medlifenevadblog

Here at MEDLIFE, we're always proud to see our newest chapters hosting events and delivering Medicine Education and Development to their local communities. Our chapter at the University of Nevada, Reno was founded just last semester in September 2013. Since its founding, the chapter has hosted various events and fundraisers and sent a group of students to a Mobile Clinic in Lima, Peru in January. Last week, a group of 18 students from MEDLIFE Nevada and the American Medical Student Association participated in an event with Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity to help construct homes in that community. We interviewed Lucia Sanchez about the event, co-founder and president of her chapter who has participated in multiple clinics herself and has always been a great support to our organization. Read more about the chapter's service event below:

Why did you decide to host this particular community service event?
We decided to host this community service event with Habitat for Humanity because this organization gave our members the opportunity to give back to individuals of low income by providing development through the construction of houses. Their work is analogous to the development projects that MEDLIFE hosts when volunteers participate in mobile clinics.
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Why did you think it was important?
Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, volunteer based organization that helps provide low income families the opportunity to seek homeownership in the Truckee Meadows community since 1991. As a chapter of MEDLIFE, our mission is to provide MEDs (Medicine, Education, and Development) to communities around the world and in our very own community. As such, it is important for our chapter to give back to help touch the lives of those who deserve a place to live.

How did you get involved with Habitat for Humanity?
Our mobile clinic officer who focuses on community relations, Jake Eisert, contacted Habitat for Humanity and set a date for which we are able to volunteer.

Do you plan on doing this event in the future?
Yes, our members had a great time working with this organization and it was amazing to see the work that volunteers put in in order to create something that benefits so many people. Towards the end of our workday, the construction manager showed us a house that was completed 100% by the work put in by volunteers and it was absolutely breathtaking to see what the dedication of a group of individuals can do for a community.

What differences did you find working on this project in your local community compared to your project abroad with MEDLIFE?
The difference between working this project and the project with MEDLIFE is that we took part in a project that we did not necessarily see from start to finish like a stair project in Pamplona Alta. However, even though we did not take part of the whole process here, we still got the same feeling of excitement and joy knowing that what we made will help improve the lives of others. Whether it was plastering or putting up drywall, carrying buckets of cement or painting a mural what you are doing means so much more than you probably realize. That the smile on someone's face means that you have impacted them forever.

February 20, 2014 4:50 pm

A Volunteer's Campaign: The Gift of Giving

Written by Ebony Bailey

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Every year around her birthday, University of Michigan student Leighann Cohen reminisces on her previous year and the events that inspired her to give back. Last August, Leighann had the opportunity to participate in the first-ever MEDLIFE volunteer trip to Tanzania, so for her 20th birthday, she decided to give back to the organization that gave her an eye-opening experience.

Instead of asking for material gifts, Leighann started a campaign that asked her family and friends to use that money and donate it to MEDLIFE instead. Her campaign started on her birthday, October 28th, and continued on until New Year's Day of 2014. Over the span of three months, she reached out to an array of people, from close friends and family to sorority and fraternity networks at her university, to donate to her cause. She wrote a letter to her prospective supporters to explain her cause:

“As I begin the final month of my teenage years, I face adulthood with a new appreciation for the world and the billions of people I share it with. For my 20th birthday, I would like to do something different. Although there is always something one could buy me that would make me smile, the something that I really want this year is your help in changing the lives of people that are in need of change. For my birthday, I want to know that I have done what I can to give back to all of the people that have changed my life this summer,” an exerpt from her letter.  

From all of the support she received, she raised a total of $1,235  for the MEDLIFE fund.

“My experience with MEDLIFE was one that truly gave me direction in life,” she said. “The communities we traveled to and the people we interacted with touched my heart. Despite the immense language barrier, every day brought new and exciting friendships and lessons.”


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Her inspiration for the campaign started from her trip to Tanzania with MEDLIFE last August, and particularly from her experience in a community called Kikavu. The clinic in Kikavu was set up in an old dispensary that was once funded by a foreign organization who had since stopped their support. Because of this, Leighann's group did not expect many people to show up for the clinic and thought that MEDLIFE would have to build back the community's trust. To their surprise, nearly 300 children, adults and elderly were attended to at the clinic that day. “I cried out of happiness as our bus pulled out of Kikavu,” she said. “I think that seeing this, especially on my first day of mobile clinics, solidified the true impact MEDLIFE's work has on underserved and impoverished people around the world.”
Leighann strongly encourages that other students fundraise for MEDLIFE in a similar manner.

“One's social networks most often are full of people with similar interests to yours,” she said. “School organizations are also a fantastic way to get the word out.”

Thank you, Leighann, for all of your dedication and support to MEDLIFE! We wish you much success in your future endeavours.

 

Holding true to our mission, our student chapters are constantly striving to bring Medicine, Education and Development to their own communities through various service events and projects. At our chapter at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico -- San German, students decided to give their part by spending a full day wandering around the streets of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico on a mission to feed the homeless.

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The idea for the project was initially thought out and planned for in one executive-board meeting. A few days later, the team of 15 students headed off to the streets of Mayagüez to hand out sandwiches to the homeless. In total, the chapter gave out 35 breakfast bags, which contained sandwiches, fruit baskets and water. 


“As we met them, we started to talk to some of them and they shared their stories with us,” said Derecks Negron Torres, Fundraising Chief of the chapter. “It was an amazing experience."

