1000 x 90

Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University: Students Take on Medical Trip

A few years ago two students from Watauga High School went on their first medical mission trip with Global Medical Training.  They were young, inexperienced, nervous, and did not knowing what to expect.  They came home changed forever, with a new passion for medicine. Below is the commentary from participants of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University, as well as the story of the chapter’s inception. 

The club, Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University, was founded by Tristan and Arley Rodgriguez, two siblings who attend Appalachian State University.  They claimed  that a shared dream of opening a Global Medical Training chapter at Appalachian State University, quickly became reality. With the support of Dr. Will Johnson MD (founder of Global Medical Training) and the encouragement of Appalachian State University’s Dr. Scott Collier and Dr. Marco Meucci, Global Medical Training Chapter was approved by Appalachian State University in 2017.   During their first meeting over 25 students showed interest in the club.  With only a few months before summer, the students had to raise money to go on a trip over the summer.

Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University sent 5 students this past summer to the Dominican Republic to provide free healthcare to rural villages.  They partnered with Nova Southeastern University PA, McGill University Faculty of Medicine and University of Minnesota.  These students worked with doctors side by side a saw 200 – 300 patients daily. 

When asking Tristan Rodriguez, Co Founder of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University, about the trip he said, “Seeing the reaction on a mother’s face after you have cleaned and disinfected her child’s wound is indescribable. ”

“This trip opened my eyes to the needs around our world.  Through the pursuit of education, I will be able to impact communities with few resources.  I will be able to transform realities and change outcomes.  I will be able to save lives,” said  Arley Rodriguez, Founder and President of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University.


In one instance, a single mother of 5 children came to the clinic looking for help.  All five of her children had been uncontrollably itching their heads for 3 months.  When examining their head and seeing numerous pus-filled bumps we came to the conclusion that all 5 children had the same bacterial infection over their entire scalp.  After giving the young mother anti-biotics for her children, her face filled with gratitude and relief.  You could see the exhaustion in her eyes reflecting the unbearable 3 months she had gone thru dealing with this disease and with just a couple of pills we gave her a flicker of hope,” said Arley Rodriguez, Founder and President of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University.

“One family heard that a visiting group of students from the United States might be able to help their two little girls who needed treatment for an ongoing parasite disease. The joyful and thankful spirit these people had, even though they have so little is something I will remember forever,” said Kjersti Anderson, Vice President of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University.

“Together we were able to provide not only medical help to 856 people, but also simply go to love and be kind to people that are less fortunate than us.  We have chosen to give our strength to a cause that is bigger than ourselves ,”  said Madison Foster, Secretary of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University.

“When we live in the U.S., we don’t understand that at least a fifth of the world’s population doesn’t have access to healthcare.  Being able to give a single mother medicine will not only help her children; it will help calm her worries.” said Sabrina Hoffman, Treasurer of Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University.

Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University raised over $4,000.00 in their Annual Plant Sale this Spring.  The money went towards helping these five students with funding their summer trip.  The club also purchased and sent medication to places in need. They sent over 500 bottles of Ibuprofen, 200 bottles of aspirin, 350 packets of anti diarrhea medicine, 55 packets of antacid medicine, 450 tubes of antibacterial ointment, 150 tubes of athletes’ foot medicine, 175 bottles of children multivitamins, 500 bottle of multivitamins, 125 toothbrushes, and 70 bottles of fluoride.  

“Investing in the next generation is not only our privilege but our responsibility.  We are believing in great things for these group of students. I’m glad we can do our part,” said sponsor Matt Vincent of VPC Builders.

“If you have been blessed, you need to set an example by helping others,” said sponsor Perry Yates of New River Building Supply.

Global Medical Training would like to thank Mast General Store and Tractor Supply for allowing them to sell plants in front of their stores.  They would also like to thank Earth Fare and Be Natural Market for all the donated vitamins. What a blessing to live in a community that gives so generously. A special thank you goes to Appalachian State University; it is truly an honor to represent you.

Global Medical Training is International Humanitarian Organization that provides medical services to poor communities in Central American countries. Our main purpose is to offer healthcare students and professionals a truly international experience that will expand their understanding of medicine and life outside of the United States. This organization was created by North American Physician, Dr. Wil Johnson MD. He has been a lifelong humanist and has always applied his medical abilities to the implementation of this philosophy. GMT reflects this philosophy and was created on ideals to improve the conditions and well-being of a global humanity. It is grounded in the reality that palpable misery exists globally. Our objective is to provide students with a global educational experience of service to others who are less fortunate in this planetary human family. The trips are meant to be a heart and mind changing experience for all participants in this effort.  We provide free healthcare services to the needy in Central America and elsewhere.  We train students for our clinics and requiring crucial participation from them in the process of medical assessment and treatment. We give the students a firsthand experience on cultural, historical, social, economic and political life in these countries.  GMT welcomes groups ranging from 15 to 60 students for a period of 9 to 14 days. We adjust group sizes on trips to assure high quality of service (translation/close medical supervision by MDs, DDS and ancillary professionals) and a more personalized learning experience. After arriving, the program begins with training and the following day students will start their first clinics. We provide all the medication that patients are prescribed with the help of donated medications and supplies by the students and others. Clinics are usually carried out at schools, community buildings, and local churches or anywhere there is adequate safety, security, space and roof. Depending upon the length of the trip, we try to visit hospitals, orphanages and nursing homes. Our approach is hands on patient contact medical clinics for the students. This experience is 100% interactive: students, patients, doctors all actively involved in the evaluation, assessment and treatment of medical conditions. We hire a very adequate staff of doctors, dentists, and interpreters to accomplish this. There is always professional supervision and active interaction. They have the ultimate responsibility for the final diagnoses and treatments. Participants will not just sit and watch. They will work with doctors side by side. They will be encouraged to do clinic work according to their abilities, training and comfort zone. This will always be with medical guidance/teaching and supervision. We start out with small sub-groups of 2-4 students assessing a patient. As they gain experience, this is broken down to two and even one student per patient. The more advanced they are, the more quickly they move into a one on one full patient assessment mode. This is all with full doctor assistance and supervision, but letting them take the assessment and treatment process as far as they can with each patient. We move to new villages every 1-2 days.  Currently GMT has trips going to Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Panama.  They have student organizations in various universities like: UCLA, UNC, University of Florida, University of Virginia and many others.  

Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.

For more information about Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University: https://www.facebook.com/gmtatappstate/

For donations to Global Medical Training at Appalachian State University: https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/global-medical-training-at-appstate