Friday, October 22, 2010 - Medical Professionals from Broward Health Chris Evert Children’s Hospital Serve Children and Families in the Dominican Republic on Summer Mission Trip

The team of 15 treated more than 400 children, painted houses, and taught vacation Bible school.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - A team of 15 volunteers, including medical professionals from Broward Health Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, traveled to Bonao, Dominican Republic from June 12 to June 19 on an annual service mission that changed the lives of more than 400 children and their families.

The medical team was lead by Broward Health pediatric hospitalist Patricia Rowe-King, M.D., who was joined by pediatric clinical specialist Bibi Achaibar, ARNP, Alicia Campbell, RN, and four others who assisted with translation, pharmacy needs and coordination. Eight others on the mission team painted houses and lead vacation Bible school.

“When you look into the face of a child you can’t help but experience your past, present and future,” said Dr. Rowe-King. “This experience did just that for us. It was rewarding, uplifting and simply unforgettable.”

The medical team set up temporary, mobile pediatric clinics in neighborhoods, homes, schools and community centers where children from miles away lined up to gain access to care. In all, 400 children were treated for illnesses ranging from asthma to malnutrition. Families were sent away with basic medical supplies, formula and diapers for babies, vitamins and other personal hygiene items, and children received treasured treat bags.

Families were further equipped with knowledge on preventative medicine, nutrition basics, rehydration techniques and how to care for common pediatric illnesses. As well, the teaching group emphasized education on breastfeeding and sterilization of water sources.

Achaibar shared one moving experience in which the team saw an infant with a cleft palate in desperate need of repair. “The mother did not have the finances to pay for the much-needed surgery,” Achaibar said. “That is where we stepped in.”

The team was able to provide the mother with hard-to-find, specialized feeding tools and formula to care for the baby and organize another mission, that included a plastic surgeon, to come and repair the baby’s cleft palate.

“Despite the heat, the cramped working environment and the crowds, our team realized that we gained far more than we gave,” Dr. Rowe-King  said. “Our volunteer efforts were rewarded with the smiles of grateful mothers and inspiring eyes of hundreds of adorable children. We returned home with the knowledge that a piece of each of our souls was left in the Dominican Republic.”

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world-class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information visit