Olivia Huerta administers a check up to one of La Roca's homeless men
Healing Hearts Across Borders Mission Trip
"This past weekend I was able to be a part of something unforgettable: my first medical mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. I worked alongside medical students from different universities in the U.S. as well as from Mexico and cannot even describe how much I learned, witnessed and felt. This was a trip that touched my heart and has tremendously changed my perspective on poverty and its significant connection to health care. I am definitely eager to go back and continue to help out as much as I am able to. The 'staff' was a great team of professionals, students, and volunteers. Medical students from UC Riverside became physicians for a day and attended to about 20 to 30 patients. UCR medical students paired up to attend to patients and worked together to give the best diagnosis possible. Collaboration was an important factor in coming up with the best plan of action for our patients. The medical students would consult with each other along with the doctor on site and/or with the nurse practitioner. The doctor was Dr. Alejandro Villalonga, who recently graduated from medical school in Monterrey, Mexico. I decided to shadow him throughout the day for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I have been aware of how great medical education is in Mexico. The teaching methods in Mexico are very different from the United and in the case of medical education; two more years are required in contrast to U.S. medical schools that are completed in four years.
The best part was providing all the help we possibly could to numerous people who have been left with nothing. Most of these people are U.S. immigrant veterans who were deported after their service term ended. These people, who speak perfect English because prior to deportation had their entire lives formed in the U.S., were thrown out of the country and left in the streets of Tijuana, separated from their families and all that they possessed. It was extremely fulfilling to be a part of Healing Hearts Across Borders and it was definitely one of the most endearing experiences I have ever done.