This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this year's MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.
 
The Ohio State University MEDLIFE chapter is committed to service and building relationships with other groups on campus and in the surrounding community. They hold monthly meetings which are not only educational but are hands-on and practical. They invite guests to speak to members about topics like suicide prevention or the heroin epidemic in Ohio, and have held countless educational seminars including CPR training, yoga classes, and pillow making workshops. These seminars allow their members to develop professionally and use these new skills to give back!
 
We recently reached out to MEDLIFE-OSU Chapter President, Elizabeth Adams, to learn about her chapter's success. 
 
16179228 1306203619439162 3978770277363816195 oIn January 2017, MEDLIFE OSU sent over 30 students on a Service Learning trip to Cusco, Peru.
 
How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?
I joined MEDLIFE the first week of my freshman year when I accidentally stumbled upon the MEDLIFE booth at our involvement fair! Joining our university's chapter was the best decision of my college career. After the first meeting, where I learned about MEDLIFE's mission and the ways we were able to help lower income families both locally and abroad, I was absolutely hooked. What really made me dedicate myself to MEDLIFE was their commitment to serving communities longterm by providing year-round followup care, education on preventative medicine, and sustainable development projects that allow a community to thrive from within, rather than rely on constant outside assistance. 
 
What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?
I think that our Chapter has been able to gain the support of and to inspire students to work with MEDLIFE by sharing our individual stories. Whether it is at an involvement fair, through our chapter's social media, or even just in casual conversation before lecture, the first thing I, executive board, and general body members mention about MEDLIFE is their own, personal experience and why it means so much to them. I think our chapter has had great success in this because we also provide opportunities for members to get involved with local outreach to the Columbus community. Whether it's for a local food drive, a fundraiser that consists of petting puppies, learning about health disparities in the LGBTQ community of Columbus, or volunteering at an elementary school, we give our members something to talk about, even if it is done locally! Of course, mentioning that you got to climb Machu Picchu while assisting in serving thousands of patients abroad through triaging them, teaching children how to brush their teeth, and filling their prescriptions is also pretty cool 
 
14 12 2 The Ohio State chapter keeps meetings engaging! Here, they are making pillows and cards for Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.
 
In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?
I believe our chapter's greatest achievement is having the ability for our members to feel involved in whatever way they are able to and would like to. Many students feel financial constraints on being able to attend brigades, especially regularly, leaving bulks of time with a potentially foggy idea on what to do with MEDLIFE. Our chapter provides members with local opportunities for fundraising, volunteering, and learning. Additionally, we try our best to vary the times of day and day of the week when activities occur, in case of scheduling conflicts for a particular time/day. Further, sometimes schedules simply do not have room for a longterm involvement with the chapter and we understand that! It is totally ay-okay to simply go on a brigade through our chapter, and we work to ensure such members get the needed info for them to have a wonderful time on brigade! It's really all about making MEDLIFE whatever you want it to be, and our chapter works to spread this message! 
 
What did you do to get people engaged?
We do our best to switch up meeting topics/ideas/styles to keep everything fresh! For example, we may have a meeting based on educating ourselves about a particular health disparity in our community led by a guest speaker. Then the following meeting may be a little more hands-on, such as making stress balls for children in a local orphanage. We also keep communication open between executive board and our general body members through surveys! This ensures that we are providing the content and the opportunities that our members are looking for MEDLIFE to provide them.
 
14 12 3Members at a Kaplan Suture Clinic.
 
What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?
My most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE has to be my trip to Lima, Peru in January of 2016. One particular  memory is from our last day working in the community, during the reveal of our completed staircase development project. I had been playing with a little girl, about 6 years old, then it was time to go. As we packed up, I noticed that the girl's father was kneeling down so she could speak into his ear. He listened intently, as if he was trying to learn. He and his daughter went back and forth a couple of times, repeating the same thing back and forth. He then approached me, extended his hand, smiled, and said, "Thank you." The language of love knows no barriers. 
 
What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?
One of our chapter's goals is to independently raise the funds for a development project! We also plan to continue to expand our local volunteer opportunities focusing on medicine, education, and development. 
 
Do you have any advice for other chapters?
Always remember why you joined MEDLIFE. Remember the fire that started within you to inspire you to be involved with leadership within your chapter, and always work towards spreading that feeling to others. Specifically, keep communication open within the chapter and remember it starts with you! Always ask questions, collaborate with other chapters, and reach out to national! 
 
Remember,"Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean."-Ryunosuke Satoro
 
14 12
This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this years MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.
 
