Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine faculty member, students complete medical mission trip

Dr. F. Dennis Dawgert has volunteered for mission for 12 years

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SCRANTON, PA (04/11/2018) 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 Kyle Gleaves of Wilkes-Barre; Claire LeGuen of Philadelphia; and William DeMayo of Ligonier. 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.

Student Kyle Gleaves, who recently matched to an internal medicine residency at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, said, "This experience allowed me to reflect on the meaning of working for justice and charity and to understand my role as a global citizen. My work in Jamaica gave me insight into delivering healthcare with limited resources and allowed me to learn about a different culture and the challenges other communities face that impact their health."

William DeMayo, a fourth-year student who will pursue a career in emergency medicine, beginning with a residency at University of Florida's Shands Hospital, said, "It's my intention to make a difference in the lives of patients, regardless of their condition, culture or economic state. In fact, it's the great variety of factors that drives my interest in emergency medicine. People who are culturally different from me teach me the most and help me to grow as a person. It was an honor and a privilege to work with the people of Mandeville."

"I am planning on incorporating global medicine and underserved medicine into my future medical career," said Claire LeGuen, who matched into general surgery residency at Temple University. "Prior to entering medical school, I was interested in working internationally and serving patients with the greatest needs and the least access to healthcare. Medical mission trips teach me how care can best be delivered in these settings and what programs are most effective in establishing sustainable healthcare delivery systems."

Dr. Dawgert added, "The care and skill exhibited by these three students made me very proud and gives me great hope for the future of medicine."

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.