Medical Volunteer Trip, Dominican Repub

The journey to becoming a physician is an absolutely grueling process. It can often feel like a lifetime before you have enough training to really begin making differences in patients' lives. Now, in my early pre-clinical years of medical school, I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel"”three more years and I will be a resident physician. I am actually starting to master knowledge of the human body in a way that allows me to make calculated decisions geared towards maximizing the health of another human being. It feels incredible. Still a long way from being a practicing surgical subspecialist in the United States, I am passionate about using my skills (however developed) to make positive impacts in the lives of those people who need it most. This June of 2014, I will be joining a group of my fellow colleagues at Rush Medical College on a student-run medical volunteer trip, setting up clinics in some of the poorest areas of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

     Although we will be working in the Dominican, the population that we are going to serve is from Haiti. Specifically, we will be serving the descendants of migrant Haitian sugar cane workers who came to the Dominican Republic in the early 20th century. Lured by the promise of a better future for their families, these Haitian workers arrived in the Dominican and were basically enslaved. Families of five or more people were making pennies living in one bedroom, with no running water, electricity, or plumbing. After the United States caught wind of this horrible treatment, imports of Dominican sugar were halted"”the industry collapsed and the Haitians were left with absolutely nothing. The descendants that we will be serving are still stuck in this vicious cycle of poverty: they have neither birth certificates nor any legal papers. The Dominican government does not allow them to go to school, get a job, or access healthcare. Literally the only healthcare that they receive is when groups like ours come down and set up makeshift clinics for free.

     These moms and dads, brothers and sisters, young children wide-eyed gazing at the world with curiosity; they will come to our medical team and ask us to protect their health. This will put us in the most humbling position possible"”guardians of life. It will be an honor and a privilege to help them. But this cannot happen without expense: airfare, lodging, food, medical supplies, etc. Unfortunately, as a medical student paying for my own way through medical school, my finances are beyond limited. Whatever funds come our way will be directly used to bring quality healthcare into the heart of this isolated population. We will use it to provide diagnosis and treatment for any ailments these people may face. It is not simply funding that we need help with. At these clinics we are going to be distributing everything from prescription medications to vitamins, clothes, socks, shoes, vaccines, over-the-counter medications, medical devices, and educational pamphlets. If you can help in any way, I cannot thank you enough. If you take a moment and think of our cause, I cannot thank you enough. At the very least, you can be sure that there exist young people that love humanity enough to dedicate their lives to its preservation. I ask you for your blessings, prayers, and love as I embark on this trip and a life dedicated to the betterment of our species. All the best in happiness and health.

Warmest Regards,
Aaron Lee Wiegmann
Rush Medical College | M.D. Candidate 2017
University of Miami | B.S. Microbiology & Immunology 2013

Aaron_L_W[email redacted]


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Aaron Wiegmann 
Chicago, IL
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