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For five years, Dr. Jose Luis Rodriguez worked in the Amazon as an infectious diseases expert. When he returned to his home in Lima, he reached out to MEDLIFE and has been working with the NGO ever since.  

Dr. Jose Luis’s commitment to medicine began with his family. When his siblings fell ill, his father always asked Dr. Jose Luis to care for them. This motivated him to study medicine, which eventually led to a passion for attending patients.    

 What inspired you to work in MEDLIFE's Mobile Clinics?  
There are only a few organizations that dedicate their time to help poor patients like MEDLIFE does. Also, it is an opportunity for doctors to meet other professionals, new people, and students that come here bringing new energy that refuels us every year. 
Where do you work when you are not attending patients in the Mobile Clinics? 
When i'm not working in MEDLIFE, I work in the San Juan de Dios Hospital. I've also been studying oncology for the past two years in order for it to become my specialization.
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What experience impacted you the most when working in Mobile Clinics? Any particular case or patient? 
I'm the oldest doctor at MEDLIFE: I have worked here for nine years and have had a lot of experiences. The ones that impacted me the most are probably the most painful. In one case, we detected breast cancer in a patient named Carmen Solano. We helped her and followed her treatment but unfortunately she passed away. Despite the sorrowful moment, her family was very thankful for us. We attended Carmen’s funeral and MEDLIFE nearly took over the procession.
One rewarding experience was the case of Mr. Pineda, who has diabetes. We got him a prosthetic leg. He wanted to work again as a taxi driver and it is wonderful to see him working now.  
What do you enjoy the most in the Mobile Clinics? 
I enjoy spending my time with students. They have a positive energy that renews us all. I like teaching them and sharing our Peruvian culture with them. I also like being an inspiration for those who have decided to study medicine.  
What would you tell to the future volunteers that will come to a Mobile Clinics?  

Students leave their country, they invest money in something new and give their time to people they don't know anything about. I believe it's important that volunteers, as well as MEDLIFE staff, understand the value that this holds for patients.


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October 25, 2016 3:09 pm

Meet Student Advisory Board Part One

Written by Jake Kincaid

Hi! My name is Yash and I am currently in my second year of the Health Sciences Program at McMaster University. I was a MEDLIFE Volunteer Affairs Intern for the summer of 2016 and am now participating in MEDLIFE's Student Advisory Board, representing the Midwest region. Over time, MEDLIFE has become a very big part of my life. Spending 2 months in Lima for the VA Internship really allowed me to appreciate the work that MEDLIFE is doing. I was able to see the impact that staircases, sandwich carts, and ramps can have on people's lives. Not only did mobile clinics deliver care to inaccessible communities, but they also inspired volunteers to make a difference in their communities back home. I think that MEDLIFE's sustainability and vision set it apart from other NGO's, and this is why I chose to be a SAB member.  



My name is Alexi. I graduated from the University of Georgia and am a part of the South region of SAB. MEDLIFE is so close to my heart because of the genuine compassion all the workers and volunteers show to the patients abroad. Providing culturally-sensitive care is increasingly important when in different countries, and the great effort that MEDLIFE puts forth to make that happen is very important. Also, the excitement volunteers show, whether abroad or in the local chapters, is always so palpable when working with MEDLIFE, which makes helping the community so much more exciting and rewarding for ourselves and the people we serve.


 I'm Alysha, a third-year Medical Sciences student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I'm passionate about sustainable, community-based approaches to addressing global health inequality, and that's why I was so excited when I learned about MEDLIFE's mission and values. MEDLIFE listens to the communities it serves, protects them from voluntourism, and empowers them to address the root causes of their health problems and break cycles of poverty. That's a mission I can get behind.  
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My name is Connie. I am a recent University of Washington alumna and am excited to continue my MEDLIFE experience as a part of the SAB (Western region)! During my college career, MEDLIFE helped me develop a greater passion for healthcare, opening my eyes to a different perspective and more holistic approach to addressing the issues of inequality.

My name is Tatiana, I am a student at University of Florida. MEDLIFE is important to me because we share the same vision. I believe in equality despite social and economic standing in terms of healthcare as well as in all aspects. Working with MEDLIFE this past summer has shown me the difference that a few determined individuals can make and I want to continue making this difference back home.

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My name is Damaris Joubert Miranda from UPR Rio Piedras in Puerto Rico.  MEDLIFE is an organization that has impacted and changed my point of view of seeing life.  Many times we complain about the way we live but around the world there are many people with more needs than us, and yet with the few things they have, are the most happy and grateful people in the world. Helping people both here in Puerto Rico and other countries brings me satisfaction that I cannot express in words, because it is so great. I joined the SAB because I want to impact more people in the same way I was shocked and to recruit people to join MEDLIFE to help all or most of the needs either through medicine, education and/or development to communities with low incomes.


My name is Jay Wook Jun and I am currently a junior undergraduate at Cornell University. I'm from a small town called Closter in upper New Jersey and am excited to be serving on the MEDLIFE Student Advisory Board as a representative for the Northeast! I'm proud to be a part of MEDLIFE because as volunteers, we are helping improve health care accessibility for everyone. Even when the volunteer trips come to an end, the organization constantly has medical teams working in the field to help poverty-stricken communities. I joined the SAB because I wanted to become deeply involved in working with high schools, university MEDLIFE chapters, and volunteer teams abroad to spread awareness about MEDLIFE's mission. I am always thankful to the organization because being a part of MEDLIFE has not only deepened my interest in global health issues but also inspired me to become a doctor involved in international medicine someday.


