2013 Guatemala Mission Trip – Day 0

2013 Guatemala Mission Trip – Day 0

Hello Certified Medical Educators friends and family,

Today is the day our 2013 Certified Medical Educators Physician Assistant team is traveling to Guatemala to volunteer our medical services for our week long medical mission trip. Here is the: who, what, where, when and why answered in reverse order.

Why a medical mission trip? Many of us in the medical profession have a desire to go above to provide help to those in need. We are very blessed in the United States to have just great healthcare right at our finger tips where other counties do not even have Tylenol available.

When is the trip occurring? Our week long medical mission trip is occurring November 3rd-10th, 2013. We are planning on making this a yearly trip. Next year our trip will be the week of Nov 2nd, 2014.

Where are you going? We are going to Guatemala for our medical mission trip. We will be flying into Guatemala City and then traveling ~2 hours east to the city of Jalapa where we will meet our American host family. Each day we will travel from there to a different rural area (some in the mountains) to provide care.

What are you bringing? Basically EVERYTHING. With each of us bringing ~3 pieces of luggage or 1,000 lbs of supplies including: medications (both prescription and over the counter), diagnostic equipment, vitamins, and much more! This year we purchased a microscope for gram stains, CBC/differentials, wet preps, urinalysis, parasitology and other microscopic analysis.

Who is part of the team? Our team consists of 10 wonderfully caring individuals:


Michael Nowak - I am the Program Director for Certified Medical Educators and work clinically as a Hospitalist Physician Assistant at the Mayo Clinic and Primary Care PA once weekly, at a basically, free clinic in my town.  Education is my passion and I am currently in a PhD program.  I also seem to be the token Y chromosome on this trip once again :)

Anna Kawa -I was born in Poland and have been practicing as a Physician Assistant for the past 11 years in internal medicine, allergy, asthma, immunology as well as urgent care – I love it! I’ve always been drawn to serve the underserved and destitute people. For the past several years I’ve been involved with the Missionaries of the Poor organizing food containders and medical help for their missions throughout the world.  My other interests are reading, dancing, singing and…….eating!

Ashton Burns - I am a PA student at Gannon University in Erie, PA. I am very excited and looking forward to be out practicing following my clinical year. This will be my first medical mission trip.  With my free time I like to work out, be outdoors, watch movies, and to cook.

Alyssa Szenasi - I am from East Stroudsburg, PA. I received my Bachelors degree of Science, Masters of Physician Assistant Studies and minor in Healthcare admin from Kings college, Wilkes-Barre Pa. I then returned home and got a job in cardiology with 2 local cardiologists. I love serving the elderly community, they always have great stories. I intend this to be one of many mission trips.

Cindy McDonald - I have been a practicing PA for the past 12 years.. I absolutely love my profession and couldn’t imagine doing anything else! I currently work in pediatrics and have worked urgent care and OBGYN in the past.  I love mentoring students and lecturing annually to the to the Mercer PA program.I am extremely passionate about learning new things and helping those in need. I have always had a desire to do a medical missions trip and I’m extremely thankful and humbled by this opportunity to participate in providing healthcare to the people of Guatemala. In my spare time, I love working out, traveling, going to Starbucks, and most importantly, spending as much time as possible with my 2 beautiful boys, Landon,4 and Brayden, 2.

Patrice Cote - graduated from King’s College Physician Assistant Program in 2007. She resides in New Jersey and works in fertility medicine.  In her free time, Patrice coaches high school athletes and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Becki Johnston - I am a Family Practice PA in Lawrence, Kansas and graduate of Marquette University.  I have been practicing for over 6 years and am most clinically interested in GI/liver disorders and preventive health.  I have always been passionate about the needy and underserved medical populations, and although this is my first medical mission trip, I hope it will not be my last.  My family is most important to me- I am a mother to a spunky two year old, wife to a stay-at-home dad/author, and twin to another PA who practices in Wisconsin.

Cheryl Ann Lugiano - is a Cardiothoracic Surgical Physician Assistant from Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. This is her first medical mission trip however she hopes to participate in more trips. She is looking forward to this experience and the impact it will make in her life.

Alison Mueller - I was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia and moved to Baltimore, Maryland where I am a primary care Physician Assistant.  I have been a PA for 5 years and I love it! I am passionate about nutrition, preventative medicine, and helping those in need. This is my first medical mission trip and I couldn’t be more excited! In my free time I love cooking and trying new recipes, working out, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends!

Diann Borthwick - I have been a physician assistant practicing in emergency medicine for the past 14 years and prior to that was a paramedic for 10 years. I have always enjoyed giving back to the local community. My husband, Bruce and I have four children, and any spare time is basically spent with their extracurricular activities and our lovely collie, Finley. I hope this trip will help my children to know that there is nothing more important than reaching down and lifting up.


Leave a reply

Name (required)


CommentLuv badge