My name is Lorraine Cyr, I am a KU student in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. I recently embarked on a journey that I thought would be beneficial to share with my fellow KU students.

CURE International is a nonprofit organization that operates charitable hospitals and programs in 30 countries worldwide. I was fortunate enough to partake in a mission trip to a CURE Pediatric Orthopedic Hospital in Santo Domingo, where I was able to bridge real world treatment with academic practicum. I was humbled by the sacrifice of the medical team as they donated their time, skills, and service to children in need.  Up to this point in my life, I only read about the need for medical attention in 3rd world countries; this mission trip brought those stories to real life. KU provided me with an opportunity that I will continue to learn from long after my training days are behind me. I was assigned to work with Connie Kurash OTR/L, an Occupational Therapist who specializes in hand therapy.  With Connie’s guidance, I worked with children that had physical limitations such as Arthrogryposis, Amniotic Band Syndrome, and much more.

My day-to-day duties consisted of translating for the surgeon and occupational therapist, communicating with the parents, assisting in making hand splints, and observing surgeries.  We made a variety of hand splints that provided a higher quality of life for children. Seeing a child have the ability to use their hand to pick up a toy was priceless. Having only served one week in the Dominican Republic, I could see an immediate need for occupational therapy.

I am honored by this experience and have KU and CURE International to thank for allowing me to play a part in the mission. My professional development will be greatly impacted from this trip.  I would definitely go back and invite anyone serving this profession either as an assistant, therapist, or like me, a student, to partake in this life changing experience.

STUDENTS: Please email your submissions/questions/comments to the ELSE Student Editor, Kayla Bianchi at: [email protected]