Professors Spend Summer Improving Health Care in Ghana, China

OGDEN, Utah – Two Weber State University respiratory therapy faculty members are spending their summer improving health care on two continents.

On June 23, Lisa Trujillo and Janelle Gardiner will travel to Ghana to follow up on a trip made last year by Trujillo and several of her students. That group distributed much-needed medical equipment, blankets and school supplies to hospitals and orphanages throughout the country. Since the equipment arrived later than expected, however, the group didn't have the opportunity to do as much training on the medical equipment as they would have liked. Trujillo decided to return this summer to ensure that the supplies her group delivered are being used effectively and to answer any questions local nurses and doctors might have about the equipment.
She also wants to reinforce the training the group provided to health care practitioners last year. The group found that encouraging basic cleanliness practices would make a big difference in Ghana, according to Trujillo. "Cross-contamination among patients is huge," she said. "The practitioners don't protect themselves, either, so teaching simple things is so beneficial."

Trujillo invited Gardiner to accompany her on the return trip this summer. "I wanted to go because I saw how they had such great experiences last year and made a great impact," Gardiner said. "I thought this would be a good opportunity to share my knowledge from the last 11 years."

After 10 days in Ghana, the duo will travel to China, where they will teach a five-day seminar to doctors and nurses on clinical application of respiratory therapy. They also will spend time helping China create the foundation for what Trujillo believes will be the country's first respiratory therapy program. "China has the technology, but they need the training," Trujillo said. "With respiratory therapists, the doctors and nurses will be able to focus on what they are trained to do."

Last year's experiences in Ghana motivated Trujillo to continue her efforts to improve the quality of respiratory care throughout the world. "They have so little and they try so hard to care for their patients with what they do have," she said.

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Janelle Gardiner, respiratory therapy instructor
(801) 626-7141 •

Lisa Trujillo, director of clinical education, respiratory therapy instructor
(801) 626-6834 •

Travis Clemens, assistant director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7948 •