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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) faculty member, Dr. F. Dennis Dawgert and three fourth-year GCSOM medical students recently completed a mission trip to Mandeville, Jamaica. Dr. Dawgert provided primary medical care services and supervised the patient care provided by GCSOM students Nichole Ogojiaku, Kate Larrabee, and Tina Roy. The students examined patients, assisted with patient triage, recorded patient complaints, took vital signs, distributed medicines and helped with clinic logistics. Each student who accompanied Dr. Dawgert is a recipient of The Jennifer A. Sidari, M.D. ’13 Global Health Award.

According to Dr. Dawgert, the clinics in Mandeville operate with limited resources and the residents have little access to consistent, quality healthcare. Visiting physicians and healthcare providers support these clinics to ensure they can continue to provide care in underserved areas.  Dr. Dawgert has supported this medical mission trip for the last 12 years and works closely with his parish, Our Lady of the Snows in Clarks Summit, as well as the Passionists (a Roman Catholic religious order) from Scranton and Passionist Volunteer International, to complete the mission.

“I was impressed by the praise our students received throughout our trip from everyone we met – whether it was the patients, clinic staff or even people we met in the community,” Dr. Dawgert said. “All I heard throughout our visit was how compassionate and skilled our students are.”

“It was a wonderful experience because everyone welcomed us into their homes and introduced us to their neighbors and families,” Larrabee said. “We got to see how patients live and cope with their illnesses at home. It also provided an opportunity for us to modify their medications and collect vital signs and perform physical exams.”

Jennifer A. Sidari, MD ’13 Global Health Awards were established to honor the memory of Dr. Jennifer Sidari, a member of the School of Medicine’s charter Class of 2013. The awards provide an educational stipend to fourth-year medical students interested in serving as medical volunteers abroad.

Jamaica Mission Trip 2019
Seen from left are John Menapace, a member of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s (GCSOM) Community Advisory Board with GCSOM fourth-year medical students Nichole Ogojiaku, Tina Roy and Kate Larrabee and Dr. F. Dennis Dawgert, clinical professor of pediatrics at GCSOM.