For the past thirteen years, the University of Wyoming has conducted health brigades to Agua Salada, Honduras for the purpose of building a sustainable health care system for its community. Our goal is to provide a unique and valuable cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, service-learning experience for students from the health sciences disciplines and others throughout the UW community.
Our vision is to improve health outcomes among the people in this remote and mountainous region of Honduras by providing primary health care, public health, dental care, nutrition and education. Our efforts are in partnership with Shoulder-to-Shoulder, a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization that is well established in rural Honduras, having provided health care services to western Intibuca since 1990.
The medical brigade in Agua Salada provides basic healthcare to the Honduran people in an area where they are required to travel long distances to receive proper medical care that they often cannot afford. While delivering short term healthcare for the community is the main focus of the brigade work, we also seek to create a long-term sustainable relationship with the community by addressing larger public health issues through education and offering scholarships to youth from Agua Salada for secondary education.
Brigade member and students seek to educate the community in the areas of reproductive health, water safety, economic development and agricultural development.
Check here shortly to view some of the past student projects.
"For us, the Brigade has benefited us greatly. We didn't have any options to get medicine and medications. With this Brigade, it has helped a great deal because of the medications they bring. Also, how wonderful that they've now brought a dentist who can pull teeth! The people are now benefiting from this, because such care is really expensive."
- Jose Sandibar Gamez, Agua Salada resident
Students participating in the brigade often come into contact with many new and challenging situations and experiences. But, however challenging the experience, students often find it to be very fulfilling and eye-opening. Participating in the brigade is a good way for students to use the medical skills they have acquired in an environment outside of a hospital.
Agua Salada is a very rural community in the state or "departamento" Indibuca in the southwest corner of Honduras. It is a fairly new community, being established within the past 30 years. There are over 300 residents within the Agua Salada area. Most people in the area earn around $4 USD per day, usually working in agriculture. The majority of the residents have education only up to the 6th grade, since families must purchase school uniforms and supplies in order to proceed into the 7th grade. This is where our scholarship program comes in.
Every November funds are raised to create a scholarship program, in which uniforms and school supplies are given to eligible students in Agua Salada and surrounding areas. The students then follow up with our scholarship coordinator in subsequent trips to make sure they are progressing in their studies.
"These people aren't expecting miracles, but they're hoping for some help. And I feel like the Shoulder to Shoulder program provides that, both in the way of preventative medicine and [through] teaching."
- Former student brigade member
Register for the 3-credit senior course offered in the fall of each semester (described below)
NURS 4792. Cultural and International Health Care Immersion.
Course description: An in-depth examination of cultural influences on health care systems, which will include both classroom and in-field immersion experiences.
Prerequisites: senior or graduate standing in student's major and instructor permission.
For more information, contact nursing instructor Linda Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.