For Dr. Aaron Hall, being able to incorporate medical missions into his students’ lives was important. So important, in fact, that the assistant professor of exercise science asked about the opportunities for mission trips during his interview process with Trevecca.
“I must admit that question put a smile in my heart,” said Dr. Brenda Patterson, chair of the exercise science department. “It was one of the major factors in Aaron being asked to join our exercise science faculty. He understood the mission of Trevecca.”
Hall will lead his first Trevecca trip next week, alongside Dr. Yanice Mendez-Fernandez, associate professor of biology. Part of a FLARE (Faculty-Led Academic Research Experience) project, the trip will take students in Trevecca’s biology and exercise and sports science departments to spend their spring break (March 2-9) in Jinotega, Nicaragua, partnering with an organization called Mision Para Cristo.
The students will put the principles they’ve been learning in the classroom into practice, focusing on ways to prevent injury and infectious disease among the rural population. The group leaves early tomorrow morning.
“I have been on this trip before with a medical mission trip with Lipscomb University, and the people and country have captured my heart,” Hall said. “On my part of the trip, our students are currently doing research to better understand living and work conditions, work-safety relationship, health education levels for the communities in and surrounding Jinotega.”
Before coming to Trevecca, Hall was a full-time clinician in the physical therapy field and is a licensed physical therapist specializing in outpatient orthopedics, endurance athletes and spinal issues.
“I have left the role as a full-time clinician to become a full-time faculty and part-time clinician because I saw an opportunity to educate and empower the next generation of healthcare professionals,” Hall said. “I know from experience the influence that professors had on my life and career in physical therapy, and I strive to have the same effect on students here at Trevecca.”
Hall is passionate about equipping individuals improve their long-term health. That process includes encouraging people to engage in exercise, which decreases susceptibility to illness and injury, and teaching them the best ways to achieve their goals, in terms of exercise and recreation.
“I have seen how mortality rates are directly affected by your daily decisions regarding diet, exercise, spreading of germs, etc.,” Hall said. “I have seen how just educating people can cause a large positive effect in decreasing mortality rates.”
More than anything, Patterson says, Hall will help students to embody the spirit of Trevecca and live out their faith through service.
“The FLARE project objective is to educate the people of Jinotega, Nicaragua, help them understand some very basic principles of being healthy and to show God’s amazing love through investing in the lives of the people of Nicaragua,” Patterson said. “It will help our students better understand the teaching of Jesus in Mark 10:45: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”