PIKEVILLE – With servant hearts, University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) students embarked on a weeklong mission trip using their gifts to volunteer in the community of Batey Nueve, Dominican Republic.
The mission team of more than 56 volunteers included 37 KYCOM students. Approximately 1,100 patients ranging in age from infant to mid-80s were treated over the course of three days at clinics in Batey Nueve, Batey Cuchillo and Batey Cinco. Patients were provided with prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, first-aid care and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).
“The sense of community in Christ was so strong in Batey Nueve that I couldn’t help but be affected by it. This experience only fueled my passion to become a compassionate physician and to lovingly serve my patients and the people around me,” said Emily Broomell, second-year student at KYCOM. “As a curious future physician, this trip was an awesome opportunity to see and learn new things that we might not experience in the United States.”
KYCOM’s annual mission trip was a deciding factor when Broomell was choosing a medical school. “I wanted a medical mission trip to be a part of my medical education. I think I speak for many of us that the trip was one of the big things that drew us to KYCOM,” she said. “This is such an amazing school in all of the opportunities it has to offer to help us become compassionate and stellar physicians that long to take care of people.”
Volunteers distributed medications and vitamins valued at more than $195,000. While the majority was donated, the team raised money to purchase specific medications that were needed. Clothing, sneakers, school supplies and sporting equipment for community members were tucked among the suitcases of medical supplies.
Andy French, second-year year medical student, along with his wife, Sarah, who is a customer support services technician at UPIKE, were among the volunteers that made up the medical mission team. No strangers to mission work, the pair have travelled domestically and abroad participating in 20 mission trips combined.
“Opportunities to go and serve on mission trips help us keep our perspective,” said Sarah French. “I’ve been on a lot of mission trips but never a medical mission trip. As a non-medical person, it was interesting for me to prepare for the trip. I wasn’t sure how I could serve but I went with the attitude of doing whatever was needed and I was surprised at how big a role I was able to play.”
President James Hurley was among the volunteers who worked on building a church and digging a well in a community near the clinic. UPIKE’s First Lady, Tina Hurley, worked in a make-shift pharmacy and worshipped with the children during vacation Bible school.
There was “lots of shoveling and moving dirt,” said Sarah French. “Our presence in the community inspired the locals. By the end of the day the whole village was out helping.”
In addition to medical assistance, ministering to those in need was an integral part of the effort. A children’s ministry, a special part of every mission trip, included a vacation Bible school and playing soccer and baseball.
The trip is sponsored by the medical school’s chapter of the Rotaract, in conjunction with G.O. Ministries in Louisville, Ky., a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to the ministry of short-term missions and the development of global partnerships of ministry.
“It was a special blessing to be a part of the KYCOM team serving the people in the Bateys. Our students’ selflessness, hard work and love for others is inspirational to me,” said Tina Hurley. “There is a unique bond formed on a mission trip, one I am thankful to share with this group.”
“It was a humbling opportunity to serve alongside a group of individuals that were all focused on helping others. I am so proud of our medical students who selflessly gave of their time, talents and treasures to help an impoverished country,” said President Hurley. “It is just another example of how UPIKE is making a difference across the region, country and world.”