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley started their chapter in 2017. From the beginning, they were on the track to success. The very first chapter meeting had 105 people in attendance with about 60 students continuing to attend on a regular basis. They actively volunteer with a local food bank, as well as working with the Salvation Army and an organization called Infinite Love, which focuses on giving support to Oncology patients. 
 
One of their chapter highlights includes hosting a MED Conference through which they raised money for MEDLIFE National projects. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley MEDLIFE chapter's vigor and drive to grow, to educate and advocate, is what has created their success story for their first year!
 
We caught up with Chapter President,Tanvi Gupta, to learn more about the success of this brand new chapter! 
 
14 12 0540Members of MEDLIFE Texas RGV on a Service Learning Trip to Cusco, Peru.
 
How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?
In March of 2016, I traveled to Lima, Peru with MEDLIFE to attend my first volunteer trip. I witnessed the poor living conditions and lack of access to healthcare there, which helped me realize the need for better healthcare globally. Back home, I knew many students also wanted to make a difference on both a local and international level. As a result, I started the MEDLIFE Chapter at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. I truly believe in MEDLIFE’s mission of bringing medicine to impoverished communities, educating people, and constructing developmental projects based on what the communities need. I also really appreciate the dedication and passion that everyone at MEDLIFE displays; it made the process of building a new chapter less difficult. 
 
What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?
Before our first general meeting, I reached out to the Presidents of other healthcare-related organizations on campus to help promote our Chapter and spread the word about MEDLIFE. Presenting to other organizations and at campus events allowed us to have 105 members show up to our first meeting! 
 
During our general meetings, we incorporated a “Global Health Trivia” segment to educate members on medical issues, fostering important discussions. We also implemented a “Medical Spanish Phrases of the Day” segment where we have one member teach and explain two phrases commonly used on the volunteer trips.
 
I also established a points system to engage and motivate members. They would receive points for volunteering, fundraising, attending meetings, and wearing their MEDLIFE shirt to events. During each meeting, we included a PowerPoint slide with a list of our top 20 members and their updated points. At the end of the year, we created a “MEDLIFE Scholarship” to award our highest point earners and help them pay for their trip to Peru.
 
In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?
This past semester, we planned a volunteer trip and sent 19 members to Cusco, Peru! I am extremely proud of my Executive Board for accomplishing this task in our first year. We also partnered with several organizations on campus to host a Health Professions Conference, bringing in medical school students, nurses, social workers, surgeons, and physicians. 
 
14 12 0544The Texas MEDLIFErs show off some serious fundraising skills!
 
What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?

This year, I reached out to a local organization called Infinite Love. We collaborated to provide meals to low-income families and the homeless every Friday. This has been one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences for our members and officers this past year.
 
Personally, my most memorable experience with MEDLIFE was the volunteer trip to Lima. The people there lacked access to basic necessities that we, in the United States, take for granted. Knowing I could make a difference in their lives and improve their conditions even slightly solidified my decision to pursue medicine. I am forever grateful to MEDLIFE for the opportunity to volunteer abroad. The trip was an incredible, eye-opening experience!
 
What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?
Next year, I really hope to bring medical professionals to our general meetings to discuss important topics such as diabetes or disease prevention. I also want to organize bigger volunteer events for our members with local schools and organizations.
 
Do you have any advice for other chapters?
I think the main thing to always keep in mind is your members. Make meetings fun and interactive. Ask members what they think about the meetings and events because feedback from members is crucial to improving the Chapter. Also, stay in touch with your MEDLIFE Team Leader and keep them updated. The monthly phone calls with Brittany Cook, our Team Leader, played a huge role in our success this year!
 
14 12 0541The 2017 MEDLIFE Texas Rio Grande Valley Executive Board.
 
This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this year's MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.
 
This year, the University of Pennsylvania was awarded the MEDLIFE Social Media Award. MEDLIFE UPenn uses their social media as a tool to effectively communicate with their members to educate and spread awareness. They have held initiatives such as "Public Health Week" in which they created a short video series explaining various public health issues. They have their own website, blog, and even a youtube channel!
 
We caught up with the president of the University of Pennsylvania chapter, Santosh Nori, to hear more about their recent success as a chapter. 
 
14 12 6400Members of the University of Pennsylvania Chapter of MEDLIFE
 
How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?
 
I started to work with MEDLIFE during my freshman year of college. Coming into college, I knew that I was interested in global health, and really wanted to get involved with some service oriented activities related to this subject. I joined MEDLIFE, and a couple of other global health clubs, just to get a feel for which one was the best fit. In the end, I chose MEDLIFE because of all of the service opportunities our chapter provided that allowed us to actually make a difference both within Philadelphia and internationally and because of the awesome people that made up the chapter!
 
