International mission effort expands to Guyana

MTSA’s Mission Initiative sent students and staff back to Haiti last year, and plans are progressing to add a new location for service work: Guyana.


MTSA’s Board of Trustees voted to bring Guyana on as a new mission endeavor, according to MTSA President Chris Hulin, DNP, MBA, CRNA.

“As an initial step, we’ve already sent an iPad to each of the seven students attending the nurse anesthesia program at Georgetown Public Hospital System (GPHS), which is located in Guyana’s capital,” he said.

The iPads—funded by the generous support of alumni and others from the Gala and Sporting Clay Tournament in May—are allowing MTSA to share electronic information, including recorded classroom content, test databank questions, PowerPoint presentations, audio lectures, and access to the online learning system to supplement and enhance the GPHS curriculum.

Continuing the mission effort in Guyana, three trips are planned in 2018, beginning in January. Faculty and staff will travel there to deliver curriculum and provide review sessions between semesters. They also plan to run simulations with students for additional skill development.

Hulin explained, “The idea to add Guyana to our Mission Initiative came from two sources. First, a classmate in my doctoral program, who was from Guyana, planted the initial seed for me to consider how we could help. More recently, one of our current students, Morgan Rohde, encouraged us to join in the work she and her husband, Dr. J.P. Rohde, were doing there. They’ve been instrumental in Vanderbilt’s ED nurse internship and physician residency programs at GPHS, so it was a perfect fit to join with their efforts.”

The GPHS nurse anesthesia program has graduated a total of 30 nurse anesthetists, and there are currently seven students in the program. The country of Guyana is located just east of Venezuela, in South America.


Hulin said the Haiti trip was patterned after last year’s and included providing Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) care alongside hand surgeons from the Touching Hands Project, at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti in Carrefour. The group also conducted BLS and ACLS education sessions for local doctors and nurses.

Eight MTSA students were part of the team, which also included Stace Dollar (’03), CRNA; MTSA Medical Director Rob Taylor, MD; MTSA Program Administrator Rusty Gentry, DNAP, CRNA; and Hulin.

“As always, our goal is to leave an enduring legacy. We’re there to help improve the level of care for the long term. The educational component of the trip is what really makes a difference for years to come,” Hulin said.

“These efforts are possible because of the generosity of our alumni, students and so many others who have supported our Mission Initiatives throughout the year. We truly appreciate their direct action and contributions,” he added.

The Haiti mission trip took place Oct. 7-14, 2017.

To contribute to MTSA’s Mission Initiatives, visit

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