Shreveport Health Sciences Chair Continues Mission in Santo Domingo

Contributed by Adrian Crawford, Campus Learning Resource System Manager III

Living quarters in Barahona, Dominican Republic.

Living quarters in Barahona, Dominican Republic.

Christopher Riser, BS, ADN, LMT, AHI, our Shreveport Campus’s Health Sciences Department Chair, has returned from his most recent annual missionary trip to the Dominican Republic.

Each year for the past four years, Mr. Riser has made the trip with the Northwest Louisiana Missionaries to bring much-needed medical, dental, and vision care to the people of Barahona, in the southern part of the Dominican Republic.

The missionary group includes members from the St. John’s Episcopal Church of Minden and a group of Northwest Louisiana doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and civilian volunteers. This year, they saw an incredible total of 2,500 patients in just four days.

The Missionaries’ Experience in Barahona
Mr. Riser described his experience for us: “The people of Barahona and the surrounding area look forward to our annual visits. We always go during the week of the July 4th holiday, and believe me, they know it and keep track.”

Group awaiting care in Barahona, Dominican Republic.

Group awaiting care in Barahona, Dominican Republic.

“Everything is paid for by the missionaries themselves: from airline tickets, ground travel, and medications to the food that the church cooks for us in order for us to have some nourishment as we do our work. It takes cases and cases of bottled water to keep all of the missionaries hydrated. The heat index is well over 100 degrees as we work in the wooden church with no air conditioning, but when we see the look of appreciation on the faces of the people we’re there to help, it makes it all worthwhile.”

He added, “We send the ladies in the church money in advance for them to prepare for our arrival. The volume of medication needed is substantial. I pack extremely light when I go there, because every ounce of baggage space needs to be for those medications. In fact, I alone took two 70-pound check-in bags full of medicines. My job this year was to administer parasitic (de-worming) medication to the infants and children there, so needless to say, my task was daunting! I chased children for four days! And as we know, infants like to spit out medicine. Thank goodness I always pack more scrubs than I need. Tiring and exhausting work, but very rewarding, and wouldn’t trade my annual time there for anything.”

We asked Mr. Riser how others can get involved. He said, “There is a huge need in the area of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. One way to get involved is to donate funds.”

For an eye-opening look at the area serviced by the missionaries, see the YouTube video “A Taste of the Dominican Republic”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-A-Q0Z4d6Q&list=UUUPjJi5WBB-Dv-TzNMpHPUQ.

Filed in: Healthcare, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, Pharmacy Technician, Recent News

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