“The truth is, I don’t know how this project would actually survive without the services of Trinity School of Medicine. They have taken on such a big role in the whole exercise. . . [W]e really are appreciative of the school.”
These were the words of Dr. Colin Boyle, President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Rotary Club, speaking at the Rotary Village Doctor exercise conducted in the interior community of Vermont at the Community Centre.
President Boyle (pictured left) cited the Rotary Village Doctor exercise as one of his organization’s most important programs. Conducted at least twice a year, medical assistance is offered to less fortunate people in rural communities on St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Groups of medical and surgical specialists, medical students, and other volunteers set up clinic in a community and deliver services to patients. “This symbiotic relationship between the Club and the school provides services and also gives the students necessary practical experience,” he stated. Assisting in exercises like this is a major part of Trinity’s program, one that prioritizes clinical experience as early as first term.
This particular Village Doctor exercise was held in Vermont, a rural community located in the central region of southern St. Vincent. The exercise saw specialist doctors providing consultation services, with Trinity students controlling the entire triage process and subsequent specialist referral. Dr. Boyle explained, “Today, we have a very wide range of services from dentistry to ophthalmology, to gynecology; and we have pediatricians, a psychologist and of course, the students of Trinity School of Medicine. They are here to do the triage, the frontline service where people come in and they have their vitals taken and are then referred to the specialists available.” A well-stocked pharmacy was also a feature of the day’s activities.
Dr. Andreas Reymann, associate dean of academic affairs and evaluation at Trinity, acted as the main liaison between the school and the Rotary Club. He gave his opinion of the activity, “Everything has fallen into place and we have become an integral part of the exercise. We do a lot of the organizing here. For this exercise, we had organized about seven or eight doctors, twelve medical students, and the Rotaractors. We provided glucose testing materials--glucometers--for three hundred patients and we’re still growing.”
Five of the eight doctors came from Trinity: Dr. Reymann himself (pictured right); Dr. Conrad Nedd, assistant professor of clinical medicine and clinical preceptor; Dr. Jamil Ibrahim, assistant professor in clinical medicine; Dr. Amrie Morris-Patterson, Assistant professor of Psychiatry and Course director, behavioural Sciences; and Dr. Mignonette Soto, Assistant professor of introduction to clinical and community medicine.
Leading the consultation delegation from Trinity was Dr. Nedd. detailing that, “We mainly wanted to see as many persons as possible and to give all of them service. The general public responded well and we actually exceeded the numbers we were expecting. We saw two hundred and sixty patients. We were able to help some of these persons with previous conditions that were not addressed and needed follow-up.”
One patient, Abigail Ashton was quite happy with the service she received at the clinic. “When I got into the registration area, the students put me at my ease. Personally, I was a little bit nervous because I am scared of visiting the doctor, but they quickly made me feel comfortable and I was able to answer their questions.” Dr. Nedd spoke with enthusiasm about the students’ involvement, stating how satisfied they were about their participation and that each had expressed interest in future projects of that nature.
Another Rotary Village Doctor Exercise is slated for the end of 2015 and, as always, Trinity School of Medicine will continue to play its part to provide hands on clinical experience for the students and quality medical care for Vincentians.