Giving Back

Trojans in the Service of Community

At the core of USC's mission is the emphasis on service to the medically underserved. As a reflection of this mission, the students at USC's PA program are dedicated to working with the school's surrounding underserved communities in Los Angeles. While many student efforts are focused on healthcare, students take their outreach even farther by targeting the communities' needs as a whole. Trojan PAs are involved in local food banks, youth mentorship, and multiple moments of giving back, such as donating gifts to local families during the holidays. Students also participate in summer trips to countries in Central and South America that concentrate on providing the care the community members would not have access to otherwise. 

Special Olympics

At this event we interacted with athletes from different countries who spoke limited English and many with different developmental or physical needs. However, this did not hinder any athlete from receiving adequate care because we had the help of interpreters and teams, such as pharmacy cross referencing foreign medication. This was such a fortunate experience in learning how to become creative when it comes to barriers between health care providers and who they are caring for.

During the summer of 2015, USC hosted the Special Olympics: World Games from July 26th to August 1st.

 

The USC PA Program was invited to participate in the Healthy Athletes/MedFest, where PA student volunteers were teamed up with volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical students and interpreters to provide free sports physicals and other health screening services to participating Athletes from around the globe.

 

The MedFest screenings consisted of: medical history, height and weight, blood pressure, cardiology test, musculoskeletal test, orthopedic tests, abdominal evaluation, and a check out station.

 

Diana Romo, 2nd year PA student, described the experience:

Written by Elizabeth Aguilar (Class of 2017)

"

"

LA Marathon

In 2015, the USC PA Program was invited to volunteer alongside USC's medical students at the Los Angeles Marathon. 

 

Students arrived before dawn to prepare medical tents throughout the 25-mile route. Students worked with local medical professionals to support the runners. 

 

The medical tents provided first aid as well as supplies to ensure the runners maintained their health during the marathon. Students were able to gain a unique experience in how to apply their training so far. 

1/1

Nicaragua

Written by Samantha Ang (Class of 2017)

In August 2015, 29 PA students from the Class of 2017 spent two weeks of their summer break in Granada, Nicaragua, on a medical internship trip with Viva Nicaragua.  

 

Each student was assigned into smaller groups and sent out to work in different sites around the province. Work placements included the rural clinics of Diriomo and Niquinohomo, home visits, local clinics and labs around Granada, the emergency and labor and delivery departments at Hospital Japones, and an elderly care home. The students were able to shadow healthcare providers, assist in clinical procedures, promote disease prevention, and work closely with patients.

Aside from clinical work, the group also had the opportunity to teach grade school kids public health topics like basic body systems and their functions, the importance of exercise, personal hygiene and sanitation, basic vital signs, and proper nutrition throughout the week.

 

The program matched each student with homestay families, where they were able to practice their Spanish and get immersed in Nicaraguan culture, hospitality, and food. The class also had the chance to explore Granada and go on excursions to the famed Isletas, zipline through a forest canopy, hike the Mombacho volcano, and visit historical sites, among others.

Here are some of the personal experiences and inspiring stories from the trip:

"

"

I had an amazing time in Nicaragua. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and has made me appreciate everything that we have in the U.S. I helped out in an urgent care on the first few days and was able to clean wounds, draw up meds, draw blood, and practice my Spanish. The highlight of my clinical experience in Nicaragua was working with a gynecologist and learning how to use an ultrasound to measure the progress of the fetus. I have always had a passion for helping the underserved, but this was my first medical trip abroad where I actually had some experience and was able to help my patients. This has reminded me of my passion for helping those less fortunate than me and made me even more excited to be a licensed provider so that I can see underserved patients on my own and really help to improve their qualities of life.

 

- Brandon Porter

Class of 2017

"

"

Going to Nicaragua was definitely life-changing. This was the first time I had to depend on my Spanish skills and push myself to communicate with our host family, the patients, and the locals. I was able to volunteer at the Puesto and Villa clinics, and during my time at the Puesto, I realized that I could understand more Spanish than I previously thought, which was really exciting. The nurse I worked with took me under her wing, showed me how their clinic ran, taught me the importance of counseling young sexually active women, and explained the necessary steps to provide proper immunizations to both pediatric and geriatric populations. I was also able to work hands-on – I cleaned a recent C-section wound and immunized patients as well. My experience at the clinic was something I know I will take with me and apply as a future provider. It is so important to step out of your element and challenge yourself, and going to Nicaragua was a way to do that for me.

 

- Hind Fakhoury

Class of 2017

"

"

I am so glad I was able to travel to Nicaragua with my classmates. We were only there for a short time but I have so many experiences that had enriched me as a person and as a future PA. My group and I had been scheduled to take an hour-long ride to a small community called Diriomo. While there, we traveled into homes affected by Chikungunya, an epidemic similar to, but a milder form of, malaria. As we traveled to the communities, we spread non-toxic pesticide into the stillwater tubs of the homes to kill the mosquitoes. From Diriomo, we would travel another hour to provide medical care to another community with a physician and some nurses. As a student, it was an exhilarating feeling to finally piece together what I have learned in class and utilize these skills and knowledge to help those in need. I realized that “those in need” were not limited to the patients that arrived in clinic; some members in my host family were affected by chronic debilitating illnesses as well. My classmate, Nicole, and I would spend each night after dinner discussing the symptoms they were experiencing. We educated them on what their symptoms may indicate and even convinced our “house mom” to see a medical provider the following day. The dinner table discussions was where I obtained a majority of my educational experience – I became fully aware of the impact stressors and access to resources had to health if they are not balanced.

 

- Diana Romo

Class of 2017

The opportunity our class had over the summer was unique and amazing. I was placed at Palmira where I worked closely with an Ob-Gyn. I learned how to examine pregnant women and was given the opportunity to examine a few patients on my own. I also had the opportunity to go to another clinic and was able to perform my first pap smear on a patient. Overall, my clinical experience in Nicaragua was one I will never forget. I learned so much from the physicians and nurses I worked with and hope to one day return to volunteer my time in the clinics as a certified Physician Assistant.

 

- Jaclyn Aldana

Class of 2017

"

"

Nicaragua showed me the dedication of health care professionals and the limitations to resources for hygiene and basic care. To name off a few things, I rode in the back of a motorcycle for house visits, sat on the back of a truck to teach family public health hygiene, and assisted in pap smears and wound care. It’s amazing to see how adaptable people are with limited resources and how much more can be improved. This is a great experience to appreciate the many hours that you put in to study diseases and the weekly Spanish classes, and also to appreciate what you already have.

 

- Jennifer Chan

Class of 2017

"

"

International Outreach

195A0945