Mobile Clinic Experience Inspires Action


In December 2010, Brandon Kuang came on a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic to Lima, Peru. Now he’s back, to perform a large-scale research study that he hopes will help shed some light on women’s health issues in the pueblos jovenes of Lima.

A pre-med student at UC-San Diego with a minor in global health, Brandon was struck by the close-up view of poverty and lack of healthcare access that he encountered on his first MEDLIFE trip. But, he says, “The thing that sticks out in my memory the most was that despite all of that, the women in the communities were so warm and welcoming.” He recalls that as the bus pulled away on his last day in the community, community members waved goodbye and shouted, “Don’t forget us!” Brandon took those words to heart — he continued to think about how he could help the people he met, even after he had returned to the United States.

His study began as an exercise in proposal writing for a class and gradually took shape over the course of the two years following his trip. As he researched women’s health issues in Latin America, he found that although it is preventable and treatable, cervical cancer is the most deadly form of cancer affecting women in Peru, due to a lack of available information about detection. Very little scientific data exists about disease and healthcare in informal settlements like Pamplona Alta, where the problem is compounded by extreme poverty.

And so Brandon’s project was born, named PAP ACCION, which stands for Pamplona Alta Peru Atmosphere for Cervical Cancer Intervention Opportunities Now. Through surveys and interviews with hundreds of women in Pamplona Alta, Brandon hopes to gain an understanding of the knowledge, attitudes and practices of women in the area regarding cervical cancer screening. In order to collect his data, Brandon has partnered with MEDLIFE, which is helping him hire local public health nurses who will administer the surveys and interviews and reach the inaccessible hills of Pamplona. The results of Brandon’s study will also help us to refine our educational programs, which focus primarily on women’s health. “To deal with the situation, you have to understand it, and I’m hoping that the information from this study can be used to improve education programs and direct them at the most prominent shortfalls,” he says.

After writing and re-writing his proposal, Brandon was awarded a grant from his university to fund his work. Now he’s finally in country and ready to get started. “I was always told by my professors that in global health research, you can plan what you want to do, but when you get on the ground, reality is going to dictate what actually happens,” he says.


He’s looking forward to seeing the results, which he’ll analyze and eventually hopes to publish. “It was a lot of hard work, but if it’s something you want to do, I would definitely encourage other students to make opportunities like this happen,” he says.


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.