As the fall semester at Auburn University begins, there is a group of pre-health students eagerly awaiting the early weeks of December — and not just because of the break.
Global Medical Brigades, an international non-profit that serves a communities’ healthcare needs, has its very own chapter here on The Plains. The president of Auburn’s chapter, Juliet Cannizzo, senior in biomedical sciences, and other volunteers are overwhelmed with excitement for the winter brigade to Athens, Greece.
Cannizzo stresses the importance of GMB, stating that there are “communities with restricted access to healthcare that need clinics set up to try and equalize global healthcare.”
She believes that GMB sets itself apart from other healthcare organizations because it “has a lot of branches, including medical brigades, dental brigades, public health, water, engineering, business and legal.”
While Cannizzo has been greatly involved with GMB during her time at Auburn, this year brings new volunteers to the organization. One of the volunteers, James Conway, freshman in biomedical sciences, shared what influenced him to join the brigade efforts.
Global Medical Brigades provides the opportunity to get clinical experience with other students while traveling abroad. According to Conway, these were two things that he was really excited about when coming to Auburn.
Kenli Myers, freshman in biomedical sciences, expressed her excitement to “see the problems that Greece faces with their healthcare and to shadow and see how the doctors go about helping these people.”
Myers also discussed poverty’s role in all of this.
“Poverty is complex. In order to fight poverty, you have to have complex solutions,” Myers said.
GMB aims to support areas struggling economically. According to Conway, understanding cultural challenges is vital to supporting people through GMB.
Elaborating on the cultural challenges experienced in Greece, Cannizzo says, “They live in rural communities—where there aren’t necessarily a lot of clinics — and patients are often turned away.”
Thankfully, GMB associates itself with healthcare professionals that, as Cannizzo puts it, “are the best.”
Members of the brigade will work alongside these healthcare professionals as they tend to a mass group of people with healthcare needs.
In order for GMB’s volunteers to partake in the trip to Athens, each student must fundraise $1,350—totaling nearly $30,000 for the entire chapter.
“The trip is not cheap. We’re paying for both the organization fees and the flight," Conway said. “It is a very high amount of money for college students, and any support we get from the public will be able to go towards this good cause."
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