Each summer, the George E. Schreiner '43 M.D. Pre-Medical Center at Canisius College hosts a medical mission trip to Central America. Students spend two weeks in impoverished communities in Nicaragua assisting local physicians and dentists in running free medical clinics and assisting local veterinarians providing care to both livestock animals and pets. Students also help in broader community health efforts.
Through this experience, Canisius students gain valuable experience in the healthcare field while also learning about the history, culture, and socio-political-economic reality of the country in which they serve, where they also assist in public health work and local efforts in disease prevention.
After a tumultuous history, Nicaraguans continue to face poor health outcomes and free clinics make a positive impact in rural communities. We are blessed to have local physicians, dentists and veterinarians who are committed to serving those in most need and who love teaching our students.
The program requires a high degree of personal maturity, responsibility, and a firm commitment to compassion and team building. Students participate in group reflections on the cross-cultural experience and each student's sense of vocation as a healer. Students also live with a local family part of the time to build solidarity and gain a better understanding of family dynamics and social relationships within Central American communities.