College of Health Professions' Friends of Nicaragua honored
Having just completed its fifth annual rotation, the Nica Project continues to take root in providing health services and aid to the elderly.
The City of Granada, Nicaragua has honored students, faculty and staff from Pacific University's College of Health Professions (CHP) for promoting the health and wellness of elder citizens in the country.
Granada mayor Eulogio Mejia Marenco presented the award to this year's Friends of Nicaragua contingent during the group's visit to provide needed care to citizens of the Western Hemisphere's second-poorest nation.
The award recognizes the College of Health Professions executive dean, the College's nine program directors and deans, students, faculty and support staff "for their services and support over the years to improve the quality of life for older adults in Nicaragua."
Each year during the University's holiday break, approximately 20 students and 10 faculty travel to Nicaragua to provide health-related services for Nicaraguan elders in partnership with the Clackamas-based Jesse F. Richardson Foundation. The initaiative has grown substantially in just five years.
The first trip took place in 2007, when a team of six students and three faculty members performed a needs assessment. Since then, CHP personnel have provided health services for hundreds of Nicaragua residents and caregivers through local elder care homes, the University of Managua, Rotary chapters, the Catholic Church and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, among others.
Other projects include instructional workshops for health professionals and caregivers to better treat elders despite limited resources.
Tiffany Boggis, an associate professor of occupational therapy and the project's lead coordinator, said many elders the group helps are abandoned by younger family members who must leave the country to find work.
"This honor recognizes the College of Health Professions' ongoing commitment to civic engagement on a global scale," Boggis said. "Our students, faculty and staff understand how fortunate we are in the United States to have a safety net system that many countries, including Nicaragua, do not. We are most grateful to the City of Granada for its appreciation of our work."
Located in downtown Hillsboro, Pacific University's College of Health Professions consists of the schools of Audiology, Dental Health Science, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Professional Psychology, as well as Masters of Healthcare Administration and Certificate of Gerontology programs.
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