USA 4th-year medical students, residents and physicians participated in this year's CMMSA mission trip to Kibogora, Rwanda
Each year, the Christian Medical Ministry of South Alabama (CMMSA) provides University of South Alabama medical students, residents and physicians with medical mission trip opportunities. For students, their participation enables them to hone their medical skills through hands-on experiences while providing medical services to underserved overseas communities.
In February, 2016, 12 fourth year medical students, along with USA residents and physicians, traveled to Rwanda and spent one month providing services at Kibogora Hospital. While there, they worked alongside Congolese and Rwandan physicians in a variety of fields, including surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics. For Gretchen Vandiver (Class of 2016), the trip was something she'd planned for since learning of the elective during her first year at USA College of Medicine. When asked why she chose to participate, Gretchen explained that the international rotation meant she could actually practice the skills she'd been taught. During her time working with the children and newborns in the pediatric and neonatology wards, she was able to do patient exams, and make decisions and plans she believes will be beneficial during her residency and beyond. "It is truly incredible to practice what you have learned and watch patients do really well, despite the lack of resources available in the third world." Anna Crutchfield (pictured right) said her desire to help people, regardless of race, faith or background, compelled her to participate in the elective rotation as well. For her, the experience "confirmed her desire to practice medicine in a rural area."
Dr. Lee Grimm, a USA general surgeon and CMMSA medical mission trip veteran, believes medical mission trips are vital to medical training. Not only does the medical mission trip experience allow him to work more closely with students and residents, it also allows them to make an impact. "Not only were we able to help patients, we were also able to work alongside local health care providers and equip them to deliver better care for their patients after we left."
Plans are already underway for 2017 mission trips.
© 2017 USA Health System