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Humanity was at the core of what WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Hospital Services Sherri Stahl felt during a recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Stahl had many reasons for joining the trip. She cited the importance of experiencing something bigger and different outside of her daily life. Then there was the satisfaction of helping others.

“Using our talents and resources to assist great humanity is always the right thing to do,” she said.

This was Stahl’s third mission trip. Her first experience came when she was a junior nursing student at Messiah College.

“I remember the profound impact that it had on me.”

As a result, she joined Wilson College for its inaugural mission trip two years ago.

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Serving Humanity

“Serving humanity in a meaningful way will always be the reason for future mission trips,” she noted.

The volume of work was high during the January mission trip, but Stahl said the team environment enabled them to get everything done.

“We relied on our teamwork. It was much like it is in any busy environment; you work as a team and support one another,” she said. “This was no different – this mission work is energizing!”

WellSpan Health employees Tashia Caldwell, Tara Harmon, Jamie Kelley, Sara Reese and Dr. Sanjay Dhar, as well as interns Elsa Schaefer and Alison Shockey joined Stahl on the trip.

Dr. Dhar is the medical director for clinical improvement and connected health and medical director of the stroke program at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital and WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital.

It was his first mission, he said, and proved to be an experience he would be part of again.

Making a Difference

“I wanted to give back to others and set aside my own needs and wants for at least a week. It’s a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those that are not as fortunate as us. I would do it again.”

Dr. Dhar said that while the work was busy, it was gratifying to learn more and make a difference alongside a diverse group of people.

“That presented a great opportunity to work with others who brought varying perspectives to the trip, and to learn from them,” he said.

He also had some advice for others.

“If you have an opportunity, try to step outside your comfort zone and do something for others,” he said. ”You will find it very rewarding and personally enriching. It will also make you realize how fortunate you really are.”

Snapshot of the Mission Trip

  • 350 people treated in five days.
  • Each of the five days, those on the mission trip traveled to different bateyes, or settlements near sugar mills, to provide antiparasitic medications to children there, in addition to seeing patients who needed or requested medical care.
  • Patients were treated for high blood pressure, malnutrition, skin issues, infections, colds and allergies.
  • A pharmacy was set up each day with medications donated by WellSpan Health, Menno Haven and Keystone Health.
  • The trip was organized by Wilson College.

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