Our mission is to Serve the Needs of the Underserved in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic as well as in our own communities of South Florida. Our main goal is to see as many patients as possible and stay connected all-year around through our Public Health Program and our Community Health Workers.
History of Medical Students in Action
Mikel Llanes, who attended Belen Jesuit High School in Miami, began mission work in high school. He spent 1 year in the DR with a Jesuit priest after graduating and continued his commitment to the DR with the first UM medical student trip to Hoyos de Niza in 2003. Mikel Llanes went on to train as a Family Medicine Physician in Michigan.
Dr. Steven Chavoustie was recruited by Mikel while teaching clinical skills for Adler/Everitt in 2004. “Dr. C” is an obstetrician/gynecologist with past military training as a combat casualty officer. Since 2003, MSA grew until a committed group of physicians formed the core of our medical delivery system. Since then, our “mission” has expanded from an annual trip to a year-round effort. “An obsession,” as Dr. C has said. Each year, more medical students have enrolled and started incredible projects. It’s such an incredible trip that UM graduates have come back during precious vacation time in residency training. Over the years, numerous changes have been made to the structure of the clinic and our health systems with the goal of maximizing efficiency and lasting impact.
- Clinic structure: The original clinic structure was 1 day of clinic in Los Hoyos, Las Cabirmas and Los Botaos, and 2 days in Rancho al Medio. In spring 2018, we moved to holding clinic at only one site for multiple days, allowing us to provide continuity of care and see more patients in the underserved village.
- Medications: The Department of Public of Health in the DR does provide medications for its people. Access to healthcare facilities and medications, however, can be challenging for most villagers. Though Dr. Paredes works at Los Botaos, she has agreed to visit our chronic patients in Cabirmas/Hoyos biweekly in order to provide medications. We now channel our patients through the clinics in an effort to provide medications.
- We developed a Community Health Worker (CHW) program, sustained solely by volunteers, to provide some level of follow up for our chronic patients. We wanted to create a system that was sustainable and independent of MSA funds/resources. CHWs are expected to visit patients and provide health education.
Remembering Olga Quiros
Dra. Olga Quiros - Pediatrics/Neonatology - Olga was one of the MSA executive board members and an inspiration to us all. She made valuable connections with the Public Health Department and other Dominican officials during her many side trips in the DR. She passed in the spring of 2013, but her spirit lives on. MSA, her family, friends and the people she served in the DR continue to mourn her loss. Olga Quiros was an inspiration to all; she truly led by example. Her kindness and willingness to help others in need was OLGA. We will all miss her dearly but her spirit will live with us in our hearts forever. May she rest in peace with God and direct all her good from heaven above.