WCU physical therapy group serves in Honduras

From left, WCU professor Todd Watson and students Joshua Jones and Joey Marion assess a patient at a clinic in Honduras.

From left, WCU professor Todd Watson and students Joshua Jones and Joey Marion assess a patient at a clinic in Honduras.

Six students and two faculty members from WCU’s doctor of physical therapy program spent part of their winter break serving at a free physical therapy clinic in a rural mountain community in Honduras where residents have little or no access to health care.

The group traveled to the community of Taulabe in partnership with the Hendersonville-based nonprofit Honduras Fountain of Life, which serves the community in multiple capacities including supporting a school and girls orphanage.

Todd Watson, a professor of physical therapy who coordinated a similar experience for WCU students last year, said he and Ashley Hyatt, assistant professor of physical therapy, with WCU students Rebecca Bermudez, Heather Devine, Mary Goforth, Joshua Jones, Joey Marion and April Nonato helped run a medical brigade physical therapy clinic and spent time in service at the orphanage.

Joining them for part of their experience was a team of eight East Carolina University students. The ECU group became involved after Victoria Chapman, a Smoky Mountain High School alumna, learned about the community and opportunities for service through a connection with Dr. Matthew Mahar of Sylva, who volunteered with the WCU group last year.

“The ECU team’s aim was to provide education on nutrition and diet for the community,” said Watson. “During our clinic days, several members of the ECU team also spent a few hours observing physical therapy care of people with conditions like neck and back pain, or weakness following a stroke. Moving forward we hope to be able to coordinate a larger scale health fair in the community next Christmas break with the WCU-ECU collaboration.”