There were many tempting options
during spring break for MUSC's
second-year occupational therapy
Emily Caveny, OT
Class 2013, enjoys a moment with
an Ugandan boy as he awaits a
check-up at the local clinic in
Thanks to the persuasive talents
of Patty Coker-Bolt, Ph.D.,
assistant professor in the College
of Health Professions, 16 of the
42 in the class chose to spend
their spring break working in
Uganda as volunteers for a trip
organized through the Palmetto
Medical Initiative. Coker-Bolt
plays a vital role in recruiting
for this organization. The
students traveled 7,400 miles to
Masindi, Uganda from May 4-14.
Lauren Wengerd, pictured far right
with an excerpt from her trip
journal, said she wishes she were
back there right now.
"You would go to clinic with your
shoes and a hat and you would
leave without them," she said.
"Going on this trip was the best
decision I have ever made.
Learning both life and career
helping people who genuinely need
it? Sign me up."
Sixteen of MUSC's
occupational therapy students
volunteered to work on a medical
trip to Masindi, Uganda on their
spring break, May 4-14.
The Office of Student Life in the
College of Health Professions is
accepting shoes for the next group
of students going to Uganda in
August. New and used shoes of all
sizes for men, women and children
are needed. Folding wheelchairs
and walkers also are in dire need.
For more information, contact
Kaelyn Rogers at email@example.com.
Wengerd, an occupational therapy
student, helps an Ugandan
patient fit his "wheelchair" for
molds to improve his posture and
comfort. Below is an excerpt
from reflections in her journal.
"As I sit both mentally and
physically exhausted on a two-hour
van ride back from clinic, I am
trying to wrap my mind around
everything I experienced today. I
met a man whose amazing smile and
overwhelming gratefulness will
forever be engrained in my mind.
He had a severe case of polio,
something that is rarely seen in
the States anymore, and as a
result had the most debilitating
case of scoliosis I may ever see.
He came to us in a wheelchair made
of a hard plastic lawn chair and
bike tires hoping for a cure, or
at the very least, relief from the
pain. We luckily had some foam
material that we were able to
modify and attach to his chair to
provide him better posture, and
most importantly, comfort. As he
sat back on a soft surface for
maybe the first time in his life
his huge smile and laughter said
it all. Something as simple as
making a chair that he uses
everyday more comfortable may have
changed his quality of life
forever, and at the end of the
day, it doesn't matter if you are
in America or Uganda. That is what
I came to OT school for. That is
what occupational therapy is all
about." -— Lauren