Utah Center for Rural Health

Cultural Immersion Trips

Students in the Rural Health Scholars program are invited to take part in a cultural immersion trip, which are offered several times per year.  These trips to international and domestic locations provided needed healthcare services for underserved populations.  Current trip offerings include locations of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Las Vegas, and the Four Corners region.  The Rural Health Scholars program works with various non-profit organizations in each location to provide student opportunities to conduct health screenings, shadow healthcare providers, and provide volunteer services.

See a listing of current 2016-2017 cultural immersion trips.

DR2016

Scholarships & Funding

Scholarships to fund trips for Rural Health Scholars students are available through the generosity of Dr. William Petty, Grifols Plasma Donation Center, and the Stephen W. & Bette Gibson Public Health program.  Students receive information regarding these competitive scholarships throughout the year.  Questions can be directed to rhs@suu.edu.

Trips range in cost from $200 to $1,800, which covers programming, travel, lodging, and most food.  Additional costs may include food for travel, immunizations, and passports.  Most students are able to successfully raise funds from business donations, private donations, gofundme.com, and personal fundraising.  For full cost details, see the current listing of 2016-2017 cultural immersion trips.

Student Testimonial on Fundraising:

"I wanted to attend the Four Corners and Dominican Republic trips to learn as much as I could about pharmacy, gain healthcare knowledge, and experience the world around me. I new during these trips I would see the challenges faced by rural communities.  I fundraised for both of these trips, since I did not have the money to pay for them myself.  First, I asked businesses for donations, explaining to them what the trip was about.  Second, my mother and I did a bake sale (which we put on Facebook and explained what the money would go towards).  People even placed orders that day!  Through these methods, I paid for both of my trips in full.  It was a lot of hard work, but it paid off!

On these trips, I gained valuable experience and knowledge that I will use during my career to be an exceptional pharmacist.  I also learned life lessons and gained gratitude for what we have in the United States.  I am very grateful for these trips because they gave me an edge in applying to pharmacy school.  In addition, I made great friendships with those I served and served with.  If I could go again, I would do it in a heartbeat.  It is an amazing experience I will never forget."

-Robbie Gurr, Four Corners and Dominican Republic participant, Southern Utah University

Registration & Requirements

Spots on each trip are limited.  Students can pay their deposit (or full amount) to save their space online.  For the international trips, students are required to register for a cultural immersion seminar course and attend all pre-trip meetings.  All trip participants must attend pre-trip meetings, which cover details on safety, travel, logistics, culture, and language.

Past Student Experiences

"This service trip enhanced my commitment and motivation for health care.  Everyone should, at least once, go on a cultural immersion trip to see the need for health care in other places than your home town.  Look for a trip that will put you out of your comfort zone."

-Adriana Christensen, Las Vegas participant 2016, Dixie State University

"All we did was laugh.  No matter what, there was always laughter.  Dominicans know how to be funny.  We played, we ate, we cracked each other up.  We had to catch up on our sleep when we got home.  Health care isn't just about fixing what's wrong.  Its about caring for one another too."

-Chance Cooper, Dominican Republic participant 2015, Southern Utah University