Allen College Students Provide Care in Dominican Republic

June 3, 2014

altWaterloo, IA – In May, eight Allen College students, accompanied by faculty members Dr. Denise Pralle and Gale Carlson, traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide care at the Guanin Center in rural La Piedra.  (The Dominican Republic in the West Indies occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti and has a population of almost nine million citizens.)  The students were enrolled in a three credit senior-level course “Service Learning Among Vulnerable Populations.” According to Dr. Pralle, “It was humbling to experience the kindness and generosity of the people who lived there."

The students and faculty also had the opportunity to see an urban hospital in Santo Domingo, assist in providing care to patients being seen in a rural clinic in El Mamon, and then assist in the set-up and care during three clinics in La Piedra—infants and children up to 2 years, pregnant moms, and child/adult clinic.   The faculty and students stayed at the remote and primitive rural center for four days, giving the Allen College caregivers a new perspective on how much they take for granted in the US.  

In expressing her pride in the students, Dr. Pralle said “Although admittedly shocked during our initial trip to the Guanin Center, they acclimated quickly and were so caring and culturally sensitive to the people there. Overall, we learned about the beauty and the poverty of the country and we could have not asked for a better educational trip.”   Professors Pralle and Carlson said that they hope to repeat the trip next year.

SEO Iowa