What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?
 
As the recently elected president of MEDLIFE Penn, one my main goals was to foster a sense of community within MEDLIFE on campus. My exec board and I strongly believed that this was one of the most important things to address, insofar as a sense of community lends itself to more engaged members and a more enjoyable and meaningful experience for students within MEDLIFE. We have implemented a “family group” system, where students across different committees  are essentially grouped into different “families” that are able to bond outside MEDLIFE. As such, there is more connection between students in different committees. This has also drawn in a number of general members, increasing our recruitment interest for next semester.
 
In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?
 
In my opinion, our chapter’s greatest achievement this year was our Community Engagement committee’s recent initiative on inner city education. Our community engagement committee has put together a global health curriculum to present to students in inner city schools, particularly in underprivileged areas of Philadelphia, to inform students more about facets of public health and to inspire them to explore studies and careers in these facets. They have just successfully piloted the initiative this semester, and plan to open up the project to all MEDLIFE members and more schools next semester.
 
What did you do to get people engaged?
 
One thing that my exec board and I felt was crucial for member engagement was connecting members to the different health issues that they were working on in MEDLIFE. In other words, we felt that students really did not know a lot about the health issues that they were tackling within the Philadelphia community and that MEDLIFE as a whole was tackling internationally. As such, we wanted to educate our members, as well as Penn’s campus, about these efforts and issues through a number of lectures by reputed public health experts on campus, MEDLIFE staff who Skyped in from Lima, and even other students.
 
14 12 1993Members of MEDLIFE UPenn attending the "Mindless Medicine" Lecture event
 
What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?
 
My most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE was volunteering at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia as a freshman, where other members and I were able to cook a meal for the poor that were at the shelter. It was a very fulfilling experience, and I was able to meet new members and really bond with them over the experience.
 
What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?
 
With regard to the short term future, I am looking to improve the general member experience at our chapter through more engaging campus events. In the long term, I would really like to have our chapter of MEDLIFE start a global health and international development oriented journal. A number of health organizations have done this on campus, however, such a journal doesn’t exist for students interested in global health, international development, and service. A thirst for knowledge and information in these areas on campus, both on an academic and pre-professional level, provides a niche for a journal focusing on these areas. Putting out a journal can help raise awareness for MEDLIFE, our chapter’s efforts, and our cause. 
 
Do you have any advice for other chapters?
 
One of my biggest pieces of advice based on my experiences thus far is that MEDLIFE should be approached from a perspective of what makes your members gain the most out of their experiences with the chapter. If students really enjoy being a part of the chapter and are interested in the work that the chapter does, they will remain committed to the chapter and really give their best, leading to better service and awareness.
 
14 12 0719Volunteer from MEDLIFE at the University of Pennsylvania

This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this years MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.

University of Tampa has had a successful year as a new chapter. They quickly picked up the ball and ran with it. They recently received a reward from their University acknowledging them as the best organization on campus! In total, they have completed 2,000 volunteer hours including volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, St. Joseph’s Children Hospital and at a local outpatient clinic in Tampa.

We talked to Nichole Laggan, external President, and Veronica Martinez-Brockhus, internal president of the chapter, to hear about their involvement with MEDLIFE.

IMG 4625University of Tampa Chapter members

How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?

Veronica: The past president reached out to both Nichole and me last summer and asked if we  would be a part of MEDLIFE’s new chapter at UT. I had never heard of MEDLIFE but after much research, I found how amazing the organization is. I chose to be part of  University of Tampa’s founding executive board because I believe in all that MEDLIFE stands for. I feel as though people do not realize the need and value for service work throughout the world and in our local community. Through MEDLIFE, we are given the opportunity to give back through various events and types of volunteering.

 

What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?

Nichole: Veronica and I have taken many opportunities to speak to the students across our campus at organization tabling events such as freshman orientation. However, gaining support is often an easy task. Most students fall in love with MEDLIFE’s mission and immediately want to join our chapter. Along with our service work and awareness projects, we place focus on fun events for our members. We feel it’s important to give back to the community, but also reward our amazing members for their efforts!

 

In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?

Veronica: I think MEDLIFE UT’s greatest achievement was participating in the Remote Area Medical Clinic (RAM) where 70 of our members were able to help provide thousands of dollars of free medical, dental, and optometry care to about 2,000 people around Florida who do not have access to health care. Our chapter compiled over 1,000 volunteer hours in just one weekend. Other great achievements were being awarded the University of Tampa’s Outstanding New Organization of the Year as well as MEDLIFE National’s Best New Chapter.

 

What did you do to get people engaged?

