DAYTON, OHIO-Three of the 82 graduating medical students from Wright State University School of Medicine, Deanna Allgeyer, Tamara Kelly, and Melissa Schloneger, fulfilled course requirements and personal goals on a recent medical mission trip to Guatemala.
The elective, "Primary Care and Public Health in Guatemala," was sponsored by Wright State's Department of Family Medicine and was planned by Melissa Schloneger and her husband Dr. Mark Schloneger, who is a second-year resident in the Family Practice Residency at Miami Valley Hospital, and a 2001 graduate from the school.
The medical students, along with Drs. Schloneger and Michael Chandler, a second-year resident in Med-Peds at Ohio State University, and Mr. Wendell Schloneger, a photographer, spent three weeks operating health clinics out of small village churches in remote areas outside of Guatemala City.
From visiting an orphanage filled with children who had chickenpox, to fitting the elderly with inexpensive reading glasses, to distributing medicine for parasites and other preventable diseases, the medical team's experiences were life changing and personally rewarding.
"We take so much for granted here in the states," states Melissa. "From being able to afford to buy the medications we need, to having clean drinking water. Many of the people we were able to help worked in the coffee fields earning no more than a few dollars a day, so buying eyeglasses for even one of their children was not even a consideration. So, fitting the children with glasses, or providing them with much needed medications and witnessing the difference these small changes made in their lives, was rewarding."
Melissa, recently inducted into the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha, is a graduate fromMelissa Schloneger with child Beavercreek High School with a B.S. in education and B.S. in health and sport studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and an M.S. in anatomy from Wright State University. "I was an average student as an undergrad at college," she states, "but through the inspiration and encouragement of teachers, I decided that medical school was something I would, after all, be able to handle."
Melissa and 81 fellow medical students from the Class of 2003 will graduate on June 6 at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton.
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