This was one of the largest groups we’ve had participate in our capacity-building trips and proved to be one of the best teams we’ve had yet. Our volunteers were motivated, passionate, and consistently willing to step in and lend a hand wherever needed. There were 13 students and residents led by attending Dr. Elimarys Perez-Colon, Dr. Candice Mateja, and Dr. Bob Melosh. And of course, we couldn’t do what we do without our partner NGO, Manna Project International. Our clinical program director, Shanelle D’Alessio, assisted in leading the team throughout the week.
During the trip, we offered expertise in the specialties of internal medicine, pediatrics, and for the first time, surgery. We saw approximately 170 patients during the week. These included acute care visits and well child checks, and also wellness exams for all of our patients enrolled in our Chronic Patient Program.
Our Chronic Patient Program is comprised of community members with diabetes mellitus and/or hypertension, and these individuals are closely monitored. USF Health Nicaragua has created evidence-based, community-specific guidelines for the management of these patients, and we’ve seen significant improvement in their blood pressures and A1Cs since instituting these guidelines. It has been wonderful to work with Dra. Wendy in developing and applying these guidelines, and Dra. Wendy continues to follow these guidelines when our team is at home in Florida. Our patients receive monthly supplies of their life-saving medications from the clinic, and they have extensive appointments with our specialists during our capacity-building trip. They all receive lab work at least twice annually, and more often if needed. The visits during our capacity-building trips include review of lab work, discussion on medication adherence and tolerance, and extensive education on lifestyle modifications and long-term management of disease. We were thrilled this trip to see that the majority of our chronic patients continue to be well-controlled. And spotlight on Yolanda (pictured second from the left below), whose Hemoglobin A1C continues to decline, dropping from 7.8 in our spring trip to 6.3 this trip!