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FGCU’s Chapter of Global Medical Brigades Prepares for their Trip to Guatemala

Photo by Unsplash

This summer, FGCU’s chapter of Global Medical Brigades (GMB) will be taking their largest group of students in the university’s history to Guatemala. 

A total of 43 students will provide a range of medical services on the trip from May 6-12. 

GMB is an international non-profit organization that focuses on a holistic model that includes sustainable health systems, water and sanitation infrastructure and economic development. FGCU’s GMB concentrates on medical service within both global communities and local communities like Immokalee, Golden Gate and downtown Fort Myers. 

This chapter of GMB is entirely student-led and organized. President Conner Bapst and Vice President Dominique Berrette have been rigorously preparing all aspects of the trip to Guatemala.

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A plethora of services will be provided to four different communities in Guatemala. They will have stations with doctors, optometrists, pharmacists and dentists. Pap tests will also be included in the services. This year, due to the size of the brigade, new components are being incorporated. 

“For one of the four clinic days, students will be doing a research aspect to kind of support a continued global brigades model. We’re also having a lab so we can do some testing onsite,” Bapst said.

Last May, the brigade to Honduras consisted of 33 students. Similarly, students got to work with local doctors, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists. They were able to provide service to over 1,000 patients in four different communities. 

“We pulled hundreds of teeth with the dentists, we gave out a bunch of medications with the pharmacists, [patients] got to do vision screenings with the optometrists and they got to get prescription glasses if they needed those. We also were able to provide, for the first time I believe, Pap smears to provide more for women’s health,” Bapst said.

The chapter is working to raise a goal of $72,780 for the trip. They have currently raised over $33,000. Money and donations are typically received from local communities and businesses. GMB members attending the brigade also have to contribute a donation. 

In preparation for the trip, members have learned how to take vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure and oxygen rate. They honed these skills before the local brigades earlier in the year. They have also emphasized learning medical terminology in Spanish. The members are actively learning more about Guatemalan history and culture to ensure they are completely equipped to serve. 

“Just the fact that we’re able to bring as many people as we are to this upcoming brigade means that we are going to be able to help out way more people than we normally have. It is just something I’m so looking forward to and makes all the hard work worth it,” Berrette said. 


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