My name is Jordyn and I go to the University of Arizona! I will be working with chapters in the West this year and couldn't be more excited to further promote MEDLIFE through this region. I wanted to be on the SAB because over the past three years working with my own chapter, I have really fallen in love with the MEDLIFE mission and the work we do internationally, as well as the opportunities we have to make a change in our own communities through work with our local chapters. I have been able to see the incredible impact we can make on the lives of families living in poverty and am looking forward to helping to expand and support our chapters in order to reach and impact even more people.

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My name is Nina Bracciano. I am Senior at Florida State University, studying Biological Sciences, aspiring to become a Physician. I am apart of the South SAB region. I have been apart of MEDLIFE FSU-Health for 3 years, and have attended 2 Mobile Clinic trips. MEDLIFE is important to me because it brings like-minded students together to strive to make a difference on campus and abroad on clinic trips by providing the necessary healthcare and education to low income communities. I joined SAB in hopes to expand the MEDLIFE mission to more students in the south. 


Hi everyone! My name is Alex Hatke, I'm a second year student at The Ohio State University studying Public Health, and I'm an SAB member for the Northeast Region. I joined the SAB because I'm always looking for ways to get involved with MEDLIFE, and after being a Volunteer Affairs intern this past summer, it seemed like a great way to stay involved after returning home. Being a part of MEDLIFE is important to me because I really believe in the organization, that healthcare is a human right, and that each person deserves equality and equity.


         My name is Nisa, I recently graduated from UPR Cayey Puerto Rico. I decided to join MEDLIFE SAB to continue being a part of their work. I want to help impact more communities and help broaden the organization in Puerto Rico so that we can keep spreading the word, educating and improving our surrounding communities for the better.



August 31, 2016 11:01 am

Meet the Year-long Interns 2016-2017 2

Written by Rosali Vela


Name: David Jetha 
Hometown: Orlando, FL
School: University of Central Florida/ University of Florida 
Major: Biology B.S. and Anthropology B.A. 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: Initially, a friend invited me to attend one of our university's chapter meetings. After refusing to go multiple times, I finally attended one and I'm so glad that I did. I fell in love with everyone's passion to help others and soon started working for our chapter's founding Executive Board. The following year, I served as the UCF chapter president and on the Student Advisory Board (SAB). In total, I've participated on 3 mobile clinics through MEDLIFE in Lima, Riobamba, and Managua.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I'm a very curious person because I love learning about other cultures and the challenges that people experience. My ideal Saturday is reading a book or enjoying an in-depth conversation at a coffee shop. I also really enjoy traveling; I've been to over half of the U.S. states and am hoping to visit the remaining ones within the next few years. Finally, I'm a big fan of strategic games and am an avid Magic: the Gathering player.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: MEDLIFE's internship program offers a unique lens into the lives of people living in extreme poverty by examining their needs, challenges, and testimonials of daily life. MEDLIFE also works towards identifying root causes of these conditions to build sustainable programs and care that helps people build better lives and futures. I wanted to be a part of this MEDLIFE movement and work to make a difference in others' lives.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is colder than I remember it, but the city is vast with an immensely rich culture. The people are very kind and are extremely accommodating when I forget how to say phrases in Spanish. Even though Lima's streets are always active and full of life, I've felt at home here and I'm looking forward to exploring more of the city.

What are your goals for this internship?: Personally, I'm hoping to build communication skills and stronger patient rapport. I'm also hoping to gain greater understanding of challenge and inequality in developing communities. For MEDLIFE, I hope to contribute my talents to helping the organization expand and reach more communities and volunteers.


Name: Joe Comer 
Hometown: Duluth, GA
School: University of Georgia (UGA)
Major: Biology and Psychology  

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: My friends invited me to a MEDLIFE chapter meeting at my school in my Freshman year. At the time, I had class, but decided to check it out one week when class had been cancelled. I quickly realized just how much MEDLIFE's approach to global health and service lined up with my own. I started going to meetings where I learned more about Global Health disparities and issues.  I then began volunteering at MEDLIFE service events around my university. As I got more involved with my Chapter, I began to get more involved with MEDLIFE as a whole.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I'm a recent college graduate experiencing the world outside of school for the first time. It's a unique transition to make while also transitioning to living in a new country and culture. Like almost every other early-20s aged person, I love watching movies, reading books, playing games, and going for hikes.  Peru is a beautiful country, so I'm looking forward to exploring this beautiful place.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: I believed that being a MEDLIFE intern provided a wonderful opportunity to serve others before devoting my time to a permanent career or graduate school. This is an organization that greatly influenced my college career and future goals, and I want to ensure that MEDLIFE as an organization can continue to not only serve the people of the regions it works in, but also provide college students around the world the same, influential opportunities it provided me.

What was your first impression of Lima?: I first came to Lima on a Mobile Clinic my Junior year of college.  My first impression was that the city was bigger than I had expected it to be.  Everywhere we went was a long drive away, and Peruvian traffic can be quite hectic.  I quickly saw just how much character and culture there was squeezed into every square foot of this city, from the unique architecture to the incredible people. It's a city that should be experienced and not just seen.

What are your goals for this internship?: I may have completed my undergraduate career, but I am still deciding what career path is the best fit for me. While I'm figuring that out, I hope to expand on my knowledge of Global Health systems and disparities. And lastly, I hope to improve on my, admittedly, lackluster Spanish language skills.


