Jensen Pecora spent nearly 10 days surrounded by swaying trees, mountain views and coastal beaches.
But her travel plan wasn’t to relax—it was to provide peace of mind and care to others.
Pecora, a junior studying health policy, was one of nearly 20 students who recently took part in the Global Brigades-UM-Dearborn chapter’s trip to Honduras. Global Brigades is a nonprofit organization that helps under-resourced communities resolve global health disparities.
Accompanied by Biology Professor Marilee Benore, the chapter’s adviser, the students worked with an international aid organization that travels to remote villages to provide health screenings, demonstrate preventive care and treat sickness.
Students did clinical work—rotating between different stations for triage, optometry, doctor consults, pharmacology and dentistry—and public health work. They took blood pressure, weighed patients, operated the eye exam machine, and more.
“It was the first time the clinic was offered in the particular community and was temporarily set up in a school and in a house, ” Benore said. “During their medical rotations, students assisted with 500 patients. That shows the level of need.”
UM-Dearborn students also volunteered to teach children, through interactive and fun methods, about proper dental hygiene.
“I wanted to go to Honduras to discover what healthcare is like for other people around the world and to learn more about the area of medicine I may be most interested in,” said Pecora, who now is interested in dental school after graduation. “Everyone who came into the [dental] clinic was so grateful once they had left because they were no longer experiencing pain, and their smiles looked even more beautiful. This experience was very inspiring.”
Benore said the Global Brigades chapter has volunteered in Panama and Honduras in the past. She said the students chose to return to Honduras because, on their previous visit, they did more than gain knowledge—they had a strong connection with the people they met.
Pecora said the experience had a lasting impact on her and she hopes to travel to the Central American country and provide healthcare assistance again.
“You come back with more appreciation for what you have,” she said. "The experience gives a different perspective on global healthcare and how helping one person can make an impact.”