Nursing students add 'spice' to educational outreach

Published 10.21.2022

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Bachelor’s degree nursing students are ready to hit the road.

The group, enrolled in the course Global Healthcare Explorations, plans to depart campus late Friday evening for a journey to the village of Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala. Once there, they will join the Glen Falls (New York) Medical Mission team to set up and run a weeklong medical clinic in the medically underserved region. Other volunteers represent a host of health care fields.

Students in Global Healthcare Explorations meet to go over last-minute instructions and weigh bags of donated items. From left: Jesse D. Laird V, of Chambersburg; Jordan Specht, of Frederick, Md.; Madison T. McClelland, of Columbia Cross Roads; Kylee D. Butz, of Lawrenceville; and Maci N. Ilgen, of Spring Mills. They will be joined in service by Christine B. Kavanagh, assistant professor of nursing, and Theresa Moff, a pediatric nurse practitioner for UPMC.The students have been preparing for the experience all semester by learning about the people and the town they will be visiting, learning what to expect at the clinic, brushing up on customary Spanish phrases, and completing tasks, like attaining passports – the first for several of the students. They also visited the Dr. Welch Workshop to make T-shirts – design courtesy of graphic design student Skylar L. Hicks, of Ebensburg.

A spice blend formulated by students in Sustainability of Food Systems and packaged by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is an added donation to this year’s medical clinic. Class instructor, Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, also provided a recipe that uses the blend. The label and recipe were translated by Jennifer C. Yeager, part-time instructor.Each student is dedicating their second checked bag to transporting items that will be donated in Nueva Santa Rosa. Items were donated by the students, the Student Nurses Association and by community organizations.

A special contribution this year is a spice mix for black beans, which are a prolific, nutritious crop in Guatemala. Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and his Sustainability of Food Systems students developed the spice blend and provided a black bean soup recipe in which to use the mix.

Part-time faculty member Jennifer C. Yeager, who teaches foreign language classes at the college, provided Spanish translation for the labels. The spices used in the mix were provided by Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which also packaged it into bottles.

“We will be handing these out to families to encourage black bean consumption as part of our nutrition education,” said Christine B. Kavanagh, assistant professor of nursing, who teaches the course and leads the students’ journey.