UK HealthCare

UK Students Work Shoulder to Shoulder in Ecuador

Dr. Thomas Young and Dr. Nirmala S. Desai with students and patients
Dr. Thomas Young and Dr. Nirmala S. Desai with students and patients


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2017) – During spring break 47 University of Kentucky students, faculty and community members will be spending their spring break in Santo Domingo, Ecuador on an interdisciplinary health brigade experience with Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG).

The Centro de Salud Hombro a Hombro clinic (CSHH), the primary worksite for UK’s STSG volunteers, provides medical care, prevention services, oral health and school-based services to the community. The CSHH clinic opened its doors 10 years ago, as an initiative led Dr. Thomas Young, professor of pediatrics in the UK College of Medicine.

Young said, “It is so exciting to celebrate 10 years of delivering comprehensive health services in this community in Ecuador. STSG and our Ecuadorian partners have provided tens of thousands of patients with services and service learning opportunities for UK students, staff and faculty. We plan to continue to dream big.”

The brigade, is a culmination of months of preparation that included the  Interprofessional Teamwork in Global Health course. As part of this course students learned about Ecuador, how to work in an interprofessional environment and how to apply basic principles of cultural anthropology, sociology, diversity and health care to the experience.

This year’s brigade will include students from the a variety of colleges including Arts and Sciences, Education, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Dentistry.

Dr. Enrique Bimstein, associate dean for Interprofessional Education and Global Outreach at UKCD, believes the brigades increase students’ enthusiasm for dental work, facilitate learning patient behavior, management techniques and solidify classroom knowledge.

Whitney White, third-year dentistry student said that she hopes to gain an appreciation for Ecuadorian culture and hopes to gain valuable skills, which will allow her to make faster and better diagnoses.

“I’m expecting to do a lot of extractions, oral hygiene instruction and diet counseling,” White said. “This experience will also be unique and rewarding because I will work outside of my comfort zone. I know I will return with a new appreciation for how I perform dentistry at home.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia Ramirez,, (859) 257-1076