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KNOXVILLE — For years students in the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have traveled far and wide to take their nursing skills to those in need. This spring, students from the college will help some of Peru’s poorest populations.

While the group will offer their assistance for free, their travel to and stay in Peru are not free. Eyeing costs per person of nearly $3,000, the nursing students and faculty are turning to the UT and Knoxville communities for help.

The College of Nursing will host a $5 pancake breakfast benefitting the international health care mission to Peru from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010, at Aubrey’s Restaurant off Papermill Drive. Tickets are available for pre-order now and at the door the day of the event.

“Experiential learning — in which students engage in meaningful activities that address human and community needs — is fundamental to our nursing program and the kind of nurses we aim to graduate,” said Karen Lasater, clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing. “These experiences provide students with the opportunity to develop cultural competence and a global perspective — lessons that you can’t learn in a classroom. To have this kind of experience will make our graduates all the more competitive in the profession.”

Thirteen students and two faculty members, including Lasater, will travel to Peru March 6 – 17, 2010. They will provide primary care to some of Lima’s poorest residents. Their trip also will involve community assessments and home visits where the students and instructors will educate people on nutrition and dietary needs, prenatal care, proper sanitation, safe food and water storage practices and sanitary living conditions. They also will conduct physical exams.

Similar trips have been made to Ghana, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama in years past. All trips, including the one to Peru, are coordinated through International Service Learning (ISL), an educational organization offering multidisciplinary humanitarian programs in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and Africa.

ISL offers programs in health and education and general service projects. For health programs, participants are expected to be able to perform health services in the field under sometimes difficult and always unpredictable and challenging circumstances. The College of Nursing began participating in ISL programs in 2005.

“A fund has been endowed by Mr. Joe Emert, ’78 alumnus of the College of Nursing, to assist with expenses for the international health trip. Our nursing students receive funds from the endowment, but we still need more funding,” Lasater said. “The pancake breakfast will be a nice, quick, affordable meal for all those students just getting back in town for the start of the spring semester, and for members of the community and surrounding area who wish to support the College of Nursing. We hope everyone comes out to support the nursing students and the mission.”

Aubrey’s will donate the food, time, facilities and kitchen cooks for the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Members of the college will be on hand to help. The meal includes pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice and coffee. All proceeds go to support the trip to Peru, and donations also will be accepted.

To pre-order tickets, e-mail Karen Lasater at


C O N T A C T :

Karen Lasater (865-974-7629,

Kristi Hintz (865-974-3993,