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Nursing students aid Haiti residents during winter break

Nursing students aid Haiti residents during winter break

A group that included several nursing students traveled to Haiti last month to provide medical assistance to some of the country’s citizens.

Those from Alfred State who attended the trip included nursing students Samantha Smith, Eldred, PA; Reno Cheshire, Port Jervis; Annaliese Corrao, Grand Island; Cierra Dean, Andover; Taylor Voigt, Fairport; Whitney Farrand, Franklinville; and Anna Wood, RN, Canandaigua; as well as Daniel Woolston, assistant director of medical services, Health and Wellness Services Department; and Jessica Lippa, assistant professor in the Nursing Department.

Also making the trip were Tim and Cindy Peterson, both RNs at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville; Arlene Lalonde, an RN at the Cuba Urgent Care Center; and Cassedy Meade, a nursing student at Corning Community College. The group departed for Haiti on Jan. 9, stayed near the village of Chambrun, and returned Jan. 16.

Taylor Voigt holds a child at one of the mobile medical clinics set up in Onaville, HaitiAccording to Woolston, the students were active participants in mobile medical clinics provided by Nehemia Vision Ministries.

“They rotated through triage, the assessment and treatment stations, as well as helped out in our pharmacy,” Woolston said. “They were able to take medical histories with help from a Haitian translator, conduct basic physical examinations, and give health advice/medications, all under the guidance of an experienced RN or nurse practitioner.”

Corrao said, “Although our efforts in Haiti helped only a small portion of the country’s population, I think this experience helped fulfill both our needs - as in the desire to help people, to observe another culture, and to learn to appreciate what we have - and their medical needs. This has been one of the best experiences/trips I have ever been on; I learned so much and met an amazing group of people.”

After being in Haiti, Lippa said she realized “to be truly happy is to love the people around us.”

“Haiti may not have the material goods that we do, but the citizens have an overabundance of gratitude, joy, and spirit,” she said. “The hope for the future is to continue to change their lives, as well as those of the Alfred State nursing students by making the trip an annual occurrence. With the love and support of the community, we can change lives.”

Through contacts created in the past, Woolston said, the group was able to fly to Haiti on a private jet provided by the Dean Foundation.

“We are also grateful for the donations and financial support provided by many private individuals, the Alfred State Center for Civic Engagement, and the members of the Genesis Bible Church,” he said. “A total of $2,500 was raised to pay for the medications we used in the mobile clinics, and another $3,800 was raised to purchase Pedialyte, which we gave to Nehemia Vision Ministries for the treatment of dehydration.”

Overall, Woolston said, the trip was very successful.

“We were able to see life from a different perspective for the week we were in Haiti,” he said. “The nursing students grew not only in their medical knowledge and skills, I believe they also grew in their world view. Furthermore, I feel these young people better understand the meaning of commitment and the blessing of having faith and perseverance.”

Pictured in photo: Taylor Voigt, a nursing student from Fairport, holds a child at one of the mobile medical clinics set up in Onaville, Haiti, a large, post-earthquake settlement north of Port-au-Prince.