ST. GEORGE, Utah - A Dixie State University student is among the first from southern Utah to take a surgical trip to the Dominican Republic, but he said the real honor was working alongside a mentor, his father.
Jensen Stock, 28, said it really was the trip of a lifetime for him. He’s a pre-med student at Dixie State, but he said going to a third world country solidified his choice to go into health care.
“It was pretty eye-opening,” Stock said. “Living here in the United States, we’re pretty blessed.”
Stock joined a group coordinated by international mission group Solid Rock. The organization sponsors several medical trips per year to the small town of San Juan De La Manguana. Stock assisted his father, Dr. Curt Stock, in close to 60 patient consultations and 43 surgeries.
“I’ve never worked alongside of him, because I didn’t really have too much interest in the medical field,” Stock said. “So being there with him, and being able to see the love and the passion that he has for his patients, and really wanting to help them, really inspired me.”
Stock’s father practices out of Bountiful, but Stock became one of the first to travel from southern Utah. Rita Osborn coordinates student involvement at Dixie State and Southern Utah universities, and she said it was chance that a spot became available.
“It just so happened there was a gap in one of the trips that the state of Georgia puts on,” Osborn said. “They needed an ear, nose and throat doctor spur of the moment. We shipped that email out to our students, and Jensen and his father graciously agreed to volunteer.”
DSU and SUU have been working with Solid Rock on clinic trips for about seven years, and they’re planning their own surgical trip in December. Osborn said it’s always their hope that students will gain an appreciation for their chosen career field. Stock said that’s exactly what the trip gave him.
“There are many populations of under-served individuals, especially in inner-cities or even remote rural areas in the United States,” Stock said. “I know, going forward as a physician, that I can help them.”
Stock still has quite a bit of school left, so he’s not exactly sure what kind of medicine he’ll go into. But he said he definitely wants to make another trip to a different country.
For more information on the Rural Health Scholar’s outreach program, click here.