Student from Jackson Sees Dream of Interfaith Medical Mission Trip to Jamaica become Reality

Read the students" blogs at | January 24, 2010


From January 2-9, before his classes resumed at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Josh Badall of Jackson and twelve other Xavier students cut short their holiday breaks and travelled to Jamaica on an interfaith/medical mission trip. They were accompanied by a doctor and a nurse practitioner from TriHealth in Cincinnati, which provided substantial support for the trip, a nurse from California, the founding director of Xavier’s Office of Interfaith Community Engagement, Rabbi Abie Ingber, and his assistant, Amy Wetterau.  The students shadowed the medical professionals in the mountain health centre in Steer Town, Jamaica and met with theologians of different faith traditions common in and native to Jamaica.
Josh, a senior psychology major at Xavier, had been to Jamaica four times prior to this interfaith medical trip. Three times as a student at Lumen Christi High School, he had gone to help build the very structure the Xavier group used to host their clinic half of the time they were in Jamaica. When he came to Xavier, Josh knew he wanted to bring his experiences in Jamaica to others in hopes that they would be as profoundly impacted as I had been.
“Knowing that I would never be able to put together a trip of this magnitude alone,” Josh says, “I approached Rabbi Abie Ingber about helping make my dream a reality. After weeks of hypothetical discussion, Abie said four words I will never forget: ‘The answer is YES!’ and we were off. He brought his incredible assistant Amy into the planning and between the two of them, most of the miracles took place. The three of us spent a long Saturday carefully combing through 52 applications and deciding whom we felt was best fit for the group of 13 students.”
“In the midst of America’s passionate debate about healthcare,” says Ingber, “Xavier students came face to face with a Jamaican community desperate for medical attention. As we spent our week in the midst of this poverty, I wanted them to reflect on the diversity of this world and on how their different faith traditions brought them all to this same place to use their education to serve an impoverished community.”
Jamaica was a humbling and rewarding experience for everyone involved. The days started early and ended late. The students opted for PB&J for breakfast and lunch rather than stop to make hot meals. They saw 511 patients in 4.5 days in the communities of Steer Town, Golden Spring, and Liberty. All three communities welcomed the group with open arms and were immensely grateful. A Jamaican TV crew came and filmed for 2 hours for the Jamaican equivalent of the Today Show.

Each person on the trip had a unique experience that will hopefully move them to continue to serve as loving, patient-centered doctors, nurses and occupational therapists in the years to come. It is Josh’s wish that all who attended will remember what it felt like to serve people that the rest of the world has forgotten. “I pray,” he says, “that one day when they are settled into their careers that they remember their Xavier days and find a way to continue to embody the Jesuit ideals that they exemplified in Jamaica.”