Humanitarian Physician Brings Joy to Nicaraguan Patients

GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship

Through Spaugh Dameron Tenny’s GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship, Dr. Starritt joined the Bless Back Worldwide medical team for a week in July of 2019, staying at Los Royos de Esperanza. On the medical side, the Bless Back team had the opportunity to conduct home visits with patients, provide medical education to local medical providers, and see patients in the medical clinic.

Fortunately, they weren’t forced to work the whole time and were able to have some fun experiencing Nicaragua. Throughout the week, Dr. Starritt’s team explored a market in a nearby town and visited a nearby potter who taught them the indigenous way of making pottery.

On the second day of their trip, the team learn about the town, local culture and people through a scavenger hunt in Diriomo. The team then visited barrio Paz to hand out tickets to those who needed to be seen in the clinic the next day.

Short-term Trip, Long-term Impact

Dr. Starritt is our 5th GOtoGROW scholarship recipient who says she was destined to be a physician. During her time in Nicaragua, she also participated in a Nicaraguan folk dancing class in a beautiful red dress, you can see photoed below.

Dr. Starritt had the opportunity to see patients ranging in all ages and ailments. Here is her reflection of her trip to Nicaragua with Bless Back Worldwide.

Rita Starritt, GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship recipient

The GOtoGROW Scholarship recipient’s Reflection of Her Time in Nicaragua

I currently work as an internist, both in the hospital and in clinics in, I work with some of the most disenfranchised patients in California. I split time working in Colorado and California, working with both addiction patients and the elderly.  I am also actively involved in clinical research, mostly on vaccines for preventable diseases.

I personally wanted to be able to give back to the community and make a lasting difference for the people of Nicaragua.  In addition, I wanted to compare the difference in how this mission operated compared to others I have been on as far as long lasting goals and change.

I believe that the goal of Bless Back Worldwide (BBW) is to make a lasting change for the patient population through education of community based healthcare providers and outreach as well as education of children and young mothers in an effort to help the community in a long lasting way.

GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship recipient

The education sessions for local health care professionals will provide a long lasting program and changes as they go back to their communities and use the information they were given to help patients that were unable to come to clinic or who did not need to be seen at this time.  I also believe that patient education we provided to those patients suffering from chronic diseases will help them take care of their own health issues and have less complications from Diabetes and Hypertension. 

Appreciating the Basics of Medicine

Medical missions can help with physician burn out.  The patients in Nicaragua have a lot of respect for the medical providers and small things that you do for them can make a huge difference in their daily lives.  Patients are grateful for help instead of being entitled and disappointed. 

In general, people are the same everywhere. They want to have meaningful work, a family to love, and satisfaction in their daily lives from the family and community. 

GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship Nicaragua

The medical team saw around 270 patients.  Each patient had an impact in his own way. The Nicaraguans are hard-working and often impoverished, but have great pride in their culture and families, generosity of spirit, and warmth and smiles for everyone they interacted with on the medical team even if some of the conditions they are living in are challenging.  In addition, I would like to say that the group I was working with are some of the most genuine, friendly and supportive people I have had the privilege to meet and work with. Everyone on the team had a positive attitude and worked hard to help the patients and each other. 

Share Your Skills Through the GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship

Apply for a life-changing experience and the opportunity to care for the people of Haiti through a GOtoGROW Scholarship.

GOtoGROW Doctor Scholarship



Molly Holbert

Molly Holbert | Spaugh Dameron Tenny