NEW CASTLE, Del., Nov. 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- What are you doing the week after Thanksgiving? A team from Wilmington University's College of Health Professions is starting the holiday season with a weeklong mission trip to Santo Domingo, capital city of the Dominican Republic, where they'll deliver medical treatment to a population in need.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

An assistant professor, two students, and a nurse practitioner graduate will join representatives of the New Jersey-based nonprofit Foundation for Peace, which organized the trip, and caregivers from across the U.S. and Canada in staffing a medical clinic and lending a hand in the construction of a special needs facility.

The trip, scheduled for Wednesday, November 29 through Wednesday, December 6, will be the second time WilmU faculty and student nurses have volunteered their time and expertise to the foundation's Dominican Republic aid efforts.

"Last year, the group was able to bring over $15,000 worth of medication and treat over 1,000 patients in our mobile clinics," said Dr. Lori Irelan, an assistant professor in the College of Health Professions and regional chair of the nurse practitioner program at WilmU's Dover and Georgetown campuses.

"We were bused to remote villages, 45 minutes to an hour away, and worked for 10 hours a day until we saw all the patients who were waiting for care," she said.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and joint pain were commonly treated complaints, as were mosquito-borne illnesses, fungal infections, and parasitic diseases. Many of the patients were children.

The group aimed to educate village residents, provide them with a supply of donated medications, and arrange follow-up visits for them with area physicians.

In an island nation where the average annual income is under $5,000, where 14% of the population is unemployed, where more than 40% live below the poverty line, and where — in the months since the trip was planned — Hurricane Maria flooded communities and destroyed housing on its way across the Caribbean in September, the assistance is desperately needed.

"The mission trip is rewarding in many ways," said Dr. Irelan. "It's a way to serve people who are underserved. It's very humbling to see the level of poverty they're in, and to make a difference."

It also demonstrates the ideals that WilmU's nursing program aims to instill in its students. "We emphasize holistic care, practical skills, and a passion for nursing across boundaries," she said.

The WilmU team is accepting donations of money and medical supplies until November 10.

You can help fund their mission trip through the Foundation for Peace's donation webpage In the space marked "Full name of participant you are donating toward," type "Lori Irelan." Then select "DR Trip: Mainline Mission Trip" from the drop-down menu marked "Group/trip name."

Your monetary donation will go directly to Foundation for Peace, a 501(c)(3) organization (tax identification number 55-0810709).

You can also help equip the care they'll deliver in Santo Domingo. Drop off any of the following products (generic equivalents are acceptable) in College of Health Professions offices at WilmU's New Castle, Wilson Graduate Center, Dover, or Georgetown campuses:

  • Anti-fungal creams (Lotrimin, Tinactin, Lamisil)
  • Desitin ointment (Zinc Oxide 40%)
  • Robitussin oral syrup
  • Hydrocortisone creams
  • Pain relievers (Tylenol, Motrin, Advil)
  • Children’s and infants' Tylenol and Advil
  • Stomach medications (Zantac, Prevacid, Tums, Gas-X, Immodium)
  • Vitamins (children’s and pre-natal)

For more information on the College of Health Professions' participation in Foundation for Peace medical mission trips, contact Dr. Lori Irelan at or (302) 856-5780.