2019 Dominican Republic Medical Brigade



To download and view the complete trip information packet, please CLICK HERE.


Medical Brigade Travel Itinerary

The batey communities are made up of marginalized Dominicans of Haitian descent. Historically these were temporary communities made of of Haitian migrant workers coming to work during the sugar cane harvest. These were mostly men, living in company housing, known locally as barrancones, consisting of one room for multiple men. Eventually these men brought their wives, had children, and the communities became permanent. In present day there are many families living in rooms that were intended as temporary housing for workers, and these communities have some of the lowest standards of living in the country.


Explore the ongoing challenges facing the bateyes and get to know the community members. Through partner organizations and their network of community organizers, we will organize clinics to provide basic healthcare to residents of these communities. Access to care is a continued issue in these communities due to a variety of factors such as legal status, transportation, and economics. Participants who are not healthcare professionals will assist the medical professionals at the clinics and may also work on ongoing infrastructure projects that Rustic Pathways has taken on such as the construction of homes, or latrines.

Day 1: Bienvenidos a La República Dominicana

Arrive at Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo and spend your afternoon in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the first cathedral, hospital, and university in the Americas. The group will have the chance to walk through the cobblestone streets, learn about local history, and visit a few of these historical sites. This will also be a good time for you to go shopping in the bustling “Mercado Modelo”.

You will also get your first glimpse into the issues affecting healthcare in the Dominican Republic as you do walk throughs of a private and public hospital. Through these visits you will see first-hand what the disparity in quality and access to care is. Then we will have a local doctor join us for dinner to discuss the issues health care professionals and their patients face in the Dominican Republic.  After dinner, travel to the volunteer center where you’ll stay during your program. Start learning about the batey communities you’ll assist through service work.

Flight Details: Rustic Pathways will coordinate flight reservations once all volunteers are enrolled.

Overnight: Hotel or Volunteer Center, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic

Days 2 – 4: Medical Brigade Days in Batey Communities

For the next three days we will be setting up a clinic for people of the batey communities around San Pedro de Macoris, specifically around the town of Consuelo. The patients will be determined based on the specialty of the attending physicians. Areas of high need include pediatric, and geriatric care as these are the two most vulnerable communities. Optometry would be another highly valued specialty as sugar cane workers tend to develop extreme cases of cataracts due to their high exposure to sun and the dust from sugar cane. We will provide transport to patients from nearby bateyes to health centers in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health.

Participants who are not healthcare professionals will assist in the running of the clinic days or participate in other projects.  Projects may include partnering with health promoters to conduct preventative interventions or carrying out a community health assessment with social workers from a local NGO.

Each afternoon and evening we will take part in cultural activities and/or dialogue with local stakeholders. These would include, 

Overnight: Hotel or Volunteer Center, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic

Day 5: Hello Tropical Paradise!

Spend the last day in the Dominican Republic taking advantage of some of the Caribbean sights. Wake up early and board the bus to Bayahibe; a beautiful coastal town with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Take a catamaran tour of Isla Saona, stopping along the way to snorkel and enjoy various beaches.

Overnight: Bayahibe Hotel, Bayahibe, Dominican Republic

Day 6: Return Home

Activities on this day would depend on the flight schedule of the group. Would likely consist of breakfast at the hotel and then heading to the airport to catch a mid-morning or early afternoon flight.

Flight Details: Rustic Pathways will coordinate flight reservations

Program Details

Program Cost: $3,000 per traveler

Airfare to and from Cleveland, Ohio will be arranged for travelers unless MedWish is informed otherwise at the time of reservation. A block of seats have been reserved by Rustic Pathways, however space is limited and the block will be filled first come first serve. If you enroll after the block has been filled, the trip cost may increase due to changes in flights costs and itinerary.

How to sign-up?

Click below to complete the online registration OR complete and mail in the registration form at the end of the downloadable packet. Please note that your space will not be confirmed until your full trip deposit is received.


Both medical professionals and non-medical volunteers are welcome. We recommend that Brigade participants be at least 12 years old or older at the time of the Brigade. However, if a family would like to bring a child younger than 12, please contact us so we can further discuss. Any participant that is under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or authorized guardian.


We will be staying in a local guesthouse in the region. The accommodations are basic with varied room sizes ranging from dormitory style to double occupancy. Most rooms will have en-suite bathrooms. Clean towels and linens are provided.

Airline Reservations

Rustic Pathways will arrange group airline transportation through Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Participants that do not wish to have their flights booked must contact MedWish at the time of registration to indicate their intentions. Any participant traveling independently must provide MedWish with his/her flight information by March 5th and must coordinate their travel with the group.


This MedWish Medical Brigade is $3,000 per person for all those included in the initial block of reserved airline seats. Those who register after the block has been filled may be charged additional due to increase cost in flights or change in itinerary.

A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is due by February 9th to reserve your place. Reservations are taken on a first come first serve basis. A percentage of spots will be held for medical participants, so secure your spot TODAY! The remaining amount of the total trip cost will be due in increments leading up to trip departure. This schedule will be provided to registrants.

Your Trip Contribution Includes:

It does NOT Include:

Trip Orientation

There will be a team orientation meeting prior to departure. At this meeting, participants will have the opportunity to meet, learn more about the upcoming Brigade, and talk with the MedWish team about what to expect and how to best prepare. The date and location of this meeting will be announced in February.

Supply Pickup

MedWish International will be providing the medical supplies needed for the mobile clinics run during the Brigade. Each participant is expected to transport one bag full of supplies with them to the Dominican Republic. Participants will need to come to the MedWish warehouse prior to departure to pick up the bag of supplies. The specific pickup times will be announced in February.

Participant Information

Once registered, participants will be provided with participant information forms that must be completed and returned to both MedWish International and Rustic Pathways. Participants are responsible for making sure these are turned in before their deadlines.

Immunizations and Travelers Health

You may need country-specific pharmaceuticals and/or immunizations when traveling to the Dominican Republic. To learn more, please visit the CDC’s website. For health-related concerns, please speak with your primary care physician or a local travel clinic. Click here for more details. Traveler’s health insurance will not be purchased for participants and is the responsibility of each participant to secure if desired.


A valid passport is required for entrance into the Dominican Republic. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after our date of return.


If you have any questions, please contact Britta Latz at blatz@medwish.org or 216.692.1685 x33


Don’t miss out on this amazing experience! Registration closes February 9th.




An Important Note About Availability and Schedule Changes:


Rustic Pathways and MedWish International reserve the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external operators or partner organizations, changes due to weather or safety concerns, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of a new activity for an old activity. The itinerary shown here provides our best projection of the daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.