Shelly & Kat: Dominican Republic Bound

Hello Friends!! We are both Family Nurse Practitioner students at Columbia University who have been given the opportunity to volunteer in the Dominican Republic during the month of August with the support of Columbia University's School of Public Health.

The Dominican Republic has the third highest rate of HIV in Latin America, following Haiti with whom it shares its island, and Brazil, which hosts hundreds of treatment centers. In the Dominican Republic, HIV/AIDS is still enormously stigmatized, to the point were treatment centers are virtually non-existant and mothers who know they are positive will still vertically transmit their illness to their infants while breastfeeding other than provide them with formula so as not to be singled out or stigmatized themselves.

The work that we stand to do there is of such great importance, and has such a significant opportunity to impact this demographic-- just two years ago a volunteer also working with ADOPLAFAM (the NGO we will be working with) submitted the results of her field study to a major pharmaceutical company- which proceeded to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to the Dominican Republic to assist in the challenge to meet the medical needs of their marginalized positive population.

We believe that the cross fertilization amongst disciplines of Medicine and Public Health can give rise to and inform stronger approaches to complex problems. We believe in the need to think creatively, to think globally, to act positively-- and in our capacities as individuals to effect change through compassion, education, awareness, and good science. What is learned in our research can employed in practice-- and in practice, the important questions to ask in research will be elucidated. We look forward to participating in collecting and interpreting such information through clinical research for the Non-Government Organization ADOPLAFAM, that the information gathered may yield results that promote health in the Dominican Republic.

***Please help make our goal a reality and pledge an amount of your choice via Paypal through the link below. If you don't have a Paypal account, you can make a donation by credit card or check through the following link:

***Your name, unless you request otherwise, will be added to our list of contributers. You are welcome to revisit this site and check out our statistics to see how we are doing any time!

***Granted the opportunity to go, we will create a site that journals our work so that you can see the fruits of your contribution.

!! Thank you friends !!

Contingency Plan: While we are making every effort to raise the funds necessary to go, we've considered the possibility that our goal may not be met. In this case, we have decided to commit the funds that have been raised through your efforts to Operation Smile.