st-croixAt Latitude 18 degrees north and Longitude 65 degrees west lies the island of St. Croix, one of the 68 islands that comprise the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Directions are very important for us–we seem be always getting lost. (Who knew there were so many rooms at the SON?)

We are the 17th cohort in the JHUSON’s 8 year history of traveling to St. Croix, which has been a U.S. Territory since 1917. Our mission: To assess both the community’s needs and provide primary, secondary and tertiary care. This is accomplished in collaboration with The University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix. We are all looking forward to meeting our key informant Janzie Allmacher, MSN, RN, CEN, ACNS-BC!

Our community partner agencies include:

  • Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands: Flamboyant Gardens and Early Head Start
  • St. Croix Health Department
  • St. Croix Public School Systems
  • And we will be hosting a community health fair at the weekly La Reine Farmer’s Market. (Which has served up to 200 people!)

We will be addressing health disparities and health management with a very low income population, 1/3 of whom do not possess health insurance. Additional challenges include a scarcity of health providers in a population with a high rate of diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

And I guess we thought “the public health group heading to St. Croix” was kind of boring. So our touch of individuality is a name change: Team SMILE, Student Servicing in St. Croix Making Interventions a Learning Experience.

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled I realized I’d passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

– Author Unknown

P.S. And one thing you probably did not know about the US Virgin Islands:

“The Virgin Islands, which Congresswoman Christensen represents, has an important connection to the struggle to save Jews from the Holocaust. Following the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany, the governor and legislative assembly of the Virgin Islands announced that they would open their doors to all Jews fleeing Hitler. McDonald supported the proposal but, sadly, the Roosevelt administration rejected it. The Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies presented the “They Spoke Out” humanitarian award to the people of the Virgin Islands, which was received by Congresswoman Christensen in 2011.”


Watson, M. (2014). Christensen moderates panel on holocaust remembrance day a christian response to the holocaust. Retrieved from http://donnachristensen.house.gov/press-release/christensen-moderates-panel-holocaust-remembrance-day-christian-response-holocaust.

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