Community draws them back

Man face painting a child


Doug Tate, M.D., Ph.D., has a habit, and he’s not about to break it. 

Since 2006, the U of M Medical School alumnus (Class of 1976) and retired Twin Cities pediatrician has led a Peruvian Medical Experience service trip for St. Olaf College students planning careers in health care. 

“Medical missions are exciting and challenging,” Tate says, “and they’re always very humbling.”

Tate and a few of his fellow U of M and St. Olaf alumni have taken about a dozen students to remote Andean communities for three weeks each winter. To date, more than 200 students have made the three-week trip. 

They spend their first week in Cusco, where they assist doctors and dentists in several children’s shelters. Then they travel to Ollantaytambo and Willoq in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There, doctors primarily prescribe antibiotics and antiparasitic medications, while dentists treat cavities and extract problem teeth. For their third week, students live in the Alto Cayma area of Arequipa, where they visit homes, deliver meals, work in a kitchen, and help in an orphanage.

Tate’s group also has formed a nonprofit called Andean Community Partners, designed to improve health and well-being for the people living in Andean Mountain communities.  

Published on May 13, 2020

Photos: Courtesy of St. Olaf Magazine