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Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC)

Learn and Serve in the Dominican Republic

Creighton University Global Engagement Office, ILAC, and Encuentro Dominicano logos

For over 50 years, Creighton University has provided programming in the Dominican Republic that emphasizes the importance of global vision and understanding in educating well-rounded individuals. This is made possible through a unique partnership with Centro de Educación para la Salud Integral (CESI) well-known by its English name, Misión ILAC. Through this partnership, Creighton-ILAC offers dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, law, physical therapy, occupational therapy, undergraduate and high school students the opportunity to learn through service.

ILAC Program Applications

Creighton-ILAC applications for students are on the Jays Abroad Portal. Professionals interested in volunteering should e-mail 

ILAC statement of solidarity concerning the humanitarian crisis in Haiti

During this time we hold in our thoughts and prayers the many people around the world who are experiencing displacement and disruption. May our hearts continue to grow with compassion as we navigate these difficult times. We are especially mindful of the political and social instability that has driven hundreds of thousands of Haitians to flee to the Dominican Republic and across the world.

For nearly five decades Creighton University’s Institute for Latin American Concern has worked in the Dominican Republic in partnerships with the Centro de Educación para la Salud Integral (CESI – also affectionately known as “Misión ILAC”), other Dominican service organizations, and many rural “campos” including Haitian “bateys,” to provide health services and infrastructure development to support connected end empowered communities.

At this time, our programs are operating normally based on the following facts and realities:

  • The Creighton-ILAC team monitors warnings and any alerts that come up as our team is enrolled in a notification program from the US government for travelers to the Dominican Republic, so we would make any adjustments necessary, if it were needed. In our experience, most of the time these warnings are covering tourist zones that we don't visit or rough neighborhoods in the country that are also far from where we operate.
  • ILAC works primarily in the northern part of the Dominican Republic, which is approximately 8 hours’ drive away from Port-au-Prince, in southern Haiti, where the current conflict is primarily taking place.
  • The current travel advisory level for the Dominican Republic from the US State Department remains at Level 2: Exercise increased caution.  The risk level has been at level 2 since June 6, 2023 and has not changed in response to recent events to Haiti. (It is not uncommon for the Dept of State travel advisory level to move between Levels 1 & 2 for the DR.)
  • The current travel advisory level for Haiti from the US State Department is Level 4: Do Not Travel (as of July 27, 2023), which both Creighton University and ILAC/CESI comply with.

We are distressed by the efforts being undertaken by many countries, including the Dominican Republic and the United States, to deport Haitian citizens back to their home country in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.

We encourage our community to continue to support initiatives of solidarity, hospitality and accompaniment for displaced persons, such as Jesuit Refugee Service and the Kino Border Initiative. We encourage everyone to remain engaged in civic discourse with elected officials about compassionate policies, such as those supported by the US Conference for Catholic Bishops. 
If you would like to know more about Ignatian advocacy opportunities or how to contact your elected officials, please visit with the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice in Lower Becker Hall.  If you would like to learn more about Creighton’s work in the Dominican Republic, please visit the Institute for Latin American Concern in Creighton Hall.

Pope Francis has invited us to care for our earth and our community, reminding us that “we are called to form integrated communities rather than remain as individuals, denominations or nations. Unknowable as the future is, we can trust that, to the extent that we give ourselves to the quest, we will find what we seek — no matter how impossible to imagine.” Let us continue to work for greater peace and hospitality in our world both locally and globally. 

updated April 2024

More than 5,000 students have participated in ILAC programs
Twelve high school and university programs outside of Creighton
15,000 patients served in rural medical clinics over the past 5 years
2,000 water filters inspected by students over the pas 5 years
ILAC is international, Catholic, and Ignatian-insipired
ILAC collaborates with medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, OT, PT, Law School and CU undergraduates
Promoting an exchange of gifts, service, immersion, language, reflection
7,500 patients evaluated by surgical groups over the past 5 years

Occupational Therapy in the Dominican Republic

Occupational therapy student Olivia Brem spent her level 1D fieldwork experience in the Dominican Republic designing interventions for patients of all ages. 

“The ILAC program run by Creighton in the DR gives opportunities to students to learn more about diverse communities as well as give back to the community through service.” -Olivia Brem