HIGH POINT, N.C., June 21, 2019 – Thirteen High Point University students cared for more than 500 patients collectively when they traveled to the cities of La Cruz and Liberia in Costa Rica. The group provided free medical, dental and veterinary assistance to these communities.
Advised by HPU faculty member Dr. Michael Grider, assistant professor of biology, the group took part in a Vida Volunteer service learning trip to Central America. Vida is a nonprofit humanitarian association that helps empower individuals by providing free health care. It also provides hands-on experience to volunteers from around the world.
Students in three pre-professional tracks – pre-dental, pre-medical and pre-veterinary – spent their days gaining clinical experience, advised by Vida doctors.
“Being able to provide medical care to people in these communities was very humbling,” said Karen Huezo, a rising senior and part of the medical team. “Many of them were grateful for the work we did. They gave me more inspiration to continue pursing my path towards medical school. Hopefully, I can return to serve these communities as a professional in the field.”
“Helping people who don’t have access to dental care or have never visited the dentist before was very important,” said Ashley Robinson, a rising junior. “Being able to promote healthy brushing ensures children will learn to keep their smiles extra bright in the future.”
“I received hands-on experiences that a lot of students don’t typically see until graduate school,” said Bailee Knott, a rising senior and part of the veterinary team. “We were preparing ourselves for our future career paths, all while having an enormous impact on the communities by providing education on animal welfare to local residents.”