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In response to safety concerns

| Jan Adams

The international immersion experience to El Salvador this spring has been cancelled due to concerns related to the safety and health of the students and faculty. Gang violence, which is not new to El Salvador has escalated after a breakdown in the government supported truce between Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Pandilla 18 (MS-18). In response, the United States has also pulled out all American Peace Corps workers from El Salvador.

In addition, the threat of mosquito borne illnesses has increased. Chikungunya, a virus transmitted by the insect causes symptoms of fever and joint pain and has been a concern during the last two trips. The new virus, Zika, continues to spread throughout the Americas. This virus transmitted by the same mosquito can cause birth defects in pregnant women and has a potential correlation with Guillian-Barre.

Clinical Assistant Professor, Jill Hecker Fernandes DNP, MSN, RN, stated that, “We have created so many relationships and friends and partners in healthcare. But safety is the primary focus. This decision was not taken lightly. Our commitment to the health care workers, the palliative care hospital, the Casa Concordia Family, The clients of Casa Esperanza, the students and faculty of the university, patients and nurses at Benjamin Bloom and Rosales Hospital, The Family clinic at El Rosario does not end here. We will continue to monitor this situation for the possibility of a safe immersion in El Salvador in the future.”

The photo above was taken in the Fall of 2015 at Hospital Rosales, a public hospital in El Salvador. Kaitlyn Troge, Karen Nakano were assisting in wound care and dressing changes. Haley Housh (background) and other nursing students were providing hand and foot massages to patients.