Students Provide Culturally Sensitive Care In Rural Guatemala

pharmacy students in guatemalaOver winter break, members of the Phi Delta Chi fraternity from both Duluth and Twin Cities chapters completed a medical campaign in rural communities of Antigua, Guatemala.

This was the second year in a row the group has volunteered through International Volunteer Headquarters. This year’s group included first through third year students Ruth Chen, Breanne Dietz, Mitch Hesse, Rachel Lukas, Joanna Maki, Lindsey Niederhaus, Maria Sturtz, Julia Sybrant and Deanne Tims.

During the weeklong campaign, the students worked alongside a Guatemalan physician and a field manager to provide pop-up clinics in underserved areas. They provided education on handwashing and tooth brushing, conducted medical consults with the physician and pharmacy, and distributed vitamins and anti-parasitics.

The group also took blood pressures and patient assessments, and provided counseling and care that is culturally sensitive despite language barriers.

Additionally, they learned about the health system of Guatemala and the many financial and physical barriers that can limit care there. They also learned about cultural issues that affect care, like finding the balance of herbal products over Western medicine, especially within the indigenous communities, and showing the importance of understanding the patient population and their needs, beliefs and health goals.