1) MEDLIFE Values Volunteers

Over 3 billion people, more than half of the world's population, live on less than $2.50 a day. While statistics like this may seem bleak, they are not impossible to overcome. Poverty is a systematic issue that exists everywhere and is a cycle which MEDLIFE aims to break. The work we do would be impossible without the help of volunteers. In addition to providing helping hands during mobile clinics and development projects, many MEDLIFE volunteers fundraise year-round to help fund future development projects! 

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2) MEDLIFE Breaks down Barriers

If you are motivated and willing to dedicate your time and resources to helping others, then who are we to put barriers in your way? Our goal is to put you on the frontline of volunteering globally. There are no restrictions to join a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic or any of our other Volunteer Trips. The steps are simple: find us online, sign up, and you are on your way to being part of the MEDLIFE mission! We want to make it as easy as possible for you to help change the lives of our patients and better their communities!

3) MEDLIFE Connects with Communities

MEDLIFE is more than a one and done organization. Our mission goes far beyond what happens during a mobile clinic. There is a team of local staff at each MEDLIFE location who work directly with communities to form a lasting connection and help in a sustainable way. These local MEDLIFE teams hold night meetings with community members to discuss future development projects as well as educational workshops to prepare communities prior to mobile clinics. These workshops cover a wide range of topics surrounding preventative health education including, to name just one example,  workshops focused on women's health which encourage female community members to visit the OBGYN station during clinic. 

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4) MEDLIFE Employs Ethics 

Would you allow a first year medical student to perform a procedure on you or someone you care about? Of course you wouldn't. Why shouldn't the same standards apply to those experiencing poverty? Many NGOs allow uncertified participants to perform actual procedures on the poor, with no regards to ethics. There is no reason a person living in a low-income area does not deserve the same care and respect as a patient in a more developed country. We allow participants to shadow doctors and assist while learning, but they are never allowed to perform any procedure they wouldn't be able to do in their home countries. Our patients deserve the utmost regardless of their economic situation or living conditions, and MEDLIFE ensures they will receive it. 

5) MEDLIFE Emphasizes Education

Our education efforts are not only directed at empowering the communities we serve through educational preventative health workshops. At MEDLIFE we also believe that, to combat poverty, you must be informed, and, for that reason, we place a huge emphasis on the education of our volunteers as well. Each service-learning trip begins with a reality tour of the city through which students can gain a better understanding of the factors influencing poverty in the area. Additionally, volunteers are expected to participate in group discussions with MEDLIFE staff following clinic days for an even more profound understanding of the cycle of poverty, the MEDLIFE difference, and other important topics. 

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6)  MEDLIFE Hires Heroes

They may not wear capes, but the professionals that wear MEDLIFE t-shirts are as much of heroes as anyone you'd see on the pages of a comic. During your week volunteering abroad, you will work with the extremely committed local MEDLIFE staff. These staff members have been working to serve the poor even before they were involved with MEDLIFE. Our directors wear hiking boots to work, and their offices are the communities we work in. People like Martha Chicaiza and Carlos Benavides inspire us all to go to greater lengths to serve the poor.  There's a reason MEDLIFE hires local professionals like Carlos and Martha to be in charge. We believe in the wisdom of Peruvians fighting to help the poor of Peru. We believe in strong Ecuadorian women leading the fight for better health in the poorest communities of Ecuador. The MEDLIFE staff is an entire team of heroes who fight tirelessly to break the cycle of poverty. 

7) The MEDFund fuels future development

All public donations and funds raised by MEDLIFE chapters go towards the MEDLIFE Project Fund. 100% of donations are used in the construction of community development projects like staircases, schools, and safe homes. These projects promote access to basic necessities and skills enabling poor individuals and families to free themselves from the constraints of poverty and promoting better health, education, and personal development.

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8) MEDLIFE Facilitates Follow-Up Care

Follow-up patient care is very often neglected by the majority of NGO volunteer brigades. This is one of the major tenants of the MEDLIFE difference. Often times, a medical issue can not be resolved with one doctor's visit, especially many of the chronic diseases associated with poverty. MEDLIFE as an extensive patient follow-up care system in place to ensure that our patients do not fall by the wayside. When a patient has been entered into our follow-up program, we are and will be there for them to support them both emotionally and sometimes financially and to see them through treatment until the ailments are resolved.

9) MEDLIFE Supports Sustainability 

MEDLIFE does not simply enter a community, provide a temporary fix to a deeply-rooted problem, and leave. We function on a model of sustainability. There is a team of architects backing every development project to ensure that they are safe and long-lasting. Our field team is expected to regularly check in on past development projects to ensure that they are being properly maintained and utilized. Additionally, community members are directly involved in the creation and implementation of development projects. Our volunteers work side-by-side with community members while building staircases or homes. This ensures a greater sense of responsibility and ownership for those who will benefit. 

10) The MEDLIFE Movement Matters

Over 190 student chapters from universities and high schools in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and more have joined the MEDLIFE Movement. Our chapters are student groups that represent and promote MEDLIFE at their schools and in their local communities. MEDLIFE works 24/7 in the poorest communities from Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Tanzania even when there are no Service Learning Trips. The dedication from these chapters is what allows MEDLIFE to continue to provide sustainable assistance to low-income communities year-round. 

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At MEDLIFE, we strive to empower the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education and a safe home. Join the MEDLIFE movement by signing up for a Service Learning Trip during this upcoming year. Contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to learn more!

