Volume 7 • Issue 2
Hospital Volunteer A Glimpse Into the UTHSCSA Mobile Dental Clinic
The summer is right around the corner,
and as such, it is imperative that you
S ervice. Although everyone has their own way of
defining what service is, not everyone involves
themselves in daily, selfless efforts. If you’re thinking
begin to make arrangements for secur- about pursuing a future in the health professions,
ing your participation in either summer then helping those most in need is to be expected
enrichment or volunteer activities. even if it means making sacrifices in your own
Doctor’s Hospital personal life. And that is exactly what the staff on the
Doctors Hospital of Laredo is seeking 25 UT Health Science Center mobile dental clinic has
of the best candidates for their summer been doing since the start of the initial pilot program
volunteer program. Only students ages in April 2007.
Pictured L-R: Sonia Perez, Griselda Rubio, Violetta Esparza,
14 years and older are eligible to apply. If
The mission of the mobile dental clinic is to provide Evalinda Lopez, Eduardo Castaneda, III and Eduardo Perez, D.D.S.
interested, you must contact Ms. Rachel
Rodriguez at 956-523-2004 to request access to children who have limited dental care
Evalinda Lopez, dental assistants, and Eduardo
an application. The process will involve services in the surrounding communities of Freer,
Castaneda, sterilization specialist/mobile unit driver.
completing the application form, taking a San Diego, Benavides, Oilton, Mirando City, Zapata,
TB test (provided free of charge) and And in spite of having limited clinical experience, I felt
etc. The mobile dental unit essentially serves as an
attending a mandatory orientation. that I was still able to contribute to the staff’s efforts.
extension of pediatric services from the UTHSCSA
My assigned duties for the day consisted of taking
Laredo Medical Center Dental Clinic located locally at the City of Laredo
each patient’s body weight and blood pressure as
Dolores Martinez, volunteer coordinator Health Department. The services provided on the they waited for an unoccupied dental chair on the van.
at LMC, will begin taking calls from mobile dental unit include dental exams, X-rays,
The most fascinating times of the day for me were
seriously interested students on Monday, cleanings, sealants, fillings and emergency tooth
when I was able to escort patients to the van and
April 19th throughout the month of May. extractions.
She will set-up interviews with each then just observe as Dr. Perez and dental assistants,
student and an orientation will follow. Having been given approval from Dr. Elaine Neenan Violetta and Eva, warmly welcomed patients in and
A parent or guardian must be present. and director, Dr. Eduardo Perez, I accompanied the made them feel at ease as they began their
There will be a morning and afternoon dental van staff in Zapata on Tuesday, December 8 th. examinations. It turned out to be a very busy day as
shift available to accommodate student The purpose of my visit was to offer my assistance patients were seen just about every half-hour. While
college and summer camp schedules. during their day of scheduled patient visits, but I got to return home at the end of the work day, the
Volunteering begins June 5th and ends
mostly, it was to experience what several of our dental van staff was gearing up to spend the night,
Med Ed students who in the past have volunteered on sacrificing time away from family, so that they could
the dental van in the hopes of writing this article and begin again the next morning.
encouraging more Med Ed students to come forward
The act of service can be so much more than what
and volunteer their time in this capacity as well.
you expect if you approach it with a positive attitude
I felt instantly welcomed upon initial introductions and an open-mind. My time spent with the dental van
with Dr. Eduardo Perez, pediatric dentist, Sonia Perez, staff and helping the Zapata community was so inspir-
dental patient services manager, Violetta Esparza and ing and I have only them to thank for that opportunity!
The Med Ed Connection ∙ Spring 2010 Page 2
Med Ed Students Visit the UTHSC San Antonio
San Antonio (November 7, 2009) Bright and faculty members from departments in the
early one fall Saturday morning, nearly 100 School of Health Professions led a variety of
Med Ed students boarded two charter buses hands-on morning activities on the Greehey
bound for the 2009 Health Professions Fair & North Campus while the Schools of Nursing,
Science Expo at the University of Texas Health Dentistry, Medicine and the Graduate School
Science Center at San Antonio. of Biomedical Sciences headed up concurrent
sessions that afternoon on the HSC’s main
Under the direction of Irene Chapa, Ph.D., the
Office of Recruitment and Science Outreach
coordinates a full day’s worth of hands-on The purpose of this one day, annual event is
activities, presentations, student information to enlighten prospective students about the
panels and tours as a means of exposing health professions and the educational
more South Texas students to careers in the pathways that ultimately lead toward these
health sciences. This event is open to area careers. Participants were also able to
high school and college students as well as gather information about the various degree
their parents and teachers. Students and programs available at the UT Health Science
Center San Antonio.
