Student Spotlight: Brown University Highlights 2011-2012 Accomplishments

74-1Last week, we joined the Brown University MEDLIFE Chapter on campus for their last meeting of the year. As about 25 students shared pizza and soda, co-presidents Katie Deangelis and Abby Kerson summarized the chapter’s accomplishments throughout the year, highlighting their increased visibility on campus, participation in two Mobile Clinics, and multiple large-scale fundraisers.

This year, the chapter raised $1,500 for the MEDLIFE Project Fund – enough to fund approximately 1.5 staircase projects in Pamplona, Peru. One of their most successful fundraisers was a raffle that required prizes to be donated by local businesses, and a heavy publicity push to get fellow students to buy tickets. Members expressed that this was a great way to reach out to the broader community and to cultivate new, local partners.

Nora Orton, a chapter member who now helps organize Brown’s Mobile Clinic trips, also shared photos during the meeting from the two Mobile Clinics that Brown students participated in this year. Norah first got involved with MEDLIFE as a freshman when she saw a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic trip advertised through the campus morning email. On a bit of a whim, she signed up for and attended a clinic in Riobamba, Ecuador, during the spring of 2011.



74-3After returning from the trip, she was inspired to share her experience and recruit other students, as well as to work on improving the trip for future participants. Using her MEDLIFE knowledge she designed ways to prepare students for future Mobile Clinics, such as creating laminated cards with Spanish-English translations of clinic vocabulary. Although chapters often express a desire to see another country, Nora chose to lead her group back to her first clinic site in Riobamba, Ecuador.

“I was the one who had one of the strongest opinions, and I said, ‘I would really like it if we could go back to Riobamba.’ I had this feeling that we could make more of an impact by creating some sort of sustainable relationship with the same place.”

One of the accomplishments that Brown’s Chapter is most proud of is the implementation of a new initiative its members call the “Community Health and Development Program.” Spearheaded by Katie, the program aims to help members connect their work in Latin America to the Brown campus by investigating public health issues relevant to both populations.

“We had this goal of making what we do here seem bigger than just Brown. We wanted to maintain the energy students get from the Mobile Clinics by getting more involved with the local community. We definitely also want to incorporate a community service aspect to the chapter, where members volunteer once a month.”

The project idea grew out of a seminar that the chapter coordinated on vaccine safety and awareness. The seminar touched on the importance of vaccines in preventing illness in developing countries, but also explained the anti-vaccine debate in the U.S. and gave practical information to students about what vaccinations they can receive on campus.

Katie believes that their success this year can be attributed to a few factors. “I think it really rested on the combination of the energy of those who had participated in a Mobile Clinic last spring bringing that energy to the new school year, and the organization of the e-board. We had our recruitment strategy and fundraisers planned out before the fall semester even started, and made it really easy for new students to get involved.”

Currently MEDLIFE is looking to hear more stories from student chapters on campus. If you have a few minutes to spare, please submit a short video response detailing your accomplishments this year by following these instructions. Thank you for your participation!


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.