The students and faculty at Western Kentucky University are presented with a rare and unique opportunity. Several disciplines within the College of Health and Human Services participate in the Belize Service Learning Program in Belize, Central America, during Winter Term. Currently the departments participating are Allied Health (Dental Hygiene), Communication Disorders, Nursing, Public Health, and Social Work.
Students and faculty will be part of an interdisciplinary healthcare delivery team that will assess the health needs of the community of Gales Point, Belize, a remote village where residents could go their entire lives and never see a doctor. The residents of this community will be provided with medical/dental treatment at no cost to them. Medical treatment ranges from screenings to wound care to diagnosis of chronic conditions and supplying medications for those conditions. The dental treatment includes an array of preventive treatments as well as fillings and surgical treatment for patients with urgent needs. Specific outreach deals with diseases prevalent in the community and how best to address the needs associated with the prevention and maintenance of those diseases.
The group prepares not only to treat patients, but also to provide an educational outreach to local school children and other persons in the community that would benefit from applied health education. This experience provides students from WKU with the opportunity to participate in “portable” clinic in an impoverished, remote community, and hopefully create within them a desire to continue to serve their fellow man, whether in a developing nation or right here at home. Students interested in the Belize Service Learning Program can find more information and an application to the program (when available) on the website: www.wku.edu/belizeprogram
Dr. Daniel Carter, Dental Director of the Institute for Rural Health and Belize Program Coordinator, was interviewed while there about the Belize Service Learning Program. To see the interview, please visit: http://www.lovetv.com.bz/2013/01/09/visiting-us-university-students-engage-in-service-learning-program/