For the fourth summer, I have helped place a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student from the School of Nursing who will volunteer in the Teotitlan del Valle public health clinic. Kathy Ray, a second degree BSN student, will spend almost three weeks in this indigenous Zapotec village, working alongside the clinic physician and nurses, practicing her Spanish, doing patient in-take, and accompanying the health care providers as they visit homes to be sure that inoculations are up-to-date. Kathy, a 39-year-old mother of teenagers, won an undergraduate award to help fund her global health experience.
Kathy will be following in the footsteps of Leilani Trowell, Lindsay Bach and Amy Davenport who all lived with a local host family during their stay in the village. The family and clinic staff loved having them and our students learned a lot about the culture and delivery of rural health care in Mexico.
Many of you know that my full-time position is with the School of Nursing. As director of advancement, I help the school raise needed funds for scholarships, professorships and critical programs that help educate future nurses — a crucial societal need.
One of the pleasures I have had over the years is my role in starting this student exchange and learning program in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. It is one more way to promote intercultural exchange, global understanding and appreciation for the culture of our important neighbor to the south.
And, our university would not be permitting our students to take part in this program if there was any question about risk to personal safety!