Guatemala Medical Mission Trip – Day 0

Guatemala Medical Mission Trip – Day 0

Hello friends and family,

Today is the day our Certified Medical Educators Physician Assistant team is traveling to Guatemala to volunteer our medical services for our week long medical mission trip. Here is the: who, what, where, when and why answered in reverse order.

Why a medical mission trip? Many of us in the medical profession have a desire to go above to provide help to those in need. We are very blessed in the United States to have just great healthcare right at our finger tips where other counties do not even have Tylenol available.

When is trip occurring? Our week long medical mission trip is occurring December 9th-16th. We are planning on making this a yearly trip.

Where are you going? We are going to Guatemala for our medical mission trip. We will be flying into Guatemala City and then traveling ~2 hours to the city of Jalapa where we will meet our American host family. Each day we will travel from there to a different rural area (some in the mountains) to provide care.

What are you bringing? Basically EVERYTHING. With each of us bringing ~3 pieces of luggage (each weighting ~50 lbs), we will have over 1,000 lbs of supplies. This includes: medications (both prescription and over the counter), diagnostic equipment, vitamins, and much more!

Who is part of the team? Our team consists of 10 wonderfully caring individuals:

Whitney Strong – I am a 27 year old Physician Assistant Student from Seton Hill Univ. and Registered Dietitian who has a passion for medicine, nutrition, and Latin America. I spent one year in Jalapa, Guatemala serving the poor in 2009-10 and hope to continue serving in such an impoverished country. Whitney also enjoys salsa dancing, traveling and cooking.

Michael Nowak – Hello! I am 29 years old – at least that’s the age I maintain each year on Facebook :) I have experience in Cardiothoracic Surgery and currently work as a hospitalist Physician Assistant at the Mayo Clinic as well as a Primary Care PA at the Neighborhood Family Clinic. I LOVE education and helping those in need. I also seem to be the token Y chromosome on this trip!

Jana Ware – Hi, my name is Jana Ware, I am 22 years young, and a proud PA-S at Seton Hill University. I am from Connellsville, PA, an only child, and have been raised by two of the most amazing parents a girl could ask for.

Angie Steffen – I am a native of Tampa, Florida and graduate of the University of Florida where I received a BS in Psychology. I enjoy serving my community, cooking, red wine, and my fur-child Timmy. I hope to continue medical mission work throughout my life and career.

Kaylin Petrosky – I’m from Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Biological Science. Currently a student at Seton Hill University in the Physician Assistant Program.

Theresa Borrelli – My name is Theresa Borrelli, I am 21 years old and a PA student from Seton Hill University. I am really excited for this trip because I get to cross off “Medical Mission Trip” off my extensive bucket list!

Olivia Piacentini – I am from Rochester, NY and received a degree in health science and
chemistry from the University of Hartford where I played 4 years of softball. My interests are my family, athletics, history and my dog, a boxer. I intend this to be my first of many medical mission trips.

Mary Comer – I am currently a PA student at Seton Hill as well as involved in Pennsylvania Army National Guard. I am interested in health maintenance and preventive medicine, and have participated in disaster relief with the Red Cross. I have a background working in the mental health field.

Kristin Juhasz – is an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant in Pennsylvania.  She enjoys traveling, music, yoga, and time spent with family and friends.

Wendy Rand – is originally form Wayne, PA and is currently a PA student at Seton Hill University.  She graduated from Loyola College in Maryland with a degree in Biology and minor in Spanish.  Before starting PA school, she worked as a Health Educator for a non-profit SE PA AHEC and spent time volunteering in South Africa.

Donna Balewick – is an Emergency Room Physician who lives and works near Pittsburgh, PA.  Dr. Balewick is originally from Buffalo, NY (just like Mike Nowak :) ) She also teaches part time and loves traveling in her spare time.

Here are some pictures of the team, medication sorting, and “Mish” the kitty where we are staying

And here is “Mish”

We are off to our first village (Aldea in Spanish) called La Pastoria.  We will be seeing about 300 patients today :)



Certified Medical Educators Guatemala Medical Mission Team


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