Mount Sinai medical students made their fourth annual visit to Nogales in March, to learn about rural health care, and to provide community service. The students are part of the Medical Students Making Impacts (MSMI) program at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, NY. The group is led by Dr. Jonathan Ripp and Dr. Rainier Soriano who volunteer their time each spring break to conduct educational trips to Nogales, AZ.
The main goals of the MSMI program are to provide a service to an underserved community, while promoting cultural competency and the importance of healthcare. The medical students benefit by being exposed to these communities and healthcare practices they would not experience in NYC.
SEAHEC has played an essential part for the past four years in arranging the students’ visits, including finding housing and putting together the diverse activities the students participate in for the whole week. We partner with Mariposa Community Health Center, and Holy Cross Hospital as well as other healthcare providers in Santa Cruz County, to provide a rich learning experience for students who would not otherwise learn about rural health care.
This year the students offered free screenings for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and fall prevention at two health fairs. At least 80 community members participated. They also joined local community health workers (Promotores de Salud) on home visits, met with a local domestic violence advocate, and answered questions for the Santa Cruz Training Program.
The Students visited the Recreation Center in Sells, Az and the Senior Center in Chuichu, AZ where they learned from elders of those communities about the main healthcare concerns there, and that some American Indians use traditional medicine as well as modern medicine, to address health concerns.
SEAHEC’s program coordinator, Brenda Redhouse, and intern, Stephine Baloo invited the Mt. Sinai students to answer questions about health careers at the SEAHEC health career club meeting at Baboquivari high school.
The Mt. Sinai students spent their final day making rounds with physicians at Holy Cross Hospital, and shadowing a family nurse practitioner and a hospitalist from Mariposa Community Health Center, and the Nogales Clinic.