The Jefferson “X FACTOR”

Hope for Honduras

Hope for Honduras

At Jefferson we believe that much of what you learn comes from actually doing and if you see something that needs modified or changed, you take action.

This is exactly what Bill Dorgan '12 did last year when he learned about the medical state of emergency in Honduras. Dorgan learned of the realities of this crisis from a friend who had been on a medical mission there in the summer of 2010. His friend brought back compelling first-hand accounts of shocking nationwide medical personnel and supply shortages.

Taking initiative, Dorgan immediately began asking classmates if they would be interested in traveling to Honduras for a medical mission. By Thanksgiving, more than 20 students had expressed an interest.

After several months of fund-raising and soliciting approximately $50,000 worth of medical donations, Dorgan, 18 PhilaU classmates and two faculty members traveled to the remote village of Manzaragua, Honduras for a what they later described as a "life altering" trip.

Tucked high in the Honduras mountains, Manzaragua has a population of 620 and sits more than 4,500 feet above sea level. The average family earns the equivalent of $26.47 per month and the people living there only have access to doctors once every one to three months.

"The first day we were treating patients, there was immediately a line of 60 or 70 people," Dorgan recalled. Professors Jesse Coale and Amy Baker served alongside two Honduran doctors as the medical experts, and students in the brigade took turns documenting symptoms in a triage tent.

Hope for Honduras

The clinic was held in the community's schoolhouse. "They closed school for three days for us," Dorgan said. "That's how rare and important medical care is to the people there."

The team was able to treat 630 people - 10 more than the entire population of Manzaragua - because so many people from surrounding communities traveled to the mobile medical clinic.

"I really gained a sense of purpose from this trip, and I know how I want to make a difference, now, and in the future with my knowledge and skills as a PA," said student Tegan Halberg '13, who was elected to succeed Dorgan as president of the Global Medical Brigades student group next year. She is in the process of planning this year's mission.