The chapter decided to carry out this event because they noted the large number of homeless people living in their community. This project was a way for the chapter to ease some of their daily struggles.

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“Each and every one of us is familiar with the large amount of homeless people in the streets of Mayagüez,” said Gladimar Rodriguez, chapter President.  “We now have a group of students who are so motivated to serve in our community, so when the time came for organizing charitable activities, this was the first idea."

The chapter will continue carrying out this event on an ongoing basis. Keep holding true to our mission and we look forward to your continued involvement in our organization!

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At our Mobile Clinics, we always encourage our student volunteers to bring extras from home that are not in use -- clothes, books and other similar materials. At our last Mobile Clinic in Riobamba, Ecuador two of our chapters went above and beyond and brought hundreds of pairs of shoes to give todifferent communities in the area.

For weeks before their arrival to Riobamba, students from the University of Puerto Rico -- Mayagüez and the University of Puerto Rico -- Rio Piedrasunderwent muchplanning and collaborationin order to successfully bring shoes to communities in Ecuador.

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The idea to bring shoes to Mobile Clinics came originally from a student at Cornell University, Lorena Montalvo. After participating in two different MEDLIFE Clinics, she noticed a particular need for shoes in the various communities that we serve, especially for the children. After hearing about her idea, the two chapters in Puerto Rico decided to adopt the project and bring shoes to the communities at their trip destination of Riobamba, Ecuador, thus fulfilling the missions of the two organizations involved: MEDLIFE and Footprints, a new organization founded at Cornell University.

Thanks to various donations and the collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America in Puerto Rico, who held a Jamboree for the cause, the chapters were able to collect a total of 452 pairs of shoes to distribute among community members. The student volunteers were greeted with smiling faces from children and adults alike as they received their new pairs of shoes.
“It was any amazing experience seeing how the kids immediately put the shoes on once they received them, excited for their new gift,” said Eduard Valdes,President of Mobile Clinicsfor UPR - Mayaguez. “It made me reconsider the importance we place on material goods, something that media expertly infuses into people's minds as a necessity."

Congratulations to UPR - Mayaguez and UPR - Rio Piedras for successfully carrying out this amazing project, and we look forward to your future involvement and achievements with MEDLIFE!

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Here at MEDLIFE, we encourage our student chapters to carry out our mission of delivering Medicine, Education and Development not only internationally, but also in their local communities through various community service events. With this in mind, our chapter at the University of Central Florida decided to host a local clinic in their community after seeing a need for a clinic and also to prepare for international clinics hosted by MEDLIFE.

After much planning, organization and support from local doctors and community members, our UCF chapter successfully carried out a full-day's clinic, treating 50 patients who ranged from a 5 month old infant to a grandmother in her 80s. Read our Q&A below with the Executive Board about their motivation for the project and how they plan to become more involved with MEDLIFE in the future.   

How did this idea come about?

We noted a need for a free clinic in the city of Kissimmee, Florida. Many uninsured people from Kissimmee take the buses up to Downtown Orlando to visit the free clinic called Shepherd's Hope. A typical bus ride to Orlando (with all the necessary transfers) takes about two to three hours. By the time patients arrive at the free clinic in Orlando, the clinic is often full and cannot accept more patients. Patients were being turned away frequently. Therefore, we knew that there is a need for such a clinic in Kissimmee. In addition, we also wanted to give our members an opportunity to experience a mobile clinic at a local level.

Why did you think it was important to host a local clinic?

We saw a need for a free clinic in the city of Kissimmee for the poor and uninsured population. In addition, we also thought that a local clinic is a good first step to prepare our members for international mobile clinics abroad with MEDLIFE.


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How did you recruit your doctors?

We began by sending letters that explained the goals of MEDLIFE and the local clinic, and visiting doctor's offices in the general Kissimmee area. The doctors who agreed to attend the clinic also invited their colleagues.

Are you planning to host more local clinics in the future?

At the present time, we would like to refocus our efforts on the goals of MEDLIFE USA and participate in our first ever international mobile clinic. However, due to the support of the Kissimmee Parks District and the response from our doctors and members, we are considering planning more local clinics in the future. This local clinic may become an annual event every November. This endeavor is in the hands and at the discretion of the new executive board which is to be elected in March of this year. It is ultimately their decision to continue planning more local clinics.

What were some of the differences between this local clinic and the international mobile clinics?

Our president is the sole member of the executive board who has participated in a MEDLIFE mobile clinic previously. Our local clinic was designed and modeled on the international mobile clinics. The main differences in these clinics include US health mandates, prevalence of certain diagnoses, and cultural perspectives of healthcare.

As we consulted with doctors on the legal aspects of the clinic, we discovered that we cannot have a pharmacy station because US law prohibits the repackaging and redistribution of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications. For this reason, there was no pharmacy station in our clinic - we could only distribute vouchers or flyers for local pharmacies that already offered select free medications. We also did not provide specialist care, unlike the international mobile clinics.

The prevalence for various diagnoses was also different. Here in the US, obesity and diabetes are significant and prevalent public health issues - especially in areas where the population is impoverished or uninsured. In Ecuador and Peru, on the other hand, malnutrition and fungal infections are more common among the poor communities and pueblos jovenes. Finally, cultural perspectives also varied. In the US, birth control is more widely accepted than in traditionally Catholic nations such as Ecuador and Peru.


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Congratulations to MEDLIFE UCF for successfully carrying out this clinic and we look forward to your future involvement with MEDLIFE!

 

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