Office of International Programs

Travel-Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Health Outreach Program


Various Nursing Courses

or SPA 399 (3 credits)
or SPM 499 (3 credits)

In this unique service-learning program, nursing and athletic training students provide basic health care and health education to more than 2,000 patients in 15 rural mountain villages. Spanish students accompany the group to serve as interpreters. Working out of schools, churches, and homes, we treat injuries, infections, and chronic health problems. We also teach nutrition, dental hygiene, and health education. To date, USM’s Dominican Republic Health Outreach Program has served more than 15,000 patients.

The students are led by faculty members from the College of Science, Technology, and Health and Spanish students are overseen by a faculty member from the Spanish department. The group is joined by nursing and medical professionals from the greater New England area along with community members who are fluent in Spanish. The program gives volunteers a chance to share their knowledge with nursing students and to serve people in need. Members of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic also assist our group with language interpreting and understanding Dominican culture.   

The Dominican Republic Health Outreach program is open with permission to nursing, athletic training, and Spanish students who have taken Spanish courses at 300-level or above. Spanish language proficiency is helpful for nursing and athletic training students but not necessary to participate. The program requires a substantial planning period prior to the trip with significant fundraising for health supplies, planning meetings, and packing of village health supplies.

For more details on the program, please download the Dominican Republic Pre-Departure Manual and watch the PRHDR promotional video below.


You can enroll in one of the following courses while in the Dominican Republic. Please check with the appropriate department to ensure you meet all prerequisites.

NUR 327: DR Community Nursing Partnership II    3 credits
NUR 419: Community Nursing Partnership for RN in the DR 2 credits
NUR 428: Child Health Nursing Lab 2 credits
NUR 437: Community Nursing Partnership for Accel BS Students 3 credits
NUR/CON 495: Independent Study in the DR 1-3 credits
SPM 499: Athletic Training Service Learning in the DR                    3 credits
SPA 399: Spanish Language in the DR  3 credits
NUR 538: Community Nursing Partnership - Option Students           2 credits
 NUR/CON 595: Independent Study in the DR 1-3 credits

Nursing students must successfully complete pharmacology and first clinical rotation prior to departure. We strongly discourage students from taking this partnership during their last semester of their degree. The following undergraduate nursing courses satisfy the Diversity Core Requirement: NUR 327, 419, and 437.


Jean Burton, APRN-BC, is a lecturer at USM. She obtained her Master's degree in nursing from USM in 1998 and was certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She completed post master's requirements in 2000 was certified as a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and currently works full time in that profession. Jean first attended the Dominican Republic Program as a graduate student in 1997. She has attended the program multiple times since then as a volunteer and as a team leader.

Whitney Lutz, RN, MSN, CPNP-PC is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and taught for many years in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. She has served as a faculty leader for this program many times since 2003.

Lois Tiedeken, MS, ANP-BC is an Adult Nurse Practitioner, working in Internal Medicine with a concentration in Diabetes, Care Management and Women’s Health. She also holds a certificate in Anti-Coagulation Therapy. She first attended the DR program as a graduate Nurse Practioner student in 1997.


The deadlines for the Summer 2018 program are November 9, 2017 for students in the traditional undergraduate nursing program, December 15, 2017 for pediatric students, and February 16, 2018 for all other students including nursing students in the RN to BSN program.

A complete application will include the following:

  • Signed, completed summer application form or winter application form*
  • Typed 250-word essay that:
    • Describes any experiences you have had living abroad, traveling under harsh conditions, or exposure to unpredictable conditions in lesser developed areas that would prepare you for this experience.
    • Includes how you believe that completing health work overseas will fit into your career plans.
  • A recommendation form completed by a faculty member or academic advisor
  • Official copies of academic transcripts

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. You will be notified by e-mail of your application status. If your application is not accepted, the nonrefundable deposit will be returned. If the program is canceled for any reason by the USM, all deposits will be returned.

*If you are having trouble downloading the application, please contact us at (207) 780-4959 or and we will send you one. You may also want to try upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Tuition and Fees

Recent program fees have between $1800-2000 and included airfare, accommodation, three meals a day (except lunch on the beach day), scheduled in-country travel, site visits, a one-day excursion to an ocean-side town, transportation to Logan airport, and comprehensive emergency medical and evacuation insurance through iNext

Not included in the program fee is the cost of tuition, fees, books, academic supplies, lunch on the beach day, passports, immunizations or other personal expenses. All participants on USM travel programs receive the in-state tuition rate regardless of residency.

The winter session is part of the fall semester and these additional credits may put you in a higher bracket for other academic fees. Please visit the Student Financial Services website for complete information on tuition and fees.

All participants will be automatically registered for a payment plan. The $200 deposit will go towards the cost of the program and the remaining balance will be due as follows:

Summer 2018 Program

50% of the balance due May 2018 TBD

Remaining balance due June 2018 TBD

Winter 2017/2018 Program

50% of the balance due November 2017 TBD

Remaining balance due December 2017 TBD

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Federal financial aid and loans are available to matriculated students who participate in travel courses. In order to receive the benefit of financial aid, students must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits during the summer for a summer travel course. The winter session is considered a part of the fall semester and fall financial aid can be applied to travel courses. If financial aid does not cover the full cost of the program, students are responsible for paying the remaining balance according to the payment plan schedule.

Include the costs of this course in your FAFSA application. If you have questions about financial aid or completing your FAFSA, please contact the financial aid office at (207) 780-4166. If you are not a matriculated student at USM, please check with the financial aid office at your institution.

Students applying to this course can also consider the Dorothy Padula Memorial Scholarship to Latin America. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must have at least a 2.5 GPA. Preference will be given to students who have taken or are currently enrolled in a college-level Spanish course. Applications for this scholarship are reviewed four times a year: October, December, March, and April.