WHAT IS medlife?

MEDLIFE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that partners with low-income communities in Latin America and Africa to improve their access to medicine, education, and community development projects.

In order to achieve the ultimate goal of a world free from the constraints of poverty, we empower students and volunteers to become advocates for change by creating on-campus Chapters, volunteering in Service Learning Trips, and supporting the Moving Mountains giving program.

With this support, MEDLIFE hires and trains local staff to provide high-quality 24/7/365 patient care, community development projects, and educational workshops to empower communities in need.


Our Mission

Our mission is to build a worldwide Movement empowering the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home.


Our Vision

A world free from the constraints of poverty.

Our Values

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Listen, Analyze, Act

At MEDLIFE we listen to more than just the spoken word. Our priorities are driven by the root causes of an issue, something only understood by physically being there, by actively listening and taking action to address structural violence.

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Fight for Equality

We are committed to equality for all. Where you live or who you are should not determine your quality of life or your access to quality healthcare, education, or a safe home. We believe in and fight for equality for everyone.

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Create Life-Changing Experiences

Through collaborative and educational volunteering we empower students, staff, community leaders, donors, and more to transform their perspective on the world.

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Build Bridges

We improve on current models of charitable work by bridging the gaps. This includes implementing public and private service partnerships that provide holistic solutions for poor communities and connect international communities around the world.

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Empower Passionate Leaders

We know that passionate leaders can come from anywhere whether it be a partner community or an educational institution. We identify those leaders at home and abroad and empower them through training and skills that amplify their voice and impact.

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about medlife nick ellis

Our History

MEDLIFE was founded in 2004 by Nick Ellis. While working in hospitals in Chimborazo, Ecuador, Nick also volunteered as a translator for a medical mission organization. At one of these clinics, he encountered a young boy in desperate need of heart surgery. Unfortunately, the clinic’s limited duration prevented them from providing any assistance beyond diagnosis. This experience deeply troubled Nick. He questioned the purpose of medical missions if they couldn’t help those who truly needed it.

Following this experience, Nick felt compelled to take action. Upon returning home to Bangor, Maine Nick stood in a Walmart parking lot asking for donations and within hours, had enough funds to provide heart surgery for the young boy, named Darwin. Darwin became our first MEDLIFE patient.

Since then, MEDLIFE has expanded its operations beyond Chimborazo to other regions such as Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania, and Costa Rica. Our approach is guided by Nick’s personal experience with Darwin, as we collaborate closely with patients and communities, prioritizing their needs and providing assistance wherever possible.

The success of Nick’s fundraising efforts for Darwin led to the establishment of the first four MEDLIFE Chapters. Today, we have hundreds of chapters worldwide, dedicated to supporting our on-the-ground initiatives. These chapters raise awareness about global health and development issues, gather donations, and offer volunteer services both domestically and internationally.

Funding Model

Our Funding Model

MEDLIFE supports our work through volunteer donations and our Moving Mountains Monthly giving program. Both sources of funding create sustainable solutions for poor communities and help MEDLIFE move closer to accomplishing the mission of a world free from the constraints of poverty.




Volunteer donation goals for Service Learning Trips cover the trip costs and also provide funding for our year-round work. These goals fund the prep, execution, and follow-up for mobile clinics, development projects, and educational workshops that the volunteers support during the trip.




Monthly donations to our Moving Mountains giving program allow us to drive a greater percentage of donations to our year-round community development work. Currently, all donations are supporting our COVID-19 Relief efforts in Latin America.

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Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.