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UT Nursing students will spend their spring break volunteering in San Ignacio, Belize, during the College of Nursing‘s annual international health care trip.

The college has been going on yearly medical missions since 2001 and has worked in partnership with International Service Learning health programs for the past five years to provide nursing students with a unique out-of-classroom experience.

Lynn Blackburn and Karen Lasater, both clinical assistant professors in the college, will travel with eleven students to San Ignacio. The town is located in a remote and underserved area of Belize where homes often lack basic provisions such as electricity and water.

“Our students will work with local physicians, nurses, and traditional healers to bring much-needed health education, medicine, and health care services to several underserved communities,” said Blackburn. “By engaging in these activities that address human and community needs, our students are able to develop a cultural competency and a global perspective not possible in the classroom setting.”

The trip fits perfectly into UT’s Experience Learning initiative, which emphasizes real-world hands-on learning experiences for students.

According to the World Health Organization, public health care in Belize is available to the population at no direct cost to the individual but most rural health clinics suffer from inadequate staffing, lack of financial resources to handle patient volume, and a lack of equipment and medicine.

The nursing students will return March 19. The group will share their experience the following week during a presentation to their community health class.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,