In Action

Service Learning 

Service In Action

Serving the Underserved In Haiti, Jamaica, Peru And South Africa

Lesotho, South Africa

A unique two-part course titled Nursing 450: Transcultural Experiences in Health Care, gave Lourdes nursing students the chance to learn about the history, culture, health and healthcare of Lesotho, Africa. Bounded on all sides by South Africa, Lesotho is a sovereign kingdom ranking third in the world for HIV/AIDS population.

Jennica Austin, Rosemary Ball, Ana Bitz, Brandi Breseman, Colleen Foley, Joseph Hauser, Breanna Mellon, Brenda Roberts, Bethany Ruff and Kim Sutphin led by Assistant Professor Kathleen Jenks and Professor Lynne Zajac, Ph.D., spent the first portion of the course in the classroom and the second portion learning firsthand in Lesotho.

While in Africa, the group toured the Queen Mamo’hato Hospital and Kick4Life HIV Prevention & Education Center, traveled with Doctors Without Borders to rural health clinics, visited with student nurses and faculty from the National University of Lesotho and interacted with children at the Motsekua orphanage and the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Clinic.

Lourdes volunteers in Lesotho


Dr. Martha Gallagher is offering another mission trip to nursing students in August 2014 – to Peru. The group will spend time in Chorrillos and Iquitos. Having directed the Chorrillos mission for more than 10 years, Dr. Gallagher’s trip will once again be conducted through the Peruvian-American Medical Society.

“A medical or healthcare mission provides our students with a life-changing experience both personally and professionally. Mission volunteers are able to hone and expand their skillset, see how health care and its professionals operate in another country and work with patients and staff from different cultures.

"In addition, the inter-professional collaboration is outstanding and offers Lourdes students the opportunity to work with their peers from other healthcare professions and universities. Most importantly, we are able to help others who otherwise might not receive care," says Dr. Gallagher.


The St. John Bosco Home for the Boys in Manchester Parish, Jamaica, has twice been visited by Lourdes students and staff. During the visits, which also included staff and students from Siena Heights University, Lourdes students and staff divided their time between working on volunteer housing at the Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica and working directly with its residents.

The students learned valuable lessons from the Jamaican students on the benefits of hard work and sustainability on the island. They also enjoyed playing soccer and other recreational activities with the St. John Bosco boys.

“They made me really think about my life. I learned that I should never take anything or anyone for granted. Most of the boys didn’t even have shoes. When looking down at their heels you could see how swollen and cut up they were. Many of these boys have been abandoned by their families. They showed me a new way to look at life. I absolutely loved this experience and want to return in the future,” says Megan Dorner (’13, BS, Business Administration).

"I often think of the great time I had, and the lasting impression that the staff and young men of St. John Bosco left on me," says Derrick McCain (’13, BA, Criminal Justice).

Lourdes volunteers in Jamaica

Lourdes volunteers in Jamaica

Dominican Republic

Tiffany Miller and Pam Perkins, Master of Science in Nursing students enrolled in the Nurse Anesthesia Program, spent a week in the Dominican Republic as part of the Midwest Medical Missions, Inc. team led by Arvind Mistry, M.D., an anesthesiologist with the Toledo Clinic. While in the Dominican Republic, the group assisted medical staff and provided anesthesia for procedures such as hernias, cholecystectomies, hysterectomies, lipomas and other procedures.

“This truly was a fantastic opportunity to help others, learn how medical care is delivered in other countries and to see firsthand how they cope without having regular access to these services,” says Pam. Tiffany adds, “I had always wanted to participate in a medical mission trip because I had the required skills to assist in providing needed care.”

Lourdes nursing volunteers


Lourdes Associate Professor of Nursing Martha Gallagher, Ph.D., proposed a healthcare mission to Pestel, Haiti in 2010. The Nursing 450 course and mission trip however were put on hold due to the 7.0Mw earthquake that devastated the nation. Never giving up on her plans, Dr. Gallagher partnered with a local group of healthcare providers in 2014 to finally fulfill the Haiti mission trip.

Joining her were graduate nursing student Tracy Ewing, Associate Nursing Professor Liz Nims, Ph.D. and representatives from Mt. Carmel Hospital Family Medicine Residency in Columbus, OH; the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania; and The University of Toledo Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.

Together, the team worked in tandem with Haitian clinic personnel and village health promoters in providing dental care, physical examinations and treatment of both episodic and chronic diseases to local residents. In addition to examining and collaborating with team doctors to treat patients, the Lourdes nurses assisted physician staff by starting IVs, administering medications, giving breathing treatments, administering oral rehydration salts to dehydrated adults and infants, helping with minor surgical procedures and assisting the dentist when needed.

The nursing faculty also designed patient education posters for the Sisters medical clinic and for the village health promoters and taught various classes based on common health issues in the region.

Lourdes volunteers in Haiti

At a Glance

Sylvania, Ohio

Year Founded:

Founders and Sponsors:
Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania

Gray Wolves

Terra Cotta and Black

2,621 students from across the U.S. and abroad

Student to faculty ratio:
12 to 1

Over 110 acres in suburban Sylvania

Our values:
We are a community of learning, reverence and service

More At a Glance

Download Fact Sheet