On July 27, 2016, volunteers for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)–Virginia, including 35 students, prepare two large containers to be sent to the Oscar de la Renta Verón Pediatric Clinic in Verón, Dominican Republic.
The containers, one 40-foot and one 20-foot, will be filled with items including 2,059 pairs of shoes, 15 desks, 30 chairs, seven Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine tables, 10 medical exam tables, and more than 3,500 additional medical items.
The supplies reflect an expansion of a VCOM collaboration that spans over 10 years with the Ministry of Health and Punta Cana Foundation. The collaboration has enable VCOM to operate a public health clinic in Veron that has grown to serve 150 to 200 patients daily.
International efforts such as the collaboration and the willingness of student volunteers speaks to VCOM’s mission of preparing physicians who desire to reach to all corners of the world to help those in need.
“VCOM medical and graduate certificate pre-medical students embrace our mission to prepare physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations,” said Jan Willcox, DO, Dean of VCOM–Virginia. “The students participating today recognize that efforts to provide for a community may begin with ‘rolling up your sleeves’ and beginning the process long before direct patient care is impacted.”
Grupo Puntacana Foundation has funded the construction of the pediatric center that occupies space comparable to a football field including clinic, children’s park and center for public health education to address healthcare needs of children in this underserved area of the Dominican Republic. VCOM recognized this as an opportunity to continue its mission.
“This is truly a landmark opportunity for VCOM to be a key partner in the US and Dominican to establish a high quality Pediatric Health Care Center to care for the most needy children of the Dominican Republic,” said Dean Sutphin, Vice President of International Outreach at VCOM. “Concurrently, this is an integral part of VCOM medical education to provide educational opportunities for our future doctors to develop benevolent and compassionate care, cultural awareness and global health skills through experience.”
Punta Cana Foundation is providing logistical support, funding to open the center and will continue to support for sustained operations with the Ministry of Health and local governments. The clinic, which will be staffed by VCOM physicians, is under construction and is due to open November 1, 2016.
Acquisition, assimilation, storage and arrangements to secure equipment and supplies was made possible by Burch Enterprises that donated warehouse space in Christiansburg for staging the shipment and many organizations who donated to the cause.
For more information, contact Jenna Nichols. Director of Communications, Marketing, Website and Publications, at 540-231-8363 or via email at jnichols [at] vt.vcom.edu.