Pictured L-R: Karina Paez, Alessandra Mendiola,
Diana Perez and Eduardo Salinas enjoying their
To read more, visit http://www.uthscsa.edu/
morning as they visited the Greehey Academic and
Research Building on North Campus. hscnews/singleformat.asp?newID=3309.
Med Ed Students Give Back To The Laredo Community
Laredo (November 21, 2009) Med Ed volunteers participated in this past Misericordia families enjoying the Feast of Sharing program. Seeing the
fall’s big Unity in the CommUnity tree planting project at North Central smiles on everyone’s faces, especially the children as they danced and
Park which was sponsored by the City of Laredo. One-hundred trees were played with Med Ed students, was momentous.
planted by volunteers to create a true “Central Park” feel for walkers,
Due to an overwhelming response from Med Ed students interested in this
runners and bikers alike who take advantage
service event, two volunteer shifts were organized in an effort to try to
of the park’s approximate 2.7 mile trail.
accommodate everyone. The first shift was responsible for event set-up of
Having enjoyed a complimentary breakfast food and beverages, preparing grocery bags and entertaining the children.
and reviewed all safety precautions, project The second shift assisted by distributing meals, serving drinks, clean-up,
volunteers were immediately put to work. The assisting mothers with their strollers and carrying their heavy grocery
goal of Saturday’s project was to boast both bags and turkeys to their vehicles. A special heartfelt thank you goes out to
passive and active recreation space including those volunteers who brightened everyone’s day with their smiles, kindness
fitness trails, facilities for sports activities, a and support. Because of your warm and caring attitudes, our group was
Pictured Above: Ruben Garza unique nature conservancy area as well as welcomed back next year by Sister Rosemary Welsh. Job well done!
clearing out large branches.
playground area for the young. For giving so Pictured Left:
much of their time and effort to making a difference in our community, we Michelle Nunez is clearly
happy to assist.
wish to thank each and everyone of our hard-working Med Ed volunteers for
all of their contributions. Pictured Right
J.J. Martinez went above
and beyond by volunteer-
Laredo (November 22, 2009) What turned out to be a cold and gloomy
ing to dress up as Winnie
Sunday morning fortunately didn’t damper our Med Ed volunteers’ holiday the Pooh bear for the
spirits who provided such a warm welcoming feeling for Casa de children’s entertainment.
The Med Ed Connection ∙ Spring 2010 Page 3
Extra-ordinary Med Ed Students Doing Extra-ordinary Things For Their Communities
Have you found yourself wondering when the next Med Ed community Christmas morning is a
service activity is going to be? In fact, have you often complained childhood memory that lives on
about how we don’t offer enough projects to participate in? forever. Rushing to the
Christmas tree, ripping off the
If so, then you’ll want to read about how fellow Med Ed students, Zelina Ruiz
wrapping paper, feeling
and Samantha Perez, have taken it upon themselves to initiate their own
surprised and actually seeing
acts of service. They’ve both proven that you shouldn’t just sit and wait for
that look of surprise on a
opportunities to come to you. On the contrary, you should get out and
child’s face is what Christmas
make a difference either on your own, or better yet, with a group of
is all about. Unfortunately, too Pictured Above: Samantha J. Perez, sopho-
friends and family. Remember that highly selective universities will favor
many hospitalized children do more at Bruni High School and Med Ed student,
resourceful student leaders who know how and can make things happen. distributing donated toys to families in need.
