Clarkson University’s Students Without Borders (SWOB) organization is hailing its seventh annual Haunted Infirmary as a major success.
With support from Clarkson Provost Robyn Hannigan, Lewis School of Health Sciences Dean Lennart Johns, and the Physician Assistant Studies department’s faculty and staff, SWOB raised $18,000 to fund its planned medical service trip to Nicaragua in March 2022.
“The event transformed what had hours earlier been medical education space in downtown Clarkson Hall's Lewis School of Health Sciences into a heart-pounding, adrenaline-fueled, hair-raising encounter with the stuff of nightmares — Jack and Wendy Torrance; the Grady Twins; Carrie; Pennywise the Clown, and more,” said Katharine Matthis, MPAS, PA-C, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Clarkson’s Physician Assistant Studies program and advisor of SWOB. “Through sheer determination and will, despite four exams in the preceding week, the didactic (S1) students intimidated, agitated, and alarmed roughly 1200 haunted house patrons, and had fun at the same time!”
On past trips, SWOB has partnered with a non-government organization called Los Rayos de Esperanza in Diriomo, Nicaragua to provide care to surrounding medically underserved communities, called “pueblos blancos.”
Clarkson plans to send 40 people on the trip in 2022. SWOB members fundraise all year to cover preceptors' costs, formulary and medical supplies, and to help defer their own trip cost. SWOB purchases most supplies in-country to boost the local economy further, streamline travel, and improve efficiency at customs/border crossings.
“SWOB's ultimate goal is to create sustainable, active, multifaceted-and-multi-layered relationships between Clarkson University and Los Rayos/los pueblos blancos,” Matthis said. “Most people in these communities have not received medical care since our last trip in March 2019 so we are anxious to return!”