Each year the Global Medical Brigades at the University of Victoria takes a team of doctors, dentists and student volunteers to Central America to provide health care in poor rural communities. 
Miles Takacs introduced Francesca Bell Peters, the President of the UVic chapter of the Global Medical Brigades. She was accompanied by three other members of the group's executive. 
Medical Brigades at University of Victoria is a chapter of Global Brigades, the world's largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. The UVic chapter works with more than 300 other university groups around the world to deliver and implement one of nine skill-based programs that benefit more than 130,000 Honduran and Panamanian community members annually. Global Medical Brigades develops sustainable health initiatives and provides relief where there is limited access to healthcare. Each community receives a brigade every 3 to 4 months where hundreds of patients are treated and volunteers deliver public health workshops. Electronic patient records are collected for future visitations and to monitor overall community health trends.
Global Medical/Dental Brigades began in 2003, started by two doctors from Marquette University. in 2004 it expanded to include other universities. The UVic Brigade has been active for 7 years. Last year 35 volunteers (4 doctors and 2 dentists) went to Honduras and saw 918 patients for medical reasons and 86 for dental; in 2014 a team of 35 went to Panama and saw 314 patients for medical reasons and 78 for dental. The Brigades are active in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and, to a limited degree, in Ghana. 
Each year the university recruits a team of doctors, dentists, other health professionals and university students to go for a week or 10 days to volunteer their services. The university group is responsible for recruiting volunteers and providing training. Student volunteers learn to triage patients and learn basic first aid. They all pay their own way and most have some language training. The university group also raises funds that will be used to buy medications to take on the trip. 
In the host country, a permanent organization is in place to select community health centers where the visiting team will work, and to prepare the site and supports required for the clinics. The placement balances the interests (and size) of the incoming team with the needs of the communities. 
Once the team is in place, clients come and are assessed and then visit the doctors and dentists. Student volunteers help with patient intake, triage, and health and dental education. 
Sustainability is an important part of the program. Community health workers are trained in a six month program on basic medical care, and can serve as an ongoing link between the patient and return visits from the teams. Patients can be referred to other hospitals in the area for more serious issues or followup. A computer record system is in place in which each patient is recorded, and these records can be used in followup visits by other teams.
Bill Feyrer thanked the speaker.