Well Child International

Medical Mission Trip Mexico: Making an Imprint on Global Health with Well Child International

When founder Michael Birnbaum began the International Service Learning program and its sub-program, Well Child International (WCI), the focus was to bring much needed resources to underserved populations around the world. The medical mission trips of WCI further that mission by mobilizing health care teams including doctors, faculty, and nursing students to vulnerable communities in areas like Baja, Costa Rica, and Belize. 

But teams don’t just provide health education, medical service, and run immunization campaigns in these locations. WCI Medical Missions make an imprint on the heart as team members truly connect with the communities they serve, engaging in a shared love and respect for life.

A Cooperative Venture

In 2022, WCI sent a Medical Mission to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. Largely composed of students from the College of Southern Nevada Nursing Program (CSN), these B.R.I.D.G.E.S (Bringing Resources Internationally and Domestically and Guiding Educational Services) team members discovered that each WCI Medical Mission and Nursing Medical Mission is a cooperative venture. The communities they serve give back.

Laurie, a fourth semester nursing student at CSN, joined the Puerto Peñasco mission because she was “passionate about serving the community and giving back.” What she didn’t expect was the reciprocal exchange. The immersion in the community’s culture gave her an appreciation for “taking things slow,” a lesson she has taken to heart and plans on implementing upon her return home.

Edwina DiSilvestri, a traveling nurse with the mission, was able to take away a new perspective and positive motivation. Working hand in hand with the local wound care nurse, she learned to appreciate the positive force of perseverance, even in the face of lack of supplies or necessary medical equipment. “She was the epitome of what nursing is all about.”

Work Hard While Having a Ball

A key component of WCI Medical Missions is providing much needed healthcare, and Puerto Peñasco participants did stay busy over the typical nine-day trip. They serviced neighborhood clinics, provided in-home screenings, worked in governmental hospitals, and helped train local healthcare providers. But they also had ample opportunity to experience the warmth and culture of the community they were serving.

Participants enjoyed gorgeous sunsets, sampled the flavorful local cuisine, and could shop till they dropped during “Melacón Time,” a promenade along the waterfront tourist area filled with shops offering work from local artisans. They even got an opportunity for salsa lessons!

Members of the mission team also incorporated play into their work. Wendy Burgess with Busy Soccer Mom, underscores the importance of exercise to a person’s overall health. As part of the Puerto Peñasco mission, shirts and soccer balls were collected for the children in the communities served. More than one soccer game was integrated into the mission. Talk about having a ball!

When asked if they would participate in the program again, many participants like Alicia, a fourth semester CSN nursing student, replied with a resounding “yes”.

Bringing More Than Just Supplies

Well Child International Medical Missions bring far more to underserved communities than soccer balls, staff, and supplies, though. Dr. Panter, one of the physicians on the Puerto Peñasco mission perhaps said it best. “We as humans are meant to treat each other with respect and dignity, and if we did that, this world would be a better place.”

Each member of the WCI Medical Missions has an opportunity to do just that. Every time you dispense medication, provide healthcare education, or simply offer a welcome smile, you impart that respect and dignity. On every WCI Medical Mission, “every person that walks in the door makes an imprint.”

Want to learn more about this trip and other global health opportunities for nursing students, other medical, and lay staff?

Watch the video, then visit our upcoming schedule here.