News

Kalinago Chief Joseph Presents Award to RUSM Student Volunteers at Salybia Mission Project

10/22/13

Planning meeting at the Salybia Mission Project.

Planning meeting at the Salybia Mission Project.

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student volunteers received an award for their work with the Salybia Mission Project (SMP) in Dominica. A plaque was presented to the students by Chief Joseph, leader of the Kalinago territory, on September 18, during celebrations for Kalinago Week. The presentation took place in Baruna Aute, the Kalinago model village.

“I feel that we must demonstrate the respect and appreciation we feel for the Kalinago people and this ceremony was the perfect setting to do that,” said John Hawley, faculty advisor to the student group of about 300 members. Over the past few years the group has built a clinic where students, together with medical professionals, offer free health care and bring medical supplies to the Kalinago people, also known as the Carib Indians, who are indigenous to the area.

Fourth-semester students Christopher Jacob and Anne Heberle are currently the directors for the SMP, and are also involved in fundraising efforts to help pay for the needed supplies. “On average the clinic takes about 10-15 students to the Carib Territory every other Saturday,” said Jacob. “We host six regular clinics a semester (18 clinics per year) and we host one ‘special education’ clinic which generally has a theme or focus. A previous special clinic was diabetes awareness and the focus for this semester's presentation will be sexually transmitted infections.

Jacob earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology and Master of Science in biotechnology from the University of Texas at Dallas and Heberle earned a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Knox College in Galesburg, IL.