UCF brings MEDLIFE’s mission to local community


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.


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.


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



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.