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Creighton to celebrate 50 Years of ILAC

Nov 3, 2022
5 min Read
Summer Health ILAC

Creighton University will celebrate 50 years serving the Dominican Republic the week of Nov. 14-18, during International Education Week, marking its longstanding partnership with the Institute for Latin American Concern with stories of solidarity, reunions of participants, a recreation of a rural medical clinic and, among other festivities, a film titled A Shared Soul: Celebrating 50 Years of ILAC.

View a full schedule of the 50th anniversary events, which includes a Dec. 5 screening of A Shared Soul on the Phoenix campus, followed by an alumni panel discussion.

Creighton’s ILAC Summer Health Program was among the earliest of the University’s global outreach programs through which students in the schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy work together in interdisciplinary rural medical clinics in the Dominican Republic. During the program, students serve and live in a “campo” with a host family.

René Padilla, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, associate professor of occupational therapy and vice provost for Global Engagement, says the Dominican Republic ILAC program has provided generations of Creighton students with a pathway to understanding global issues.

“In many ways, it has been a ‘lab’ in which Creighton University has learned how to live out its global mission in very practical yet transformative ways,” he says.

“From its inception, ILAC has created spaces for us to learn what it truly means to accompany the poor and to cultivate a sense of equal exchange rather than a hierarchy based on what we have, and the poor don’t.”

A key lesson, Padilla says, has been that charity and justice are intertwined.

“They are not opposite poles on a continuum, but rather two parts of a whole,” Padilla says. “Participants in our programs must wrestle with when it is appropriate to serve through individual acts, and when collective actions are needed; how a response to immediate needs must also contribute to long-term solutions; and why the immediate gratification of resolving a symptom must nurture persistence in addressing the root causes of social injustice.”

The Centro de Educación para la Salud Integral (CESI or Misión ILAC), Creighton’s partner in the Dominican Republic, is a nonprofit organization that serves rural communities, especially in the area of healthcare where it promotes the physical, emotional and spiritual health of participants through preventative health programs, education, agriculture, and surgical assistance to individuals of limited economic resources. It was founded in 1973 by two young Jesuit priests.

The ILAC curriculum and program are specifically designed to make it easy for students of all majors and all colleges to participate. Program offerings range from service and immersion experiences to international healthcare rotations, to a full semester academic service-learning program, and other opportunities.