Beyond Borders Series: Medical Mission in Mexico

December 2, 2015

(Dec. 2, 2015) – Professor of Health Administration Dr. Kevin LaFrance spent the beginning of the fall semester taking his vocation south of the border to help further the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) Mission of social justice. As part of The Los Quijotes de San Antonio Medical Missionaries, LaFrance visited Oaxaca, Mexico to provide healthcare services to the impoverished community.

This year’s Los Quijotes Missionaries consisted of an amalgam of UIW student volunteers, professors and medical practitioners from the San Antonio community. The missionaries delivered care to 2,800 patients and performed over 6,000 medical procedures during the visit. The teams of physicians, dentists, pharmacists and nurses processed more than 1,000 prescriptions, handed out over 1,000 pairs of glasses and produced 64 sets of dentures, an estimated $300,000 of medical, dental, surgical and ophthalmologic care.

The Los Quijotes mission began more than 20 years ago in Mexico City through the partnership of San Antonio physicians and the Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The 2015 contingent made up the largest from the university in the history of the mission. For the first time, the Sisters and medical leadership asked that a healthcare administrator be part of the team membership. “As the healthcare administrator, I was asked to assess the process in order to provide feedback to the Sisters on how this type of mission operates,” said LaFrance.

With more than 25 years of health management experience in a wide variety of healthcare settings including Chief Financial Officer of a ten hospital healthcare system, LaFrance was tasked with data collection and process improvement strategy. “While on the ground, I spent my time capturing patient level information that is used for planning purposes as well as understanding the specific health needs of the population of Oaxaca,” said LaFrance.

The mission trip gives students a real-world scenario to practice interprofessional care. Students from the Rosenberg School of Optometry, Feik School of Pharmacy and the Miller School of Nursing worked closely with personnel from CHRISTUS Santa Rosa hospital to diagnose, prescribe and deliver medical attention. This opportunity for disciplinary cross-pollination allows students to discover the importance of engaging patients from different perspectives. This blended approach is also beneficial to healthcare administrators.

The Master of Health Administration (MHA) Program in the H-E-B School of Business & Administration provides students with a health systems perspective built upon an understanding of health and disease as well as the economic and social factors that influence the industry. “The Los Quijotes mission trip is great chance for our students in the MHA program to see the interactions of medical personnel and patients from diagnosis to treatment,” said LaFrance. “For future visits, I hope to invite our students to experience and witness the Mission of UIW in motion.”

This article is part of the Beyond Border Series, focusing on the international efforts and accomplishments of H-E-B School of Business & Administration students and faculty.

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