Nichole: When choosing service events, we try to find the most hands-on volunteering opportunities for our members. These may range from building houses with Habitat for Humanity to working a local Meals on Wheels route. We want our members to have a personal experience where they can work face to face with those in need. These interactions are the most impactful and allow our members to become fully engaged in their service work.

 

What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?

Veronica: One of my most memorable experiences working with MEDLIFE was participating in Paint Your Heart Out, Tampa Bay, where over 100 homes of those in need were painted. Our chapter painted the home of Dorothy, the sweetest old lady. She was extremely grateful and truly reminded us how important and impactful service is, even  in our local community.

14714947 332010713822387 9011338261986410291 oAside from volunteering in MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, University of Tampa Chapter members volunteer locally regularly with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

What plans do you have for the future of your chapter?

Veronica: Our next plan is to work on our chapter’s travel proposal so that MEDLIFE UT can  travel to international mobile clinics as a group, as well as participate in internal fundraising. We are also hoping to work on our social media to help continue to spread the word about MEDLIFE’s mission and our chapter.

 

Do you have any advice for other chapters?

Nichole: My advice is to find a cause and go for it. Listen to your members interests and find a way to satisfy them. Our members love the work that they do and it drives our organization. We have a group of incredibly motivated and dedicated individuals working to make a difference in the Tampa Bay Area, but it all starts with passion and a goal.

 

Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE

 
This blog is part of a series showcasing chapters that won awards in this years MEDLIFE Awards. Each week we will be talking to a chapter to hear about their keys to success. Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE.
 
University of Nevada Reno’s MEDLIFE Chapter has made strides in expanding members and was this years runner up in MEDLIFE Awards for the social media category. In it’s second year, Anisha Chedi, Marketing/Advertising Chair, implemented social media strategies for the chapter like creating daily promo content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and creating their own graphics to promote events and activities.
 
We caught up with Christina Chen, UNR MEDLIFE’s co-president, to talk about her chapter and work with MEDLIFE.
 10551708 988382614510135 3734612100353194608 oUNR Chapter members on a project work day in Lima, Peru.
 
How did you start to work with MEDLIFE? Why did you choose MEDLIFE?
 
One of my close friends, Lucia Sanchez, first brought this chapter to the University of Nevada, Reno and built it from ground up. I had heard about it, but was not very involved. Until the end of Spring 2014, my sister and I decided to jump right into attending a mobile clinic in Lima and from then on forward, we've constantly been involved with MEDLIFE UNR. I fell in love with what MEDLIFE stood for and had to offer, embracing both community service locally and abroad, providing medicine to communities worldwide, and educating and assisting communities/people develop. 
 
What new strategies have you used as President of your Chapter to gather support and inspire students to work with MEDLIFE?
 
Since this school year was geared towards restructuring and rebuilding of the chapter, we utilized the University's resources, especially our club fairs to promote the chapter. A lot of our activities were revolved around local volunteering, which gained a bit of attention from our campus. It wasn't until a recent early transition of executive board officers did we really utilize our social media, thanks to our new marketing/advertising chair, Anisha Chedi. She has been very diligent about posting MEDLIFE Nevada's activities, along with embracing campus events.
 
Also, during meetings, making them more activity based and interactive. We would prep snack packs for distribution and was a great way to socialize with the members. At the same time, we would include icebreakers and activities to keep the members more engaged, rather than just staring at a powerpoint. 
 
I definitely turned to my MEDLIFE liaison, Emily Gardner, a lot for advice and monthly meetings for inspiration. She always kept me motivated and encouraged me to keep my head up when it came to difficult times of rebuilding the chapter. So shout out to her and a big thank you!! 
 
In your opinion, what is your chapter’s greatest achievement?
 
Being such a small chapter, in a small city, I'm very proud that we've managed to send members on mobile clinics. Although they are minimal number of participants, every year we've managed to send people to either Lima, Peru or Riobamba, Ecuador.
 1546Volunteers pose on a completed staircase in Lima, Peru.
 
What is your most memorable experience working with MEDLIFE?
 
A personal memory is my mobile clinic experience back in 2014. It was a life-changing experience that I loved! On a whole scale level of the chapter, I would being able to finally work with a new full executive board with members who were very adamant about promoting MEDLIFE was a great experience. Passing on the torch to the newly transitioned executive board makes me hopeful about leaving the chapter in a stable stage to keep growing. 
 
Do you have any advice for other chapters?
 
General advice: keep things fun and exciting at meetings. It's hard to keep member attendance when meetings are merely powerpoints. Add activities, competitions, create families, etc...get to know your members.
 
Find out how to start a MEDLIFE chapter at your school HERE
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