE, an international non-profit health organization founded over fifty years ago, has been collaborating with the Dominican Association of the Order of Malta since the mid-1990s, and have opened two womens and childrens health clinicsone in the Herrera neighborhood of Santo Domingo and the other in rural Monte Plata.
Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean of the College of Public Health, who used to be Senior Vice President for International Operations at Project HOPE, and was present at the opening of the Monte Plata clinic, said This is a wonderful example of why collaboration is so important in public health education. With support from Hope Through Healing Hands and Niswonger foundation, students from ETSU have been able to support the outstanding work of Project HOPE in addressing the health needs of poor women and children in the Dominican Republic. Those are experiences that Chris and Milca will carry with them the rest of their professional lives.