Name: Sevan Misirliyan 
Hometown: Novi, Michigan 
School: University of Michigan 
Major: Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: In my junior year of college, one of my good friends told me that she was planning to attend a MEDLIFE mobile clinic over spring break. After looking into MEDLIFE, I was both intrigued and drawn into its mission and decided to sign up for the trip as well. That week ended up having a much larger impact on me than I could have imagined, and I am excited to be back for the upcoming year.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a 2015 graduate of the University of Michigan. Any close friend of mine would tell you that I'm just a tad bit obsessed with Michigan football.  Outside of that, I love traveling and experiencing different cultures. When I'm home, you'll most likely find me curled up with a good book or binge watching Netflix.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: What stuck with me most after my week long service trip was MEDLIFE's mission and methodology in attacking poverty and healthcare disparities. It drove my passion to continue working with underserved communities and led to my decision to volunteer in Armenia the following summer. Through these experiences, I found that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and global health, but I knew I wanted to take some time off before attending graduate school. In coming across the year-long internship program on MEDLIFE's website, the description seemed like the perfect fit. It gave me the opportunity to travel, work with a diverse group of people, and work within and learn about the healthcare sectors of underserved communities. In the coming year, I look forward to having a more extensive role with MEDLIFE as an intern and am very excited to start working with the program.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Big and filled with crazy traffic! I was surprised to see how much of a bustling city Lima was. Having grown up in the suburbs, I look forward to a year in a big city. I can't complain about the food either. The menú lunch deals are delicious and hard to turn down at 11 soles (~$3).

What are your goals for this internship?: In having the opportunity to work directly with the communities that MEDLIFE serves, I hope to take the time to get to know the local community members that we work with and learn about their unique stories. It is my hope to gain a better understanding about the cultural and socioeconomic barriers that exist and how they exacerbate current disparities. Just as importantly, I hope to learn how we can play a role in narrowing the gaps of these disparities within these communities. Additionally, I hope to take full advantage of living in Lima and immerse myself within the Peruvian culture and improve my Spanish.

a2Name: Alison Bradley 
Hometown: Rockford, Illinois 
School: University of Michigan 
Major: Major Spanish, Minor Biology 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I volunteered on a clinic in Lima as a sophomore with the chapter at my university. Up until that point I had thought about a future doing research, but my experience with MEDLIFE made me realize my passion for working with people! It also gave me the push I needed to commit to declaring as a Spanish major.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: The rest of my family followed me to Michigan two years ago, so I am now dealing with my transition into identifying as true Michigander. Outside of school I was a caregiver at a non-profit care program for children and adults with special needs, where we provided quality care for our friends and looked for any reason to celebrate with cake! I love team sports and somehow found my way on to my University's Club Sailing Team. I spent four years squished in a mini-van with my best friends traveling all over the country to compete at regattas.

Why Did You Decide To Become An Intern?:  Where I grew up quality health care was a privilege that not every one had access to. I wanted to work for MEDLIFE because I respect their values as an organization and I want to learn more about breaking down these barriers to equitable health care access.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Pedestrians never have the right of way. Never. After I got past that, I was excited to learn about the culture of Peru and explore all of the amazingly unique neighborhoods of Lima!

What are your goals for this internship?:I want to learn more about providing respectful, quality health care in medically underserved areas! I'm also looking forward to improving my Spanish speaking skills, and possibly becoming an amateur salsa dancer.


Name: Shayna Hamburg 
Hometown: Leawood, Kansas 
School: University of Colorado Boulder 
Major: Sociology with a minor in Education 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: MEDLIFE was recommended to me by a friend when I was expressing my interest in the field of public health. Through exploration of the website I quickly realized that this organization was a perfect fit for my goals and aspirations.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Although born and raised in the Midwest, I made my way to Boulder, Colorado as soon as possible in order to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Besides skiing and hiking, you can find me reading a good book, eating out with friends, or striking up a conversation with strangers in a coffee shop.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: After studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was determined to find a way to live abroad to improve my Spanish. Additionally, I was hoping to get experience in a the field of public health. At first I wasn't sure if it was possible to accomplish both of these goals at the same time, but then I found the MEDprograms internship, which proved to be perfect solution!

What was your first impression of Lima?: After I clicked my heels three times, I found myself in Lima, Peru! Upon arrival, I was immediately overwhelmed due to the endless streets, cars, and people that make up this city. While this massive metropolis seems daunting at first, it leaves me eager to discover all that Lima has to offer. I guess I'm not in Kansas anymore!

What are your goals for this internship?: I hope this internship not only allows me to improve my Spanish skills, but also provides me with the tools to make a meaningful difference. Additionally, I hope to develop deeper insight into public health and development work. I intend to spend the next year serving those who need it most and gaining experiences that will aid my work in the future.

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Name: Sam Stevens 
Hometown: London, UK
School: University of Westminster 
Major: Politics and History BA
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I applied to the communications internship, took a flight and here I am!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am passionate about politics and social justice, I hope to one day work in the political departments of the charity or public sector. I love sports and will play any sport if someone asks me, I also like to dance, write poetry, watch and discuss arthouse or classic films, art and philosophy. I'm an old soul so you will probably find me either engaging 100% or not at all.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: I had a couple of job offers in other countries which were salaried, however I felt like my traveling and kindred spirit were not spent and thus I wanted to share my love and energy for a little longer!

What was your first impression of Lima?: This place is intense.

What are your goals for this internship?: Help others. Help myself.