not get to experience that
It was just like every other morning at my excitement on Christmas so when I heard the UTHSCSA Med Ed Program
house. I was watching the news with my was having a Toy Drive for the kids in the hospital I immediately knew I
family, when a representative from the wanted to help. But donating 3 toys just didn’t feel like enough. I knew if I
South Texas Food Bank was being could get more people involved we could really make a difference.
interviewed. She explained that April was So my friend Victoria and the Med Ed group at Bruni High School asked
Hunger Awareness Month and that the Food Mrs. Gloria Ramon, our guidance counselor, for her help and support. After
Bank would be needing assistance. I wanted getting approval from Dr. David Jones, our principal and superintendent,
to participate in this great cause, and of we started the volunteer project! My parents were very supportive
Pictured Above: Zelina Ruiz, course at the Food Bank.
sophomore at United High School throughout the entire toy drive. My dad even offered to raffle prizes from
and Med Ed student. his store, Triple Z Mercantile, to encourage more students to donate.
I love helping at the Food Bank. I have
volunteered for the Food Bank since I was in the third grade with the Girl Our group designed three huge donation boxes where kids could drop off
Scouts. I contacted Mrs. Gloria Jackson at the Food Bank to pitch my idea their contributions. Bruni Med Ed students did an amazing job at helping me
of committing at least an hour of my day to walking from house to house each morning hang posters and distribute flyers I created. In fact, one
with my Radio Flyer collecting canned goods and monetary donations for morning the group and I passed out candy canes with a reminder note
this worthy cause. She provided me with a Food Bank t-shirt and I.D. to which everyone loved. Our group even organized an assembly for the
begin my month-long commitment. middle school students to encourage them to donate toys too.
Considering my busy schedule, I thought I was setting myself up for Once it was time to stop collecting, we decided to wrap the toys ourselves.
failure. Luckily, I have a very supportive family and good friends that would We spent an afternoon together, had so much fun and felt so good about
accompany me on my afternoon runs. I set some goals for myself and giving up our winter vacation time to help children and bring smiles to their
committed to collecting $1,000 dollars and 1,000 cans of food items. When little faces. Amazingly, we were able to collect 58 toys altogether, and most
things looked bleak, I would commit to an extra hour. importantly, we felt really good about ourselves when we were done.
Fortunately for the generosity of our community I was able to meet my To our surprise, the UTHSCSA Toy Drive was a huge success and there
goals. Along the way, I came across some kind and generous people who was no way all the toys could be given to the hospitals alone. They were so
care about our community. Many had heard about my community service generous to let us give some of the toys to children in our very own
project on Pro 8 news and were hoping I would come by to accept their communities of Bruni, Mirando City and Oilton. For me to actually
donations. Their donations were greatly appreciated by the local Food experience seeing their faces and reactions was just pure magic. I would
Bank. April is around the corner, and I have some ideas in mind for this definitely volunteer to do this again. Our Bruni Med Ed group has plans to
year. The Food Bank currently has a waiting list for the Adopt a Family make the toy drive an annual volunteer opportunity for students in our
program. If you would like to help, please contact the South Texas Food school. Helping all those families and children is a feeling I will never forget
Bank at 956-726-3120. and will always cherish in my heart.
Academic Building, Suite 2.100
1937 E. Bustamante Street
Laredo, Texas 78041
Executive Director of
Health Science Pipeline Programs
David J. Jones, Ph.D.
Director of Medical Admissions
and Special Programs Med Ed Calendar of Events
Belinda Chapa, M.P.A.
Event Where Date/Time
Director of Student Programs
Griselda Rubio, M.H.A.
firstname.lastname@example.org Community Service Project: March 13th
Laredo-Webb County Food Bank
Help End Hunger 9:00 AM—12:00 PM
email@example.com UTHSC Regional Campus March 16-18th
Spring Fling Clinic
Laredo, TX Must register for time slot
Adella L. Guerrero
firstname.lastname@example.org Community Service Project: City of Laredo March 20th
Director of Tree Planting North Central Park 9:00 AM—12:30 PM
Nora Escalon Community Service Project:
email@example.com To Be Announced March 27th
Yolanda Chapa Community Service Project:
firstname.lastname@example.org To Be Announced April 10th
Believing and Investing in your future career in the health sciences!