MEDLIFE recently held its second annual Leadership Corps, a two-week service learning trip that is open to Chapter Leaders and Student Advisory Board (SAB) members. This year, eight student leaders were joined by MEDLIFE staff, including CEO Dr. Nick Ellis, in Ecuador and Peru to learn in-depth about MEDLIFE’s work and future goals, as well as global health and development issues such as structural violence, education, urban development, public health and international aid. 
 
MEDLIFE Staff, including CEO Dr. Nick Ellis, and the 2017 Leadership Corps participants in Llillia, Ecuador.MEDLIFE Staff, including CEO Dr. Nick Ellis, and the 2017 Leadership Corps participants in Llillia, Ecuador.
 
It was an action-packed two weeks that included a hike to Llilla, the first community MEDLIFE ever worked with back in 2004, where both students and staff spent a somewhat chilly night camping at 3,800m and ran a mobile clinic the next day. Other activities involved visiting the hospital and daycare center belonging to Fundación Tierra Nueva in Quito, attending a night meeting in Lima with over 300 community members, learning about Peru’s recent history at the LUM, working on a development project, and dropping by the MEDLIFE Wawa Wasi in Union Santa Fe.
 
We’d like to thank this year’s participants: Carolann McNicoll (McGill University), Karolina Weglinska (McGill University), Erika Ortiz (University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla), Matthew Holmes (Rowan University), Heena Patel (Rowan University), Jason Hong (Richard Montgomery High School), Hailee Peterson (University of North Dakota) and Fouad Berry (University of Michigan, Dearborn)
 
Check out the video below to see more footage from the 2017 Leadership Corps! 
 

From July 19 - July 27, 2017, volunteers from high schools in the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico attended a specialized service-learning trip in Lima, Peru, where they worked all week on mobile clinics and community development projects. MEDLIFE interns and staff also held discussions with  volunteers covering topics in global medicine, development and education. Through this opportunity, the students were able to learn more about MEDLIFE's mission as well as visit follow-up patients like Rosa Morocho, who needs a new home for her and her daughter. 
 
Volunteers also attended a night meeting with more than 300 members of 15 different communities. The focus of the meeting was a brand-new development initiative that will benefit more than 1,000 people. Representatives from the municipalities of Villa Maria del Triunfo and San Juan de Miraflores were present to sign a collaboration agreement between MEDLIFE, the government, and the communities. 
 
Finally, thanks to the support of the high school volunteers, 60 people, including adults and children received much needed attention in the general medicine and dental care stations of the mobile clinics. Additionally, 125 children learned how to properly brush their teeth!
 
To all of our high school volunteers: thank you for support and hard work! Check out some photos from the trip below!

 

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From Thursday, July 20 to Friday, July 21, 2017, MEDLIFE hosted its very first mobile clinic with the Santa Monica Women's Penitentiary in Lima, Peru. The two-day clinic was focused on women's health. The first day consisted of multiple women's health-related education sessions, where a variety of topics were covered including safe sex, risks and warning signs for cervical cancer, how to perform regular self breast exams, and more! On day two of the clinic the women were offered Pap smear exams and gynecological consultations, where they were prescribed treatments for a wide range of ailments. MEDLIFE will be returning to the prison in August to deliver the Pap smear results as well as perform breast cancer screenings. 

14-12-0304MEDLIFE partered with local health professionals to host the recent mobile clinic.

14-12-0307Attendees take notes during the first educational session of the day.

14-12-0374One of the attendees expresses a concern regarding breast cancer.

14-12-0381During the clinic, brand new toothbrushes were also provided for the children of all patients.

14-12-0396MEDLIFE Nurse, Janet Ludeña demonstrates the process of a Pap smear exam.

14-12-0473The women discuss their previous knowledge of breast and cervical cancer and look for connections in what they already know.

14-12-0513Two of the educational session attendees practice performing a self breast exam.


14-12-0606MEDLIFE interns, Julia and Crystal, prepare one of the examination rooms.

14-12-0652Melissa, another MEDLIFE summer intern, mans the pharmacy station during clinic.

14-12-0664Janet and MEDLIFE intern, Brandy, take patient's background information before their consultations.

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Dr. Gustavo Arnao García found his motivation to study medicine in his father, rheumatologist and former president of the Peruvian Society of Rheumatology. This example lead Dr. Gustavo to pursue his career of medicine at the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos, the oldest university of the Americas.
 
The MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics working model is similar to what Dr. Gustavo does at the Peruvian Red Cross, a society he's been part of since 2011 and which allowed him to become an expert at attenting patients. MEDLIFE relies on local health care practitioners, like Dr. Arnao García, to engage best with the communities we work in and give volunteers a valuable learning experience.
 IMG 3671Dr. Arnao García is one of several doctors who works regularly with MEDLIFE in Lima.
How long have you been working for MEDLIFE?
For almost three years. A professional colleague that used to work for the Peruvian Red Cross asked me if I was interested in working for MEDLIFE. I met the people from the NGO, did some tests, and I’ve been working for MEDLIFE since then.  
 
What experience impacted you the most when working in Mobile Clinics? Any particular case or patient? 
I had the opportunity of seeing a case of decompensated diabetes with a patient that had a very deep ulcer in his lower leg. Luckily, with the right treatment and our patient follow up system, the patient got better. This experience was very impactul for me. 
 
What do you enjoy the most in the Mobile Clinics? 
 MEDLIFE's work is completely assistance-based and requires a lot of work in the field. Basically you go to places where there's extreme poverty and help the people that live there. I feel very grateful to help MEDLIFE in their mission.

 IMG 3624Dr. Arnao García is able to connect and communicate well with patients, as well as the volunteers that assist him. On mobile clinics, he can often be seen seen giving volunteers a hands on lesson in identifying symptoms common to patients around Lima.

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