The group, which included Elliott Aguayo, Lale Akaydin, Vanessa Batista, Tran Huynh, Shanekqua Richardson, Pankaj Khullar, Barry Ladizinski, Jenny Lee, Rajani Maret, Akeem Marsh, Nadia Quijije, Travina Varghese, Katherine Walia, Jing Wang, Kimberly Watson, and Maria Rosa, was led by Assistant Medical Professor Anne Dembitzer, MD, of Sophie Davis’ Department of Community Health and Social Medicine and supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
"The students really stepped up to the plate to serve in anyway they could,” said Dr. Dembitzer, an internist who also volunteered her services to a couple of clinics there, including the Latin Health Outreach Project which treats patients in the middle of a parking lot. The students received some hands-on medical training during the trip in conjunction with their efforts to help with the recovery. Each day, Dr. Dembitzer would take two of them to a clinic where she treated both residents and volunteer workers living in the area. Many patients with chronic disease were left unmonitored and without medication after Katrina. Many presented with symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome. One patient, who recalled how he spent four days after Katrina pulling people out of the water, still had nightmares.
"The students would do patient intakes, vital signs and shadow me and other doctor or medical students. They really enjoyed all the hands-on work with patients, being able to interact with third and fourth-year medical students, and being able to see first hand how care is delivered,” she noted.