An interprofessional team made up of 22 UC students, alumni, faculty, staff, community members and translators from the College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS) traveled to Mexico for a week in October 2014 to work with the Palace Foundation. The team provided hundreds of patients in the local community with physical therapy services, audiology assessments and nutritional consultations.
This service learning experience allowed students to gain hands-on experience in their fields while making a difference in the lives of the citizens of Cancun, Mexico. During the trip, the first lady of Cancun, Sra. Luciana Da Via de Carrillo, recognized the UC team publicly for the work they did for the foundation and the citizens of Cancun.
Students from the physical therapy program first visited Mexico in 2013 to aid the Palace Foundation in its goals of contributing to the health, welfare, education and happiness of individuals in the community. In 2014, the team grew to include students from audiology, nutrition and social work, allowing the scope of medical care offered to grow.
"Serving alongside professionals and students from physical therapy, nutrition and social work reinforced the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in treating the whole person and not just the ears,” said audiology member Brian Earl, PhD, an assistant professor in the college’s department of communication sciences and disorders.
While there, students visited a variety of locations with Palace Foundation representatives, including the Center for Exceptional Children, local hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and food production plants. The foundation provided room, board and transportation for all participants. A faculty led, study abroad block grant helped defray the student’s expenses.
The team plans to head back to Mexico again in early 2015 which will allow them to check up on patients they saw the year previously.
Physical therapy student Andrew Tran says he was personally moved by the improvements his patients had made in the last year: "I am excited to go back and lead the next group to impact more lives.”