“Be The One” Team Leader Profile: Amrita Athwal

Amrita joined us her freshman year of college as a participant in the MEDLIFE Be The One Campaign. She started her school’s MEDLIFE chapter, joined the Student Advisory Board, and just recently completed a two-month internship in Riobamba, Ecuador. Read more about Amrita’s experience as a student leader:

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Why are you a MEDLIFE leader?

Because I love MEDLIFE and everything it stands for. I am proud to say I am part of such an amazing organization. Also, by holding a leadership position I am able to indirectly aid more patients than I would be able to with my own two hands. Instead, I direct the hands of others to join me in the MEDLIFE mission to make a long-lasting impact.

How did you find out about MEDLIFE?

The pre-med advisor at my school sent out an email to all the pre-health students at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) looking for someone to start a MEDLIFE chapter. As an eager freshman I was determined to finally do something to make a difference, so I applied to found the UCSD MEDLIFE chapter and was graciously granted the position.

What strategies and/or messages did you use to recruit Mobile Clinic participants and succeed with the Be The One campaign?

I contacted presidents of other pre-health organizations to spread the word about MEDLIFE. This proved to be a successful way to quickly spread the word to a broad array of people.

Describe your favorite moment from your Mobile Clinic experience.

My most memorable experience from my first Mobile Clinic in Lima was when — after the entire week of working hard on the staircase construction project and in the clinic under the beating sun — we were given the option of purchasing trees to ornate the stairs. Of course, all of the students purchased trees and we actually got to dig holes and plant them ourselves. Stepping back and looking at how beautiful our simple staircase looked was definitely the most memorable moment of my entire clinic experience. I felt like I had actually made a sustainable difference for the people of Pamplona.

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Did you receive support with the Be The One campaign? Who helped you?

I had a lot of support from Adele, the pre-health advisor at UCSD. I also received guidance from MEDLIFE staff member Tommy Flint, who was the Director of Student Operations at that time.

What have you learned about leadership through your work with MEDLIFE?

I’ve learned that people genuinely want to help and make a difference in the world. As cynical as the world we live in may seem, there are always people out there who want to make it a better place. When given the adequate resources, people really do want to help one another.

What has been the most helpful resource for you as a student leader?

I would say all of the various tools we now have to communicate. I couldn’t imagine how MEDLIFE, as an international organization, would function without the tools of email, conference calls, facebook, and all other types of media. Even being head of the Student Advisory Board (SAB), I need to oversee students who oversee schools all over the West Coast of the U.S.– a job that would be impossible without a reliable source of communication.

What advice would you give to students who would like to do the BTO campaign or be a MEDLIFE leader?

Love what you are doing and it will not be a moment of work. If you love helping people and you love global aid then MEDLIFE is the perfect organization for you.


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.