August 24, 2016 3:15 pm

Meet the Year-long Interns 2016-2017 I

Written by Rosali Vela


Name: Allie Krugman
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
School: Claremont McKenna College
Major: International Relations with Human Rights Sequence 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I first learned of MEDLIFE from a high school friend who worked as a year-long intern.  After researching the organization's mission and work online, I decided that I wanted to become involved.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I have lived most of my life in sunny Southern California, close to the beach and fresh ahi poke. I graduated in 2015 from Claremont McKenna College and have since been working in Los Angeles at an HIV/AIDS non-profit. After MEDLIFE, I hope to venture out of California by attending graduate school for public health on the East Coast!  I enjoy having an active lifestyle: I pole-vaulted competitively for nine years, rock-climb both indoors and outdoors, and hope to become a better salsa dancer.  I also like to read and eat sushi.  I love meeting new people as well as growing my perspective with new ideas and experiences.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: During my junior year of college, I spent a semester abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, where I studied social justice and community development with the SIT program.  I fell in love with Chile: I found a close friend in my host sister, was enchanted by the bohemian and colorful city, and was drawn to the country's legacy of social movements and youth activism. The following summer, I completed an internship in Córdoba, Argentina, where I taught sexual health workshops to a group of young girls.  Through my experiences in Latin America as well as my undergraduate studies in International Relations, I became interested in identifying the political, economic, and social structures that give rise to health inequalities worldwide.  After I graduated, I sought work experience that would develop my interest in the intersection of health and human rights, as well as provide me with insight into field of public health from the perspective of a non-profit organization. The MEDLIFE internship was the perfect opportunity to gain insight into the real issues faced by low-income communities and analyze the steps taken to address them.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is a large and vibrant Latin American city, bustling with people and very loose traffic laws.  We were quickly exposed to Lima's high socioeconomic inequality, demonstrated by the stark contrast between our environmentally-friendly San Borja and the expanse of shantytowns in Pamplona Alta, where residents lack access to water and stable infrastructure.

What are your goals for this internship?: Through the internship at MEDLIFE, I hope to gain a valuable on-the-ground perspective on poverty and the realities of working in the field of human rights.  I hope my work with MEDLIFE will have a measurable impact for the low-income communities of Lima. I also hope to take initiative through an independent project that will be helpful to MEDLIFE.


Name: Tory Finley 
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
School: Florida State Univeristy- Go Noles!
Major: Spanish and Italian 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I discovered MEDLIFE during my freshman year at FSU. While I majored in languages, my goal was actually to use my skills as a linguist and my knowledge of different cultures to work with Hispanic populations as a physician. I saw a flyer advertising our campus chapter's trip to Esmeraldas, Ecuador, and saw the perfect opportunity to work towards that dream. Best decision I ever made.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I'm a Navy brat, so I was basically born to be a traveler. From a very young age, my parents taught me to love and appreciate different languages and cultures, and that has led me to where I am today. I've ridden an elephant, been to almost every country in Europe, and my family once lived in Sicily, Italy, for three years! As a result, I am fluent in Italian (so don't take me to Olive Garden, unless you want me to correct the menu). I have worked with Hispanic migrant populations in Florida for the past two years, and loved every second. I am currently applying to medical school, and hope to be able to return and serve those same communities as a physician. I am incredibly passionate about culturally competent medicine, and I'm so excited to see where that passion takes me next! Fun facts: I almost majored in musical theater, I LOVE chocolate, and I once wore a Harry Potter uniform to school for a solid year (and am still very proud of it).

Why did you decide to become an intern?: My first mobile clinic experience really changed my view of the world, as well as my academic path. I chose my language major thinking "Oh, it will be useful to also speak Spanish as a doctor, given the rising Hispanic population in the U.S." When I left Ecuador, though, that major took on a whole new dimension. I threw myself into Hispanic cultural studies, and began pursuing classes in sociology, eager to try and understand where the problems I observed during my time in Esmeraldas had originated. MEDLIFE gave me a whole new way to approach medicine, and inspired me to try to change the world around me for the better. I had a gap year before medical school, and realized that there was nothing I would rather do than return to South America and work for the organization that inspired my path...and here I am!

What was your first impression of Lima?: My first thought was literally: "Oh, thank goodness, the Florida heat is gone." Seriously, though, it was crazy how different the weather was. I went from constant sun and ridiculous heat and humidity to cool temperatures and pretty regular cloud cover. The way people drive in Lima, however, is so much like the crazy bustle of Italian roadways that it felt just like home.

What are your goals for this internship?: I am excited to improve my Spanish even more, and I want to leave this internship with a deeper understanding of sociological and infrastructural factors that play into poverty, and how these trickle down to affect underserved populations' health. I plan on taking the knowledge I gain here and applying it to migrant healthcare in the U.S.--while I love Peru, and I love MEDLIFE, there are many communities of underserved individuals back home, and I am determined to improve their experience and get them the help they so desperately need.


Name: Emily Gardner 
Hometown: Southlake, TX (near Dallas)
School: Vanderbilt University 2015
Major: Biology and Spanish, Art History minor

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: My dear friend from another volunteer trip found out about MEDLIFE and decided to start a chapter at Vanderbilt. She popped the question (asked me to be her Vice President) and of course I said yes! I subsequently went on a mobile clinic to Cuzco during the summer before my junior year and also was an SAB member. I was the Co-President during my senior year and went on another amazing mobile clinic to Esmeraldas before graduation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born and raised in Texas and come from an ample family of seven younger brothers, two parents, and a dog. After college I served for a year with AmeriCorps in San Francisco at a community clinic acting primarily as a health coach for overweight pediatric patients and their families. I love dance of all styles, starting books and not finishing them, cult classic films, attempting to meditate, meeting new people, and volunteering. I identify as a pathological extrovert and live to eat rather than eat to live. As for my life goals, I hope to eventually become a primary care Pediatrician, serve with the Peace Corps, work with Doctors Without Borders, and maybe teach dance classes.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: Since I devoted so much time to MEDLIFE in college, I decided that the internship was the natural next step; for me, there is little point to joining an organization if you cannot learn, grow, and deepen your involvement with it. The ability to live abroad is also extremely important to me; I place a lot of value on travel and broadening my global perspective. Most importantly, the experiences that I had on MEDLIFE mobile clinics in college radically changed my view of the world as well as my career path. I whole-heartedly believe that they made me a better and more well-rounded person. If I can help give that experience to even one college student via involvement with my chapters, it will be a successful year for me.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima was different than I was expecting! It's a a very large and bustling city, which is great because there are endless resources to tap into and corners of the city to explore. Life never seems to stop here and it's easy to thrive off the collective energy of everyone around you. The weather when you first arrive is a little grey, but I would say it's cozy rather than dreary. From Zumba classes at a nearby park to wonderfully cheap food, there's always something to do.

