Morongo USD students in the dental assistant CTE pathway collaborated with 14 volunteer dentists at a recent Flying Doctors event in the community.
CTE students team up with Flying Doctors to aid community
March 18, 2024
Career technical education students from the Morongo Unified School District recently joined the Flying Doctors, a non-profit medical mission non-governmental organization, in providing free dental and vision care services to the local community. The event provided essential services to underserved individuals while offering invaluable hands-on experience to aspiring medical professionals.
The Flying Doctors, or Los Médicos Voladores, provides mobile medical and dental clinics in California, Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Latin America or other areas requesting assistance. They offer short-term assignments for volunteer medical professionals, health care support professionals, dental professionals, students, pilots, Spanish language translators and non-medical volunteers to conduct free medical clinics that provide health care and education in areas where it is limited or difficult to obtain.
On March 9 the Flying Doctors hosted their annual Morongo Basin clinic at Copper Mountain College. The event invited anyone in the area to come receive free medical care. No documentation was required to receive care. Dental assisting students collaborated with 14 dentists, while medical assisting students partnered with nursing students from Copper Mountain College to handle patient intake and vital signs. Pharmacy students also operated a non-narcotic pharmacy.
“It’s hands-on experience,” said CTE student Chloe Philippi. “But more than that it’s a chance to give back to our community which I think is really important.”
Philippi is a pharmacy technician CTE student and she plans to work in a pharmacy after graduation so that she can save up money for nursing school. She eventually hopes to become a registered nurse.
Another CTE student, Alexandra Moya, said that the Flying Doctors provided a unique opportunity to help people who come from a similar cultural background to her. Moya is an English as a second language student and she said that she identified with a lot of the patients.
“It hits really close to home,” she said. “And it’s really shown me how important this work is. I hope to eventually become a member of the Flying Doctors and help out at their events in other countries like in Mexico.”
Additionally, culinary arts students played a vital role by distributing lunches to over 100 volunteers. “It proved to be an invaluable opportunity for our CTE students to apply their classroom knowledge in a practical setting while contributing positively to the community,” said CTE coordinator Christy Bong.
Morongo USD’s CTE program consists of 11 pathways including pharmacy technician, medical assistant, dental assistant, cyber security, unmanned aircraft systems, early childhood development, building and construction trades, 911 communications dispatcher, criminal justice, private security guard and culinary arts. CTE plays a crucial role in preparing students for success in the workforce, addressing the needs of industries, promoting equity and providing valuable career pathways for students of all backgrounds.
“The event underscores the importance of career technical education in preparing students for success in their chosen fields while also instilling a sense of civic responsibility,” said Morongo USD Superintendent Patricio Vargas. “Through hands-on experiences like this, students gain the practical skills, confidence and empathy needed to excel both academically and professionally.”
Students in the medical assistant CTE pathway took patients vitals at intake during the Flying Doctors event.
Students in the pharmacy technician CTE pathway operated a non-narcotic pharmacy during the Flying Doctors event.
The Flying Doctors, or Los Médicos Voladores, provides mobile medical and dental clinics in California, Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Latin America or other areas requesting assistance.