Written by Catherine Lewis Saenz, Communications Coordinator
Basic Hygiene Products Donation
In preparation for the Global Medicine Track’s annual trip to Guatemala, Jeremy Stone, OMS IV, and his wife, Breaunna, organized a donation drive on Instagram, collecting 50 adult-sized toothbrushes; 50 travel-sized toothpastes; 116 lip balms; 44 children-sized toothbrush/toothpaste kits; 41 travel-sized lotions, 51 deodorants; and 72 bars of soap.
SD Stone and Breaunna have a long history of service in Guatemalan communities. “Jeremy lived in Guatemala for two years, serving as a missionary for our church,” shared Breaunna. “We went back together as a couple and [were] determined to…contribute to the community in any way we could.” Being able to return as part of the Global Medicine Track and serve Guatemalan communities was a dream come true for the Stones, whose first adopted daughter is of Guatemalan descent. “When I shared on Instagram that [Jeremy] would be returning, we had a flood of people wanting to be involved and [to] help gather supplies. We…[filled] a suitcase, and [though] it’s not much, we were just happy to be a part [of it.]”
Reading Glasses Donation
Like several students in the Global Medicine Track, Telyn Peterson, OMS IV, saw an opportunity to donate much-needed items— in this case, reading glasses—to communities in Guatemala during the Track’s annual outreach trip. Serving as the liaison for the Hands for Health Foundation (RVU’s global outreach partner), SD Peterson and classmate Zeke Richards, OMS II, partnered with Moran Eye Center and Tanner Clinic’s Ophthalmology Department (located in Salt Lake City and Layton, Utah, respectively) to secure 284 pairs of reading glasses. According to Hands for Health President and RVU’s Chair of the Department of Tracks and Special Programs, Camille Z. Bentley, DO, MPH, FACOFP, the reading glasses will aid the “elderly, artisans, and others with varying levels of hyperopia and presbyopia.”
“I’ve always been passionate about the global health opportunities associated with ophthalmology,” said SD Peterson about the experience.
“[Hands for Health and RVU] gave us the opportunity to walk the line between medicine and public health…[and] we were able to see how providing glasses to those with far-sightedness could improve their quality of life.”
More than half of the reading glasses that were donated were collected during donation drives held at RVU-SU and were donated based on their prescription strength (which was as high as +3.25) or given “to Guatemalan optometry offices to be recycled into new prescriptions.” The demand for reading glasses from the local community was so high that Hands for Health is seeking to expand its efforts and increase its donation for next year.