What are your goals for this internship?: From my year with AmeriCorps, I was able to learn a great deal about domestic health disparities. Through the MEDLIFE Volunteer Affairs Internship, I hope to learn more about the healthcare inequalities that run rampant in Latin America and on an international scale and more importantly, how someone like me can help start closing the gap. It has already become apparent to me that MEDLIFE and the communities we serve have many needs, be it funding for a new staircase, access to clean water, or medications. I hope to be able to foster thoughtful discourse with my chapters in the U.S in order to encourage and inspire them to affect change both locally and globally.

a8Name: Marissa Reinhart
Hometown: Fostoria, Ohio
School: The Ohio State University 
Major: B.S. in Pharmeceutical Studies  

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I found MEDLIFE by searching for volunteer organizations on campus my freshman year. I attended a few meetings, one of which talked about their next mobile clinic trip to Moshi, Tanzania, and I was hooked. Participating in that mobile clinic was life-changing and led me to participate in this internship.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I'm a small town girl with big dreams. I hope to work with many people and communities to better others' as well as my own life. I'm also passionate about the environment and love to be outdoors! Traveling and meeting new people from different cultures makes me the happiest.

Why Did You Decide To Become An Intern?  I just graduated in May and wanted to take time off before heading to grad school to travel and practice my Spanish. MEDLIFE was the perfect option for me because it is directly related to the issues I care about most. I love MEDLIFE's model and how they operate as an NGO, so it was a great fit for me!

What was your first impression of Lima?: That it is a huge city with lots of traffic, probably because I got here during rush hour. However, along with a large city comes tons of things to do and explore which I love. Also, food here is amazing!

What are your goals for this internship?: To learn more about how NGOs operate, especially in the scope of public health. I would like to expand my knowledge of the challenges patients and communities face every day and how these challenges became a prominent reality. It is important to me to learn about the infrastructure that leads to major social injustices and how MEDLIFE goes about solving those issues in order to translate those solutions into future experiences.


Name: Brittany Cook
Hometown: Papilion, Nebraska 
School: University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Major: Biological Sciences 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: There was not a chapter on my campus my first year at the University. I heard someone talking about a new organization on campus in one of my classes that focused on giving health care to those in need. After asking for more details, I attended a few meetings and joined the organization the following semester. After seeing the impact the mobile clinic had on the members who went that semester, I decided to go the following year. After spending a week in Lima, myself, I had a further understanding of what MEDLIFE stood for. I understood the importance of the efforts made by members on campus who fundraised for the organization to help it grow and help communities in need. I remained an active member of the organization during my last year at the University through fundraising and informing others about MEDLIFE.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born and raised in Nebraska (Go Big Red) and moved with my family to Maryland after graduating in May 2015. I enjoy hiking, coffee/tea, puns, and reading - my favorite books being Harry Potter. I also enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and medical science; I am aspiring to become a doctor and find a career that integrates these interests.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: I first became interested in interning with MEDLIFE after discussing the position with the intern who led my mobile clinic in March 2014. The conversation began as a form of distraction while I passed her heavy buckets of cement to build the staircase but quickly turned into something I saw for my own future. Through her descriptions, I saw the unique way that MEDLIFE cares for those who have limited or no access to healthcare. I wanted to be a part of an organization that sees its patients as unique and deserving individuals and leaves a lasting impact on the surrounding communities.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Being from a suburb in the Midwest, I first saw Lima as slightly overwhelming and confusing. As I explored the city, I was shocked by the vast differences between the districts of the city. Some districts are extravagant while others are lacking in basic needs such as water and electricity. In San Borja, specifically, the varying cultural influences are evident in the shops, buildings, and food selections. The people take pride of their beautiful and vibrant city; the parks are welcoming, the landscaping intricate, and the people welcoming.

What are your goals for this internship?: I want to cultivate an encouraging environment for students who are in MEDLIFE. I hope to support the campus chapters and enable them to grow therefore helping MEDLIFE to expand and reach more communities in need. My goal is to ultimately learn all I can about MEDLIFE and the people we are aiding so that I can spread the knowledge and further develop the organization.


Name: Kristine Zimmerman
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
School: University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Major: Biology/ Pre- Medicine, minor in Gerontology
How I got involved with MEDLIFE:  I got involved with MEDLIFE my junior year in college through the chapter on my campus.  I attended a mobile clinic that spring in Lima, Peru.  This allowed me to see the disparity in health care around the world, and helped me to recognize what I could do to help my own communities back home.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in South Dakota, and decided to go to the University of Nebraska- Lincoln for my undergraduate degree (Go Big Red!).  Although Nebraska has fueled my love for football I grew up playing soccer and continue to be an avid Argentina and Barcelona fan.  I am an adrenaline- junkie of sorts and love most sports.  I also love to cook and look forward to experiencing Peruvian cuisine, especially churos!  If I'm not eating, you can usually find me reading, running or watching Grey's Anatomy.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: I have a great respect for the goals and missions of MEDLIFE.  There is a great need to help people around the world, but I believe there is a greater need for people to be empowered.  MEDLIFE goes above and beyond every day to ensure that the people we encounter are treated with respect, dignity and equality.  The deep conections MEDLIFE workers have with members of the communities they help is astonishing and creates pathways for effective medical care, follow-up care and continued community improvements.  MEDLIFE listens to and understands how to attain what the poor need.  They empower these people to work together to achieve their goals, which is exactly the model I wish to use with future patients as a physician.  

What was your first impression of Lima?: Honestly, Lima is completely overwhelming.  Coming from the Midwest, where most places are a small town or have a similar feel, moving to a big city was a lot to take in.  Everyday is a new experience, whether it's seeing a unique place, exploring exotic foods you can't pronounce yet or engaging in cultural activities... I can't wait to see what's all out here!

