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Nursing Students Make an Impact in Honduras

News April 7, 2020

During spring break in early March, pre-nursing students and staff from Cornerstone University traveled to Honduras to provide dental and health care to underserved communities through Casa de Esperanza, a nonprofit based out of Grand Haven, Mich.

During the weeklong trip, the team was able to provide five mobile dental clinics while also providing medical clinics through a local Evangelical church in the area. Three pre-nursing students joined Lori DeWitt, R.N., B.S.N., nursing coordinator at Cornerstone, and Jordan Grooters (B.A. ’17, M.B.A. ’19), communications manager at Cornerstone.

“People don’t have access to health insurance in Honduras,” DeWitt said. “If you need surgery, you have to pay for the equipment yourself, and you don’t get any sort of preventative care.”

The Evangelical Hospital of Siguatepeque (Hospital Evangélico de Siguatepeque) is a private nonprofit that helps those who don’t have access to adequate medical care. The first year DeWitt and her team coordinated with the hospital was 2019.

While they were there, they also worked with foster high school and college students who are sponsored by Casa de Esperenza. Two of the college students are attending area colleges to become doctors, and the others will receive a technical certification. In Honduras, secondary education is important in escaping poverty.

“We’re excited about having more U.S. college students come back in the future,” DeWitt said. “They learn a lot in the medical and dental clinics. All of the students were also taking a World Health class, so this was a good hands-on experience.”

Among the students was Maggie Birabwa (B.S. ’21), who grew up in Uganda and describes herself as a “missionary kid, third culture kid and international student.” With a passion for both travel and health care, Birabwa knew she wanted to join this trip.

“Having grown up in a third-world country,” Birabwa said, “I have seen the effects of inadequate health care for those living in rural villages. My heart breaks for them.”

Birabwa fueled her passion for medical missions during this trip to Honduras and hopes to join many more trips in the future. “I believe that the world is big and beautiful,” Birabwa said. “There is no reason for me to stay in one place.”

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