Alumnus to lead nursing students, faculty, alumni to Dominican Republic

Published: February 18, 2016

AQUINAS PHOTO / CONNOR DOWDELL / KIM SUBASIC, Ph.D., and alumnus Dr. John Juliano discuss Feb. 12 about a medical team traveling to Dominican Republic during spring break.

AQUINAS PHOTO / CONNOR DOWDELL / KIM SUBASIC, Ph.D., and alumnus Dr. John Juliano discuss Feb. 12 about a medical team traveling to Dominican Republic during spring break.

News Correspondent

A medical team from The University nursing program will spend spring break overseas.

Nursing majors, faculty members and several alumni will be setting up mobile clinics in different villages in the Dominican Republic. About 25 people, including nine juniors and seniors, will provide care to people in Haitian and Dominican communities March 20-27.

The leader of that medical team is Dr. John Juliano, a physician and University alumnus. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery and specializes in nine different areas. This is his fifth service trip to the Dominican Republic since 2008 but first time leading a team from The University.

“I actually started with my daughter, who is also an alumni,” Juliano said. “It was actually her idea, so she got me going down there.”

Juliano’s last four service trips to the Dominican Republic were with a local Catholic high school, when he found out it was not sending a team this year, he knew exactly who to contact, he said.

“When this high school fell through, and we knew we wanted to go again, sharing it with The University of Scranton was a natural thought for me,” Juliano said.

The University’s medical team will work through Island Impact Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides educational, spiritual and construction assistance as well as medical care to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Medical teams set up mobile clinics, or offer free surgeries, medications and supplies, according to Island Impact’s website.

Kim Subasic, Ph.D., an associate professor from the nursing department, said the team of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, lay people and a dentist will be hard at work all day.

“As a team we will be transferred to sites where we will have to set up medical clinics,” Subasic said. “We’ll be there for morning and we’ll go back to our hotel to get fed and rehydrated, and then we’ll head back out as a team again to another site for the afternoon.”

Subasic said the team expects to treat 150-200 patients per day. That is about 1,000 people for the week of service, which means a substantial amount of supplies is needed. MDF Instruments, a company from which the nursing department purchases some of its supplies, is donating stethoscopes for the upcoming service trip, but the team is still in need of more supplies.

“Island Impact and our medical team are hoping that each one of us traveling will carry a suitcase of 50 pounds worth of medical supplies that we will use and take to all our clinics,” Subasic said.

The medical team has been fundraising since November and students tried to solicit donations from their hometowns, churches, community groups and others. The team members are mostly in need of over-the-counter medications, but donations of any medical supplies or money would benefit them.

Cristen Walker, a faculty specialist in nursing also serving on the trip, said the team will take care of all age groups, but predominantly children and older adults. Although others will be spending their spring breaks at home, Walker said the team members have no problem filling theirs with hard work.

“As medical providers it’s what we do,” Walker said. “We are very giving, nurturing people. It’s hard not to give back.”

This medical service trip is one of the ways The University provides students with real-world experience and is an example of how alumni are putting their Jesuit educations to work. Juliano said the real life skills The University provides make it easy to give back.

“I think it follows the Jesuit ideals of ‘men and women for others,’” Juliano said. “It’s something that if you have a talent you should share it.”

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