What are your goals for this internship?: I am dedicated to the things that I'm passionate about, which includes improving public health and conditions for the poor communities here- and a huge goal for me is simply getting more people to be passionate about this as well.  I want to take advantage of the time I have here, working beyond 8-5 and going out into the communities as much as possible to meet the people and understand their struggles in order to further MEDLIFE as an organization.  

June 14, 2016 9:23 am

Meet the Interns Summer 2016 part 2

Written by Rosali Vela


Name: Chris Johnson
Hometown: New York City
School: Queens College
Major: Neuroscience with a Minor in Chemistry

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I discovered MEDLIFE at my school's club fair at the beginning of Freshman year. I was an active member of our chapter throughout my first semester and decided to attend my first Mobile Clinic in Cusco, Peru over the following winter break. Experiencing my first Mobile Clinic instilled in me a fervent passion for global health that continues to drive many of my endeavors today.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born and raised in the borough of Queens in New York City. I am a drummer and I enjoy creating and listening to music. A non-work goal of mine during my stay in Lima is to become proficient at dancing salsa. I love traveling, going to New York Mets games and watching Game of Thrones. I aspire to become a medical doctor working in global health. I have the hearing ability of a 75-year-old former jackhammer operator.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: To say I was changed by my first Mobile Clinic would be a vast understatement. I gained a new global perspective that drastically altered my entire college career and will likely affect my path in medicine. After attending my first MEDLIFE trip, I became significantly more involved with my chapter and went on to be elected as chapter President for my Sophomore year. Subsequent to completing my first semester as chapter President and attending a second Mobile Clinic in Lima, I realized that serving as an E-Board member and attending trips simply was not enough for me. I had finally found an organization whose mission and operations I fell in love with, and I wanted to dedicate more of my life to furthering its extraordinary initiative.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Surprisingly, it reminded me of home! From the diverse seasonal weather to the taxi drivers who have seemingly no regard for pedestrian safety, it reminded me of the hustle and bustle of New York City. My enamored state was soon brought to a halt as I learned more about the socio-political divide plaguing Lima. I was heartbroken upon seeing and conducting more research on Lima's poorest communities and the infamous “Wall of Shame.” After undergoing such eye opening experiences and realizing that I had the platform to help make a difference, I was compelled to return to Lima in the summer and make a greater contribution to the MEDLIFE movement.

What are your goals for this internship?: I look forward to gaining a more comprehensive understanding of global health and where I belong in the field. After my experiences with MEDLIFE to this point, I cannot imagine excluding global medical and developmental initiatives from my professional life. I hope to have the opportunity to practice medicine in developing regions around the world.


Name: Sarah Shawky
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
School: McMaster University
Major: Biomedical Discovery & Commerce - B.H.Sc & Accelerated Masters 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: In September 2015, I noticed the MEDLIFE information stand at my university club fair. I had a friend who had volunteered at a Mobile Clinic in Lima before, and she would always tell me what an amazing and different experience she had working alongside other students and staff with common motivations. I decided to take a risk, join the MEDLIFE community and be actively involved as much as I could to gain a better understanding of health care in developing countries and to learn about different cultures. I found myself opening my eyes to the broad spectrum of opportunity and optimism shared by MEDLIFE and its participants and could not wait to become a part of the team in action. Now, here I am in Peru, ready to start and never stop.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am an outgoing and spontaneous university student trying to figure out her life and what she would like to do. However, as of right now, I reside in Canada, I am of Egyptian background and I love to help people. I love to teach, learn, laugh and I know that I would like to become an oral surgeon - I believe in smiles. You are most likely to find me trying to brush the tangles out of my frizzy hair, taking pictures, drinking tea at a new hidden cafe discovered online, eating ridiculous amounts of sushi or indoor rock climbing. 

Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to become an intern with MEDLIFE because I knew that my long-term goal was to be involved in the medical field, and more specifically, I knew that working with an NGO that provides healthcare in developing countries would help me solidify this goal. One of my greatest past times is photo editing and capturing moments that I would love to remember forever. Sharing memories and promoting global awareness among my family and friends has always been important to me, so I decided that spending my summer as a Communications Social Media Intern with MEDLIFE would be amazing and that I would definitely learn so much!

What was your first impression of Lima?: My first impression of Lima was that it was so awake and lively at night! I arrived very late and was surprised to see the entire city still lit up and alive! I also fell in love with the light heartedness of the locals and the colourful architecture. I´ve also learnt to appreciate the one and a half days of sunshine that appears in Lima, per week. 

What are your goals for this internship?: Throughout my internship, I hope to be able to broaden my understanding of global health and awareness, contribute to the communities in need, learn some Spanish and successfully portray the face of MEDLIFE through my social media contributions. I plan to leave with an accurate vision of what goes on in Lima in order to project this same perspective onto people back home. I hope to be able to make connections with other fellow interns and to inspire, teach and encourage others to become actively involved with MEDLIFE as well! Oh, and I hope to be able to successfully cross the road to the grocery store without looking like a foreigner running for her life. 


Name: Ifelola Ojuri
Hometown: Cambridge, England
School: University of Southern California
Major: Health & Humanity B.A., Accelerated Master of Public Health

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I was browsing the Internet looking for internships for the summer when I stumbled across MEDLIFE's page.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a rising senior at the University of Southern California (Fight On!), but raised in Cambridge England. My spirit animal is a giraffe, specifically the tea-drinking species. I'm pretty tall, incredibly clumsy and have super long legs.  In my spare time I drink and blog about tea; just imagine a giraffe with a top hat, sipping tea and exploring the world – that is me.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: MEDLIFE's mission and sustainable practices are what ultimately drew me to the internship. Every nonprofit is unique, and I wanted an opportunity to learn more about what makes MEDLIFE different and what they plan to continue in the future. Interning at MEDLIFE will allow me to see firsthand the intersection between global public heath and community development and whether or not I would like to pursue something like this in the future. “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have”. - Margaret Mead

What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is loud, bustling and diverse. From the terrain to the food, there's a lot to explore. Also, each time you attempt to cross the road will be a near death experience.

