Originally set to travel to Haiti, Martha Gallagher, PhD, Adjunct faculty in the School of Nursing, and six Lourdes nursing students were dealt a challenge when just weeks before their spring break departure the country suffered a 7.0 earthquake. The disaster prevented many from traveling, including the Lourdes team.
Undeterred by the circumstance, they quickly adjusted their mission and set out for South America instead. "We were able to move our mission trip to Peru because of the strong relationships I have made there," notes Dr. Gallagher. "Over the past 15 years, I have participated in 26 missions in Peru."
The mission team, which included senior nursing students Jenna Bosma, Jaclyn Close, Kristen Guzman, Natalie Jones, Megan Mockensturm and Erica Slavin, spent a week providing health care to those in the Huaycan and Chorrillos Districts near Lima, Peru.
Dr. Gallagher's husband Tom Gallagher, MD, Medical Director of Fremont's Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, also took part in the mission as the consulting physician.
"This mission was part of the new, elective nursing course Multicultural Experiences in Health Care," offers Dr. Gallagher. "The clinical component of the course is unique in that it features a health care mission trip abroad.
"This is an incredible opportunity for our students to see and learn about disorders that are readily corrected in the US, but are often an added challenge to life in a developing country."
As a country, Peru faces widespread poverty and a health care system struggling to keep up with its population growth. During their stay in Peru, the Lourdes mission team provided care to more than 600 individuals, including children at an area orphanage and many groups of school children.
They performed health screening exams, vision testing, taught disease prevention and gave each patient a health kit that included soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste. Additionally, the team distributed thousands of multivitamins to caregivers and parents to provide to their children.
While the Lourdes team was in Peru, they received special news about a former Toledoan during a dedication at the community hospital Dos de Mayo.
Maria Montesinos, widow of Dr. Efrain Montesinos, was told that the new multi-level diagnostic and patient care building would be named in his honor. Dr. Montesinos was a cardiothoracic surgeon in Toledo for many years. When Dr. Montesinos retired in 1996, he and Maria created, directed, and maintained a cardiothoracic mission at Dos de Mayo hospital.