Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest Associate Professor Janice Blumer, DO ’91, FAAO, provided health care services and training in the Dominican Republic Jan. 14-21, 2023.
Dr. Blumer joined many other family physicians and residents on a trip organized by Family Medicine Cares International (FMCI), the humanitarian branch of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). FMCI partnered with a local Dominican Republic organization, One World Surgery, to provide family medicine pop up clinics and follow up by local physicians, Blumer said. The group also provided teaching to Dominican Republic medical students and residents at Universidad Central del Este (UCE) Medical School.
“We provided family medicine clinics in the Batey’s (sugar cane towns) in Dominican Republic providing services to documented non-citizen Haitian sugar cane farmers,” Blumer said. “We saw many common conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as many skin conditions due to poor sanitation and parasites. The medical education training we provided to the Family Medicine Residents at UCE Medical School was team-based learning around topics in diabetes, which is commonly seen in the Batey’s.”
Even in the larger hospitals, access to medical equipment is challenging, Blumer said.
“For example, the local hospital has only three glucometers for the entire hospital, and there are none in the Batey’s,” she said. “We provided four clinics and two education sessions, provided a fun event for the local foster facility, NPH, and went into the Batey’s on home visits for high-risk patient follow- ups in conjunction with the local DR physicians. It was a powerful and life-changing event which I hope attend again.”
The trip was endorsed by COMP-Northwest to provide cross cultural humanitarian teaching and service and global medicine, Blumer said.
“One of WesternU’s core values is humanism, which extends far beyond the borders of our towns, states or country,” said COMP-Northwest Vice Dean Mandi Hudson, DO ’09. “We are training health care leaders on a global scale. It is important that our graduates are physicians who are prepared to care for all people, and that means treating patients in challenging circumstances where genuine compassion leads the way.”