What are your goals for this internship?: To come away with a more holistic view of the global public health sector, and the social justice issues that are currently happening in Peru. To fully understand communicate MEDLIFE's mission both passionately and effectively. To have a renewed sense of understanding of how the interconnectedness of social issues is both of benefit and hindrance in closing the inequality gap. To gain transferrable skills, which I can use both when I return home and beyond.  


supporters12Name: Yash Diwan
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario
School: McMaster University
Major: Health Sciences with Global Health Specialization 

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: To tell the truth, I was not actually involved with MEDLIFE in any way, shape, or form before this internship. One of my friends from school shared their experiences at a Mobile Clinic on facebook and said that it was a life changing experience. I decided to do a little more research, and, once on the MEDLIFE website, I found out that I could apply for an internship. I was already on the website, so I figured, why not? Small things, like a facebook post, can lead to significant changes in one's life. Now, I have the opportunity to travel, immerse myself in different cultures, and be a part of something that really makes a difference, all because of a facebook post. Also, I will be joining McMaster's MEDLIFE chapter as an Expansion Officer next year and I am excited to continue my journey with MEDLIFE after this internship.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in India and my family moved around quite a bit before we finally settled in Canada. I just finished my first year at McMaster University in the Health Sciences program and am planning on specializing in global health next year. I love reading, and am one of the very few people who actually signs books out at my school library (I don't know why it's called a library if nobody reads any of the books in it). I almost exclusively listen to hip-hop, but have recently tried to expand my musical taste and have started listening to a little bit of reggae and jazz. An interesting fact about me is that I played the trombone in middle school, but I almost never practiced. During class, I would just pretend that I was playing and my music teacher, Mr. Kershaw, never realized that I didn't actually know how to play any of the songs. Unfortunately, after a year and a half, I got caught and I got kicked out of the band. All good things come to an end. Another thing about me is that I love asking questions, and those who know me know that I do not shy away from saying what's on my mind. This can be both a gift and a curse, and I am still figuring out how to deal with this side of my personality.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: I think that this internship is an excellent way for me to expand my horizons, meet new people, and help an organization which truly embodies my core values. I believe that we, as human beings, have the responsibility to love one another and help each other as much as we can. I think that there is more that unites us than separates us, and I believe that MEDLIFE is an organization that truly represents these beliefs. Being a MEDLIFE intern is definitely going to help me learn a lot about myself, and will allow me to hone some very important skills. Apart from allowing me to contribute to sustainable development and Mobile Clinics, I think that this internship will arm me with the tools and information I need, to make an impact in McMaster's MEDLIFE chapter. I hope that I can apply the skills I acquire through this internship into my local community, so that I can be a part of a positive change.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Traffic. Honking. Shouting. Confusion. Everything in Lima moves so quickly, and there is so much to see. Going somewhere you have never been is always exciting, and I am trying to soak all of it up as much as I can. It's the little details that make a city what it is, and it's very important to pick up on these little details. Initially, going out to buy groceries or getting the laundry done was a little daunting, but as I am getting to know the city and the language a little better, I am becoming more comfortable with it. I am very excited to continue learning about Lima and (hopefully) getting a little better at Spanish. 

What are your goals for this internship?: My biggest goal for this internship is to explore. I want to see as much as I can, and I want to meet as many people as I can. I also want to contribute to the communities in Lima and make as big of an impact as I can. I hope that my time here will not only allow me to help MEDLIFE and the local communities, but will also push me to acquire new skills and will give me the opportunity for self-development.


Name: Elisa Gomez
Hometown: Clearwater, Florida
School: Florida State University
Major: Family and Child Sciences

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I became involved with the MEDLIFE chapter at my university as a college freshman in 2013. Throughout my first semester in school, I was introduced to the MEDLIFE mission and I was drawn to it immediately. It was clear how much of an impact this organization was making globally, and I wanted to be a part of it! It was not long before I packed my bags and headed for Esmeraldas, Ecuador for my first Mobile Clinic.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in Medellin, Colombia where lived until I was four. In the year 2000, my family immigrated to the United States in hopes of a better future and a chance at an education for my sister and I. Now, 16 years later, I will be going into my last year of undergrad this August and I plan on pursuing a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies soon after. I enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures and their beliefs. My passion for equal access to health and education for all individuals has pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing me explore these human rights in a variety of different countries. Oh, if I'm not traveling, studying or being a homebody, you can usually find me eating. I LOVE food and chocolate, too!

Why did you decide to become an intern?: As a MEDLIFE volunteer I was able to learn a lot about how the clinics were run. After hearing so many stories from the patients and their families, I could not help but to wonder “what now?”. I knew that as a MEDPrograms intern I would be able to finally answer this question by visiting patients alongside the doctors and nurses and participate in MEDLIFE follow-up service visits. I knew that interning for MEDLIFE would be such a wonderful opportunity because we all share one common goal, and that is to ensure that medicine, education and development are perceived as human rights.

What was your first impression of Lima?: When I first arrived in Lima all I could think was “Finally I can escape the Florida heat!”

