Summer Medical Institute Papua

Seeking to expose healthcare students to the joys and challenges of working with the underserved.

What Is SMI Indonesia?

The Summer Medical Institute Papua seeks to expose medical & other healthcare students & recent grads to the joys and challenges of working with the underserved through medical service in Christ’s name. We are an outreach of New Heights Clinic, a church-based medical clinic for people with no health insurance in Vancouver, WA, USA.

We take teams most summers to serve in Papua, Indonesia.

Our next trip is tentatively scheduled for late July to early August 2014. We will be taking a medical team of 10 to do village health clinics inland in remote tribal areas of the highlands. We partner with an Indonesian physician and work alongside the tribal church. First we travel by MAF plane to a remote airstrip in the highlands, where we put on a health clinic for the local tribe. Then we travel by helicopter to a more remote village that has no airstrip to put on a medical clinic there. If you would like to be considered for our summer 2014 team, please email Lori Warmack to request an application. You can also ask her about our sister dental team trips.

If you are interested in our domestic SMI NW physician mentoring program for med students at New Heights Clinic, please contact us at SMINW.

What You Can Expect

An overview of what happens on a trip to Papua, and how we serve the people there.

Our trips are geared to medical and nursing students. The students learn medical Indonesian before the trip. On the trip, they are trained to be first line in caring for patients.

The medical students interview patients on their own, using algorithms for the most common complaints. Med students do the history in medical Indonesian, which is then translated by an interpreter into the local tribal language. The med student then consults with a readily available supervising resident or attending, who helps him/her formulate the diagnosis and treatment plan. The med student then prescribes the meds and sends the patient to the pharmacy. Or if a joint injection, I&D, ear lavage or other procedure is needed, the resident or attending assists the med student in doing it. They pray with patients for their healing.

The nursing students (and recent nursing school grads) do wound care, injections, & assist the medical students with procedures. They also help with dispensing meds in the pharmacy. They are taught everything they need to do by a very attentive RN teacher. They pray with patients for their healing.

In our time after clinics, we pray to Jesus, worship Jesus, and share our faith stories with each other. We study God’s word together. We pray for our patients and for each other. A highlight for us is to have the local tribal church workers share stories of their forays into new unreached valleys where the share about Jesus to newly-found remote villages.

The team sleeps in simple buildings loaned to us by the tribal church or in tents. We eat our meals together as a team, taking turns cooking and cleaning up. We have to filter our own drinking water. We bathe and wash our clothes in mountain streams. Students have the opportunity to sleep in a honi, or tribal hut. We take hikes to local sites such as waterfalls, river valleys or scenic viewpoints.

We have training in the US before the trip begins, usually an intensive 3 days before the trip or an evening every three weeks in the Spring before the trip.