Connell School of Nursing students and faculty hosted the BC Runs for Haiti 5k on O’Neil Plaza on Sunday, September 18, 2016. The annual event raises funds to purchase medications and medical supplies for CSON students to deliver to Haitian communities during their mission trip each winter. This year they raised $3,695, making it their most successful fundraiser to date.

It was a special day, with the Boston College community as well as the local community gathering together to support this cause. Donna Cullinan, clinical assistant professor, and a group of undergraduate and graduate students coordinated the event, with the assistance of Karl Bell, assistant director of student organizations, who planned the route. Haitian music played throughout the event courtesy of BC’s Electronic State of Mind and Hatian clubs, and students from Nativity Preparatory School, a Jesuit middle school in Jamaica Plain, were on every corner of the course cheering with Haitian flags.

“As we were setting up the race we were greeted by one friend after the other, it was really uplifting.” reflected Christina Dunn, a senior CSON student who helped plan the event. “It really struck me how much camaraderie was cultivated within our BC community and it was all for this trip, all for Haiti.”

Every winter break, a group of CSON graduate and undergraduate students, along with faculty and alumni, travel to Haiti to spend a week providing health care to more than 1,000 adults and children in make-shift clinics. The group encounters a wide variety of ailments, including cholera, acid reflux, scabies, diabetes, fungal infections, wounds, and more.

“We see that help is desperately needed in Haiti and we are humbled and excited to be the ones who can provide the care and attention that is needed,” said Dunn. “It is great to think of all the amazing things this money can be used for and the differences we can make.”

CSON is committed to producing nurses who understand global healthcare needs and have the cultural competency required to lead in an increasingly global healthcare economy. Haiti is one of six global trips that CSON offers for its students, many of which can be used towards course credit for undergraduate students and nurse practitioner supervised hours for graduate students. In addition to Haiti, CSON travels annually to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Lourdes, and Nicaragua. CSON also has a four-week summer elective that brings together students and faculty from BC, Switzerland, and Chile to learn collaboratively, alternating sites each year. CSON will host the program on BC’s campus in June 2017.