Ross University Blog

OPPORTUNITY: RUSM Students Join US Navy Ship COMFORT Clinics on Medical Mission in Dominica

July 28, 2015

About 900 Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students will join medical personnel from the US Navy’s hospital ship USNS COMFORT to provide health services to people in Dominica while the ship is docked there between July 28 and Aug. 6.

It is expected that hundreds of Dominican residents will receive medical care and surgical treatment daily. Medical services to be provided include optometry, dentistry, general medical, women's health, pediatrics, and dermatology among others. The medical personnel on board will be carrying out procedures on the ship, as well as at the Dominica Grammar School in Roseau and the Roosevelt Douglas Primary School in Portsmouth.

“Our students are doing tremendous work with the unique population of this developing country,” said RUSM’s Dean and Chancellor Joseph A. Flaherty, MD. “The students are getting early clinical exposure alongside practicing physicians, and exposure to patients in an underserved healthcare setting. These experiences will contribute to the continued development of important traits good physicians need, including empathy, cultural awareness, and a sense of service.”

The project is being coordinated by RUSM’s Dr. Rhonda McIntyre, MBBS, FAAP, FRCP(C), professor of pediatrics and director of the international health program. She said that, “Students from any semester were able to sign up for multiple shifts and we were able to find a role for students at every level. There will also be a variety of specialty clinics running concurrently. Students will have the opportunity to help in triage, shadow medical personnel, function as scribes at the clinical stations, do simple diagnostic testing and take vital signs, among other activities. We plan on having a student-run health education activity as well.”

The ship is on a six-month humanitarian deployment to Central America, the Caribbean and South America, according to the US Department of Defense. On this mission, dubbed “Continuing Promise 2015” more than 130,000 patients are expected to be treated.

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