VCU’s School of Medicine offers medical students unique experiential learning opportunities through programs like the Honduras Outreach Medical Brigada Relief Effort (HOMBRE). Each year a small group of first-year medical students are selected to work alongside VCU faculty providing medical services and healthcare education to underserved, rural populations in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. HOMBRE team members work in healthcare clinics or on public health projects geared to improve villagers’ quality of life.
Michael Stevens, M.D., M.P.H. - Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease
Steven Crossman, M.D. - Family Medicine and Population Health
Mark Ryan, M.D. - Family Medicine and Population Health
Here is what former HOMBRE participants had to say about their experiences:
– Vibin Roy, HOMBRE 2008
Vibin Roy, Class of 2010
“HOMBRE was one of those amazing experiences one always dreams of having! Not only did we take care of their symptomatic illnesses, we also provided patient education and engineered public health projects such as clean water sanitation and proper smoke ventilation. The people of Honduras were incredibly grateful for our work, however I think we were more grateful for the opportunity to learn from them. HOMBRE affirmed my decision to go into medicine to help those less fortunate and I will always treasure this experience.”
– Vibin Roy, Class of 2010
– Ravinder Brar, HOMBRE 2008
Ravinder Brar, Class of 2010
“…the most satisfying part of the experience was unexpected—the feeling of competence. The HOMBRE trip actually is what made me realize how much I had learned in my first year that I could apply in the field. I learned even more clinical skills from rotating with a different resident each day. After HOMBRE, I definitely was not worried about standardized patients or working with patients at my preceptors office my second year.”
– Ravinder Brar, Class of 2010
The mission of HOMBRE is to improve the health of underserved communities in Honduras and other developing countries while enhancing the education of health professions students. Members of the Honduran communities we visit give us their trust, and in return receive quality care that is respectful of their personal values, beliefs and way of life. With close faculty supervision, our students contribute their knowledge, skills, and compassion to those in need, and in return gain confidence and personal insight.
The Board and members of HOMBRE believe that:
- real improvements in the health of the underserved can be achieved through collaboration in sustainable partnerships with local communities and other like-minded organizations.
- service to others is an integral part of what it means to be a health care professional. Members of HOMBRE gain invaluable experience through actively and intimately serving others.
- when visiting global communities, humility and respect are of utmost importance. We realize that during our trips we are the guests and we understand the importance of a culturally sensitive approach.
- students learn best by doing. At all levels of the organization, students take on key leadership roles and, with appropriate mentoring, are responsible for the success of each project.
- it is our duty to ensure fiscal responsibility of the organization. We must provide a proper and transparent accounting for the use of funds, such that our donors, members, collaborators, and those we serve are able to trust us.