We take mobile medical clinics into the sugar cane villages (bateys) of the eastern Dominican Republic and into the jails and prisons; the clinics are general medical clinics. We have a referral hospital the Good Samaritan in La Romana for specialty referrals. A trip lasts five days and 1000-2000 patients are seen, and given appropriate medications.
The primary target population are the sugar cane cutters and their families, primarily Haitian immigrants, on the sugar cane populations This population is underserved, as Haitians in another country, the Dominican Republic; they live in very poor conditions with little or no regular medical care. The prison population consists of Haitians and Dominicans both and is also underserved by the government, with significant illness.
These outreach clinics through the Good Samaritan Hospital have been done for the 30 years of the hospital's existence. Many fewer childhood illnesses related to water, sanitation and hygiene are seen. Nutritional deficiencies and pre-natal care are treated. Acute and chronic adult diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are treats - all with improved population health and decrease in childhood and adult mortality.
Cross Cultural Medicine on Hispaniola (Project Dominicana / Dominican Republic Mission trip)
Our team of five physicians led outreach clinics to the bateys (sugar cane villages) of the eastern Dominican Republic and into two national prisons (Seibo - men, and Higuey - women) and two local jails (preventivas Higuey and Romana), On the bateys we see primarily Haitian sugar cane cutters and their families. These communities are desperately poor with no regular medical care.
We are "cross cultural" because we see both Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic, Haitian Dominicans, and Dominicans. Only Haitians live on the bateys and cut the sugar cane. We avoid political controversy ourselves, but unrest in Haiti and old national animosities are apparent, leading to disparity in the physical health of the Haitians, the economy, education and the delivery of health care on the bateys.
This year marks 30 years that this team has existed under its lead, Bob Chagrasulis, M.D. Over those 30 years little has changed for the better for the Haitians and Dominican Haitians on the bateys. Visiting north American teams such as ours are the only semi-constant medical care they receive and during the recent Covid pandemic, medical teams were not able to travel.
Most of the physicians currently on the team are graduates of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Class of 1981. We look forward to a close continued alliance with our medical school and are very grateful to the Doximity Foundation for airfare funding for our doctors. Thank you very much.