Caring Heart

Alumna Sada Herrera restores hope in West Africa

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Sada Herrera ’06 is devoting her life to addressing Sierra Leone’s overwhelming need for medical and dental care.

It’s hard to imagine that this country has six million people but only 75 registered physicians and only eight dentists,” the nursing graduate says.

Herrera and her husband, Gabriel, a dentist, have spent more than a year and a half in the West African nation as part of the Global Connection Partnership Network (GCPN), an international nonprofit that links people with churches and other organizations.

In November GCPN and several partners, including UT Arlington, helped open the Hope Center near Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital. The 11,000-square-foot center, which serves families devastated by the country’s 11-year civil war, features a dental and medical clinic, a conference room, male and female dormitories, classrooms, a computer lab, and a guest house.

UT Arlington participants included the Africa Program, College of Nursing, School of Social Work, College of Engineering, and Intercollegiate Athletics. Africa Program Director Alusine Jalloh coordinated the University’s efforts. Engineering professors designed the center’s electrical systems. Social work faculty contributed to the educational curriculum. Nursing professors consulted with medical personnel. Athletics donated sports equipment.

Herrera says she’s proud to have earned her degree from a university that’s restoring hope in the war-torn region.

This gives me an opportunity to use my nursing skills to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people of Sierra Leone. I have the ability—and the duty—to pass on the same knowledge I learned at UT Arlington.”

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