Community health surveillance in Roatán, Honduras

SRT team, another student, and Nurse Peggy 2019

SRT team, another student, and Nurse Peggy Stranges, 2019

Application Deadline:

Project Status:

  • Open


  • Health care access,
  • Non-communicable diseases,
  • Monitoring and evaluation


  • Honduras


  • Roatan

Start Date:

End Date:

Project Type:

  • Student Research Training Program


  • Yes

Placements Available:

  • 4

Community health surveillance in Roatán, Honduras

Project Objectives: Vision Screening, Glaucoma testing & annual collection of statistics on patients 

Our Partner: Clinica Esperanza ( provides low/no-cost medical care to the people of Roatan. At the medical clinic and hospital, people can receive services from the walk-in medical clinic, women’s health center, pediatrics, birthing center, dental clinic including a laboratory and pharmacy. The clinic also provides outreach clinics, community health education programs, and school health screenings for vision and oral health. 
The Clinic is located in Sandy Bay and all people are welcome. The Clinic treats approximately 80-100 patients in a typical day usually about 65% adults and 35% children. It operates five days per week, starting at 8:00am and finishes at 5:00pm. More than 3500 patients consider the Clinic to be their primary medical care provider. Thus far, more than 57,000 patients have been treated in the Clinic. 

Due to the limited number of medical facilities available on the island of Roatan, patients come from all corners of the island and the mainland to seek treatment or medications. The Clinic provides a needed service to people who would otherwise likely not seek treatment due to costs and the crowded condition of the local public hospital. 

Eye health screening - Roatan has a significant population with the diagnosis of Glaucoma. 
One of the leading causes of blindness on the island is glaucoma which results from damage to the optic nerve. Usually, the irreversible damage is from increased pressure in the eye. The most common form, open-angle glaucoma, generally appears in middle age and seems to have a genetic component. In this type of glaucoma, vision loss is gradual. All patients with increased intraocular pressure will be instructed to have further care with Clinica Esperanza, a local ophthalmologist, or other healthcare facilities. Our hope is to reduce blindness by earlier detection of the disease. If on location, the students will support and be supervised by the local physician in the clinic. Screenings will be completed with an iCare tonometer that will measure the eye’s intraocular pressure. 

Clinic Support Projects: (Remote engagement) 

During the last year, students undertook two projects at the clinic’s request. One was to determine from which part of the island women come from for pre-natal care and whether they would prefer to deliver their baby at Clinica Esperanza.  The other was to start a survey of dental care in children who visit the clinic.  Both of those projects are ongoing and results are being analyzed.  The dental project will be ongoing even if on-site in 2022. 

School Vision Testing: (if on location) 
Students’ primary responsibility will be to perform Snelling chart vision screenings on students in the local schools between 3rd and 10th grade. This has been performed for the last five years and will continue this year. Demographic information will also be collected to assess whether certain demographic characteristics are associated with vision problems. 

Team members will be expected to compile the data from the vision screening and glaucoma tests and complete preliminary analysis, to identify prevalence patterns or additional issues related to ocular health emerging from these screening processes. 

Specific Project Activities: 


• Continue collection and analysis of dental survey information. 

• Continue analysis of other clinic related information at the discretion of Clinica Esperanza. 

On location: 
• Screening for and data collection for glaucoma 
• Vision screening in the schools grade 3 and up in surrounding communities 
• Development and compilation of dental screening program information. 
• Volunteer work in the community close to the clinic working with children as tutors, helping with English or homework, playing sports with the children at a local school or Sol Foundation (non-profit). 

Project Application Process 

Students must fill out and submit a project application, CV and recent transcript to by October 15, 2021. Applications open September 29th. Students may apply to no more than two project opportunities and a separate application must be completed for each SRT project site. Any questions regarding the application, interview dates or general project information should be directed to Lysa MacKeen or Erin Gauldin. 

Students selected for participation in the SRT program will also need to complete the application through

Project Selection Criteria 

The ideal student volunteer is someone interested in a career in health promotion, a working knowledge of at least intermediate Spanish and previous international living experience.

Read more about the previous team’s work here and here. You can also read about the 2021 team’s time in their blogs here and here.