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LEWISTOWN, Pa. – Four emergency department nurses from Geisinger Lewistown Hospital will spend a week volunteering in clinics in medically underserved areas of Guatemala. Cassandra Boozel, certified registered nurse practitioner, and registered nurses Vicki Ematat, Brittany Mathews and Kendyl Morse depart for the Central American country on Jan. 6, 2018. They will be stationed in La Antigua in south central Guatemala, but then transported to the highland valleys located near the base of three volcanoes. The clinics they will serve in are set up in local school and community centers where the residents suffer largely from GI and respiratory diseases and ear, eye and skin infections. There is also little or no prenatal care. 

This mission trip is organized by International Medical Relief (IMR), a non-profit organization based in the United States that provides mobile medical clinics and sustainable health education to underserved communities in 40 countries around the world.

It took six months for the nurses to plan the trip and they are all are using personal vacation time. In the past few months, they collected a variety of medical supplies with help from their colleagues, families and friends that they will take along with them. While medication is provided by IMR, the nurses are required to bring their own daily medical equipment such as thermometers, clinical swabs and syringes. 

"Bonnie Bowsman, who heads our emergency department, has been an immense support for all of us,” Boozel said. “She personally donated towards our trip and encouraged us along the way, telling us this will be a life-changing experience.”

“Volunteering away from the comforts of home will truly teach us how to be more resourceful and more resilient,” she added.

“I am very proud of them for going outside their comfort zone to care for others. They all are exceptional nurses and will be a true asset to the mission team," said Bonnie Bowsman, operations manager, Geisinger Lewistown Hospital.


About Geisinger
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Cassandra Boozel CRNP, Brittany Mathews RN, Vicki Ematat RN, Kendyl Morse RN
Left to right: Cassandra Boozel CRNP, Brittany Mathews RN, Vicki Ematat RN, Kendyl Morse RN

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