Denver School of Nursing Students Complete Seventh Healthcare Internship in Haiti

Partnering with NGO Love Takes Root, Students Provide Care at New Jacmel Health Clinic

Six Denver School of Nursing (DSN) students and two adjunct faculty members completed a healthcare internship in Haiti to provide care at the inaugural opening of a community health clinic in Jacmel, perform clinical rotations at the birthing center Maisson de Naissance in Les Cayes and continue clinical assessments for skin disorders and scabies for the orphans from Espwa, said Dr. Marcia Bankirer, president of DSN (

In Haiti from June 18 through June 26, the DSN team of eight completed its seventh Global Healthcare Perspectives (GHP) internship. “Students and faculty provided free health assessments and treatment for children and families of the Jacmel, Haiti community. The town of Jacmel has 40,000 residents while the encompassing municipality has 140,000 residents.  So the need for medical care is great and growing,” said Bankirer.

DSN students Kate Casaubon, Janet Deras, Alexandra Nichols, Cassandra Pieterick, Stacy Sapunov and Staci Siefford, were accompanied by Barbara Wilkerson, pediatric nurse practitioner and DSN adjunct faculty member, and Katy Sliker, certified nurse midwife and DSN adjunct faculty.

The team primarily focused their care on the newly opened Love Takes Root Community Healthcare Clinic, located on the grounds of the orphanage that  Love Takes Root ( established first in Port-au-Prince and then, later, in Jacmel, following Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010.

The DSN team additionally returned to the Espwa orphanage to continue clinical rotations for pediatric care targeted primarily at a sustainable scabies assessment and treatment plan, which DSN teams had started in the previous global health perspectives internship in March when the team uncovered the severity of this highly infectious skin disorder. 

 “Scabies is a contagious skin infection caused by a mite and effective community treatment is incredibly difficult at an orphanage with over 500 hundred children,” said Micah Hughes, DSN assistant professor and director of DSN’s GHP program. Many children in Haiti suffer from HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, measles, malaria, pneumonia and scabies.  “Additionally, Haiti has higher high rates of fatalities than other countries in the region, due to a higher frequency of injuries coupled with such prevalence of infectious disease,” Hughes added.

Barbara Wilkerson, RN, and her husband, Dr. Rick Wilkerson, have been serving and partnering with Haitian healthcare teams since 2010 and founded their nonprofit, Love Takes Root. Their organization strives to break the cycle of poverty through a commitment to local empowerment and an establishment of roots of trust and health in Haitian-owned and managed programs.

Denver School of Nursing’s GHP program has partnered with Love Takes Root on six previous healthcare trips in Haiti. DSN’s GHP program combines classroom training with in-field service-learning internships. The college partners with in-country nonprofits to make the best use of the healthcare infrastructure that exists in that country to allow for continued care of patients after faculty and students return to Denver.

About Denver School of Nursing (DSN)

Denver School of Nursing, 1401 19th St., Denver, is a private, post-secondary college that provides educational programs and training for nursing professionals. The college specializes in offering rigorous curriculum and clinical site-based academic programs toward associate and bachelor degrees in nursing. DSN is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), ( (800-621-7440); the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC); and its associate and baccalaureate programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326 (404-975-5000). The college is granted full approval for its associate and bachelors nursing programs by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. For more information, call 303-292-0015 or visit