Daemen Physician Assistant Students, Faculty, Return to Dominican Republic for 13th Straight Year

Daemen Physician Assistant Students, Faculty, Welcomed by Residents during five days in Village of Hoyo del Toro


January 28, 2013



Contact: Mike Andrei

                Director-College Relations





           During the January, 2013 Intersession, students and faculty from the Daemen College Physician Assistant Program and Students Without Borders (SWOB) traveled to the Dominican Republic (DR) to deliver health care to the residents of the village of Hoyo del Toro. It was the thirteenth straight year that representatives of the Daemen PA Program, together with members of SWOB, returned to the Caribbean nation.


            Daemen PA faculty/clinical mentors making the trip included Dr. Gary A. Styn, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Anatomical Sciences; Clinical Instructor Dr. Matthew Kearns; Mary Tyson Turner-Danylec, a Daemen physician assistant graduate with a practice in North Carolina; Dr. Jobee Alvarade, a practicing E.R. doctor in Dallas, TX; Katie Miller, a physician assistant Daemen graduate and Assistant Professor; and Dr. Jeremy Welsh, a clinical educator in the Clarkson University PA Program. The group included 36 students from the Daemen PA Program, and Thomas Styn, a St. Bonaventure University physical education major.


In Hoyo del Toro (a village just west of the province of San Pedro de Macoris, in the eastern half of the DR) the Daemen students and practitioners provided a wide range of care, while also bringing medicines and health education to the village residents.


“We were able to treat 452 patients during the five days we were there,” said Dr. Styn. “These included a great many wellness visits, along with more serious conditions, such as diabetes, gastro-intestinal distress, musculoskeletal disorders, hypertension, and upper respiratory infections. We also addressed quite a number of issues and conditions in women’s health.”


The participating Daemen students made the most of the excellent opportunities for hands-on clinical experiences, giving them a preview of providing health care as PAs.


“Our group was mainly second year students,” pointed out Dr. Kearns. “This experience gave them a chance to go face-to-face with patients, diagnosing their conditions. The students would then present their findings to our PA faculty and the other practitioners, enabling them to then create a plan for administering care.”


Styn and Kearns pointed to an ongoing lack of access to health care for many residents of Hoyo del Toro, as well as a lack of funds as prime reasons why the care provided by the Daemen PA group was so welcomed and appreciated. The Daemen group took medicines with them to dispense during the five days there, and also made purchases for additional medications that they found necessary once they began seeing patients.


One member of the Daemen group, St. Bonaventure University physical education major Thomas Styn, was making his third trip with SWOB. Styn, also a member of the St. Bonaventure baseball team, concentrated his efforts in collecting and bringing baseball equipment to the village. Styn was also very valuable in the clinic triaging, taking patients' vital signs, and translating


Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic; the DR has a baseball league of six teams (the Milwaukee Brewers have a summer league here called the baseball academy).  


“After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of Major League Baseball players,” said (Thomas) Styn. “Sports equipment, either new or used, is hard to come by in the smaller villages, so we are happy to bring – and donate – baseball equipment.”


Notable baseball players born in the Dominican Republic include: 15 year MLB veteran Miguel Tejada; Julian Javier, Pedro Martínez, Manny Ramírez, Jose Bautista,  David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, José Reyes, Juan Marichal (a Baseball Hall of Fame member), and Sammy Sosa.


Daemen’s Student Without Borders student leaders included Cortni Monroe, president; Annie Skrobacz, travel coordinator; Karyanne Cox, treasurer; Nicole Alberti, vice president & secretary; and fundraising coordinator Erin Nichols.


Each student was responsible for fundraising, required mainly to purchase medications and clinic supplies. The students then contributed about $1200 of their own money for transportation, food and lodging during the trip.


In summing up the trip, Dr. Styn also made specific mention of Rafael Genao, Jr., a native of the DR who also attended Daemen, as a major force behind the continued success of SWOB's mission trip each year.


“Rafael was the individual who promoted the idea of these trips to the Daemen PA program more than a dozen years ago. He provided guidance and direction to the department, which has resulted in 13 trips, each one providing care and medicines to people in his country.


“He is now living back in the DR, with a master’s degree in public health, working to establish a not-for-profit agency that will facilitate many groups similar to Daemen's SWOB to travel to his country and provide care for a greater number of individuals in need in many different geographic areas. He is a major force in the success of our journeys to the DR each year, and he is to be congratulated for achieving this success in helping others.”

World of Opportunity Wizard

Wow! Did you know Daemen students travel to help people in need!

Health Care Studies Professor Justine Tutuska, accompanied by her students, traveled to the Dominican Republic to work on Public Health Issues and school building.

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