Physical therapy in Haiti

Nathan Barr, ‘Doah Contributing Writer
January 23, 2013

'Doah photo courtesy of Nathan Barr

‘Doah photo courtesy of Nathan Barr

As most students were preparing for their return to S.U. for the spring semester, five members of the Physical Therapy department were engaging in a mission trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Led by Kyle Feldman, fellow students Lydia Valenta, Melissa Graham, Erica Heebner and Nathan Barr got to experience Haitian culture while providing much needed physical therapy services to the people.

During first day and a half the group got the chance to relax and learn about the Haitian culture through experience and the stories of the team’s host, retired U.S. physicians assistant Ed Amos. Throughout the course of the trip, the team visited four different orphanages that housed children with special needs, and spent a day in Amos’s clinic providing outpatient physical therapy.

In the orphanages, the team developed exercises for the children and educated the caregivers on how to correctly perform those exercises with the children. In two of the clinics, the team spent time properly fitting the children’s wheelchairs to their needs. This was an incredibly valuable experience, particularly for the first year students, as this was their first time working with patients.

The trip provided for many unique experiences treating conditions uncommon to the U.S. After getting past the initial nerves regarding the trip, all of the students felt like they learned a lot and were able to help the Haitian people. Everyone was ultimately pleased with how the trip went and are eagerly awaiting a return trip in the near future.

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