Physical therapy students provide humanitarian services in Guatemala

Leslie Wallace assesses the hip strength of a Guatemalan girl to address the child’s pain. An interpreter (left) and student Ellie Maglia assist. (Photo: Allie Harris)

For a week during winter break, 19 students and two alumnae from the Program in Physical Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine traveled throughout Guatemala to help patients who otherwise might not receive physical therapy and other health care due to financial or geographical challenges.

The group came to Guatemala through Hearts in Motion, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian services for children, families and communities throughout Central and South America.

Most of the students had gone on mission trips before with nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity, but this was the first time many were able to use their physical therapy education as a key component of the service work.

“Our trip to Guatemala was unforgettable. I have been on several mission trips in the past, but this is the first time I was able to share my specialized skills and knowledge to improve peoples’ quality of life. I plan to return to Guatemala in the future,” said student Ellie Maglia.

Read the story in The Source: Physical therapy students journey to Guatemala