What are your goals for this internship?: This summer I hope to get a lot of field experience which will allow for me to understand the role that MEDLIFE plays in the patients journey towards a healthier future. On a more personal note, I know that this internship will allow me the opportunity to grow as an individual. I want to absorb all that I learn throughout my time here in Lima in order to return home and share with my friends, family and university chapter the impact that MEDLIFE had not only on the patients, but on myself as well!

supporters9Name: Riley Hess
Hometown: Allen, Texas
School: University of Kansas
Major: Psychology

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I got involved with MEDLIFE during my freshman year of college when our chapter president visited my class to talk about an upcoming trip to Ecuador.  I'd wanted to get involved in an organization like MEDLIFE and to take a trip like this one for quite some time, so I signed up the next day.  After an amazing experience in Ecuador, I applied for executive board and served on the fundraising team and as fundraising chair for the following two semesters.  This next year I will serve as Mobile Clinics officer for our chapter.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in a northern suburb of Dallas, Texas, and went out of state to KU to study psychology.  I am very interested in research in the psychology field and plan to continue on into a PhD program to study to become a clinical psychologist.  I also love Spanish, art (primarily painting), plants, and traveling to new places.  I have been involved in a variety of service projects and love to serve others.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: To get a more hands-on experience with MEDLIFE and to learn about what goes on behind the scenes, to bring back knowledge that will help our chapter thrive, to gain a global perspective, and more generally because MEDLIFE's mission is something that is close to my heart.  Being an intern has been a goal of mine since my first MEDLIFE trip. Volunteering is an incredible experience, but I chose this internship so that I could do summer-long work to bring much needed resources to areas experiencing poverty in the field while helping to improve the program from the office.  

What was your first impression of Lima?:  My first impression was “I can't wait to explore!”.  There are always people walking around this busy city and there is plenty to do. And the food is great, which is always a plus. I hope I have time to see all the sights in this lively city.

What are your goals for this internship?:  As much as I want to say my goal is to make a difference, I know that real change takes time, so my goal is to be a part of that positive change.  I also hope to learn the language and about Peruvian culture.

supporters3Name: Thomas O'Neill

Hometown: Bradford, UK.

School: University of the West of England

Major: Politics & International Relations

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I actually stumbled across an advertisement for the MEDLIFE Film & Photography internship whilst scrolling down my Facebook news feed earlier this year. Upon doing some additional research into the goals and values of MEDLIFE I decided to apply, never expecting to actually get shortlisted for an interview. Two skype interviews later I was offered the internship and, before I knew it, found myself flying out to Lima for the summer.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I have a passion for filmmaking and video journalism. I enjoy most sports and love travelling. Back home I have a dog called Miko and a cat called Tibbs, both of whom are very mischievous.  

Why did you decide to become an intern?: Pursuing a degree in Politics & International Relations has enabled me to study the world in a lot more depth than I previoiusly have at any point in my life, since the suffering of those elsewhere in the world due to poverty is often a main topic of discussion in both lectures and seminars. Because of this, I have developed a strong interest in the work of non-profit organizations in general, as well as in the deeper social and economic issues at play throughout the communities in need of such assistance. Having been brought up in the UK with access to good health care and education, I feel somewhat obliged to do what I can to help people without similar access to such services. After all, no one chooses to be born into poverty. An internship at MEDLIFE is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to do something worthwhile for the impoverished communities here in Peru whilst also gaining valuable experience in a field I may well want to pursue a career in, upon graduating from university.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Strange, chaotic and exciting are all words that immediately spring to mind. The crazy taxi ride to the intern house from the airport in Lima was an experience I will never forget. I remember feeling a real sense of adventure, a feeling I hadn't had since setting off to travel around South East Asia back in January 2014. So far, the Peruvian people have been very friendly, the food has been great and the weather has not too bad either!

What are your goals for this internship?: To combine the knowledge and skills I have gained throughout my university studies with the experience I have in Film & Photography to raise awareness of the MEDLIFE mission and to benefit the communities that MEDLIFE is here to help. I can only hope that the photos and videos I'll create during my time here will truly represent the values of the organization, hopefully inspire other interns to get involved, help MEDLIFE to further expand and continue to help the communities that need it the most.

supporters14Name: Sarah Bridge
Hometown: Oxford
School: University of Bath
Major: Modern Languages (Spanish and Italian) with ‘minors' in Politics, Literature and History.

How I got involved with MEDLIFE?: As a languages student I am forced to spend a year of my uni course living abroad, experiencing the culture and eating the food of the countries that speak the languages I am learning- it's a tough life.  I found out about MEDLIFE as I knew I wanted to do something to do with media in South America and was also keen to get the opportunity to work with an NGO.  MEDLIFE fitted in suspiciously well with all that I wanted to do and so I immediately applied for the position of journalism intern and was ecstatic when I was told I'd got it!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: As one of 3 Brits living in the MEDLIFE house at the moment I have been keen to keep up the stereotype by drinking copious amounts of tea, not understanding people when they talk about their ‘schools', ‘elevators' and ‘cilantro' and speaking with a weird accent.  My experience in Lima so far has been different to any experience I have had before but I am loving every minute.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: The description of the Media internships here sounded almost too good to be true and for some reason I have been surprised to find out that the actual job is even better than what was described.  It is amazing to be able to do something that I enjoy so much and that enables me to learn so much and still holds benefit for the community I am working with!

What was your first impression of Lima?: Loud and very crazy.  The bus system here has got to be my favorite part of the city as despite being completely mental, it somehow makes more sense than the ‘well thought out' British system.  I am also in love with the food here and have ended up having the menu of the day from a local restaurant almost every lunch time.  It becomes worryingly easy to justify this kind of extravagance by thinking 11 soles is only 3 dollars which is only 2 pounds...

What are your goals for this internship?: The dream would be to become so fluent in Spanish and Peruvian culture that I get mistaken for a native by the end of my time here.  However, I have been told that my blond hair may give me away so instead it looks like I am just going to have to settle for the ability to ride the buses like a local.  

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