In September 2014, a team of five Rush University Doctor of Audiology
students traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala, on a humanitarian trip. The team volunteered with Dr. Patricia Castellanos de Muñoz, the only licensed audiologist in Guatemala, and her organization, Centro de Audición y Adiestramiento Fonético (Center of Hearing and Phonetic Training [CEDAF]), to provide school hearing screenings and fit hearing aids. This work was completed through Fundación Sonrisas que Escuchan (Smiles That Hear Foundation), which is the outreach organization of CEDAF.
During the first four days, the team traveled to multiple schools and centers around the city, providing hearing screenings to roughly 1,000 Guatemalans (800 children, 200 adults). On the last day, the team worked at the CEDAF clinic and fit hearing aids, donated by hearing aid manufacturers, on children and adults that qualified for services through CEDAF’s foundation.
The relationship with Castellanos and her team was developed by Michelle Wallace, the humanitrian chair of the Rush University Student Academy of Audiology (SAA). In the spring of 2014, Rush SAA donated $1,000 to support Castellanos and CEDAF’s efforts. Rush University SAA just completed another fundraiser to support CEDAF, and it plans to continue the relationship and humanitarian trips with Castellanos.
“This experience was truly incredible" said Wallace. "I am ecstatic to have gotten the opportunity to participate in such a life-changing and remarkable experience with the welcoming, beautiful people of Guatemala. It was a week filled with so much accomplishment, laughter and friendship, and I could not be more proud of our team.”
Photo caption: Audiology students Michelle Wallace and Alyssa Herrera screening schoolchildren in Guatemala.