Map from Regis University to Ft. Morgan 

Regis people serve refugee populations in Fort Morgan

Nursing student Sara Gallegos grew up just 40 minutes west of Fort Morgan, Colo., in the small town of Keenesburg. Yet before participating in a Regis service-learning immersion trip, she knew little about the growing population of refugees living in the next town over.

Sara was one of two students, two faculty members and two service-learning directors who made the trip to Fort Morgan last fall as part of an immersion experience organized by the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions (RHCHP). The experience offered Regis nursing and health services administration students an opportunity to explore critical issues of health and social justice in the immigrant refugee communities of urban Denver and rural Fort Morgan, which is just an hour away from campus.

“It is shocking that no one knows that a community like this is so close,” Sara said. “But, of course, I had no idea either. This kind of need, this kind of opportunity is right in our backyard.”

Sara and her group wasted no time in getting to know these refugees, many of whom are from Somalia. The group also met with health professionals at the Salud Family Health Center and visited Cargill, a meatpacking plant where some of the refugees work. Their goal: to understand the challenges that refugees face on a daily basis and to gain insights into the culture, values and perspectives immigrants and refugees bring to enhance local communities.

Confronting matters of social justice close to campus was among the motivating factors for the experience, said Jeremy Lee, director of service learning for RHCHP. Lee is working to make the Fort Morgan experience a biannual service trip.

“We don’t have to travel to other countries,” Sara said. “Our immersion programs that do are incredible, but to know that this is right here is astounding. It forces us to ask ‘Do you know what is going on down the street?’ and invites us to raise awareness in our own communities and at Regis.”

Serve in your own backyard with RHCHP.