A group of faculty and students from Belmont University College of Pharmacy recently traveled to Honduras as part of the Baptist Medical Dental Mission Trip. Drs. Adam Pace and Leela Kodali and Noah Vasilakes and Brittany Hayes, two 4th year pharmacy students, joined a team of 20 medical professionals for the trip.
The team set up a medical clinic, dentistry clinic and pharmacy in a schoolhouse in Naguaterique, a rural mountain community on the El Salvadorian border and saw more than 1500 patients. About 5800 prescriptions were dispensed through the pharmacy, 223 teeth were pulled by the dentist for 117 dental patients and 325 pairs of eyeglasses were distributed. Additionally, 64 individuals professed a new found faith in Jesus or expressed a renewal of their Christian commitment during the church services and through personal evangelism at the medical stations.
Pace oversaw the setup and operation of the dispensing pharmacy while Kodali provided clinical pharmacy services in the medical clinic by answering providers’ questions about medications and making recommendations on drug therapy.
As part of their advanced pharmacy practice experience, Vasilakes and Hayes split their time between the pharmacy and the clinic. This experience was designed for them to compare and contrast the provision of pharmacy services during a mission trip in Honduras to that of a Nashville patient population.
Vasilakes said, “The Honduras medical mission trip was a wonderful opportunity to use my pharmacy skills and knowledge outside of my comfort zone. It amazed me what our team was able to do in only a few days when teaming with the Hondurans who were incredibly friendly, helpful and welcoming. It was a blessing to be able to provide care to people who otherwise likely would not receive it, and I am so thankful for being provided with this chance to share the love of God through healthcare.”
Hayes added, “Traveling to Honduras gave me the opportunity to not only learn more about myself and the type of practitioner I want to be, but also allowed me to learn about an entirely different culture. The Honduran people were warm, welcoming and grateful for any and all assistance we provided. Although a language barrier existed, a smile and kind eyes created a patient-provider bond that ended the consultations with hugs and trust. I will never forget one particular patient who spoke about the renewed love of God she found that day through the generosity of the mission. As our eyes teared up, she thanked me and blessed me for everything she had been given that day. What she didn’t know was that she and the other patients gave me a renewed love of God as well. Healing begins with the soul and I find myself blessed to have been able to contribute to the physical and spiritual healing in Naguaterique.”