The following post is from our student, Bruna.
As a Brazilian-born graduate student in the field of Speech-Language Pathology, I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to join this medical mission by Healing the Children to Santa Marta, Colombia.
This medical mission has been the most gratifying opportunity I’ve ever had to serve others in my life. Giving selflessly is very difficult but when you encounter people who need it and are so grateful, it becomes an easier task.
I have enjoyed all parts of this trip so far, from some RnR to screening day to therapeutic seasons and counseling. Along with Dr. Berkowitz and Dr. Buhler, Jeanette and I became advocates for speech and language therapy for children with cleft lip/palate.
It is, however, sad to say that the number of fonoaudiólogos (SLPs) in Colombia are low compared to the United States. Additionally, parents cannot afford to pay for services. Therefore, we needed to train the parents of children with cleft lip/palate in order for them to provide therapy for their children.
Overall I loved this opportunity and thank Drs. Buhler and Berkowitz, Mercy College Communication Disorders Scholarship Fund, Healing the Children Northeast, and UNIMA for having me be a small part of this immense mission.
Bruna Carbelim Duran