Nine students from the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Nursing traveled 5,000 miles to the Greek Island of Lesvos to volunteer in a Greek refugee camp before returning to campus for the first week of classes. The nursing students were also joined by UB faculty and dental students to provide free screening and dental and health care to hundreds of refugees displaced by the civil war in Syria and ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The weeklong humanitarian mission was a partnership between the UB schools of Dental Medicine and Nursing, the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and DocMobile. Their humanitarian efforts were focused in the Moria camp, a temporary home for thousands of refugees which is known for its poor living conditions.

UB’s mission was the first to provide dental care and advanced practice nurses to the residents of the refugee camp and students found the experience transformational. The students were exposed to working in a stressful environment with limited resources, giving them a newfound appreciation for treating patients with cultural humility.

Dental student Sara Perrone tells, “Regardless of your opinion on the matter of refugees, everyone is human and deserves to have the same opportunities for medical and dental care…I’m happy that I was able to do something about the crisis other than read about it in the news.” Another student from the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNO) program, Ilyana Rahman, added, “This experience provides students with the ability to respond to a global crisis and not sit idle while waiting for the crisis to resolve itself.”

To learn more about the UB School of Nursing and their humanitarian mission trip to provide health care aid in a Greek refugee camp, visit here.

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