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Mobile Medicats aim to give medical students better experience through volunteering

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Courtesy of MediCats and Courtesy of MediCats | The Daily Wildcat Mobile MediCats members work in the Tucson community on Oct. 17, 2015. Medcats is a nonprofit organization that helps meet the health needs of the Tucson community.

Mobile MediCats is a nonprofit organization created by UA students to help meet the health needs of Tucson and its community.

The organization is overseen by the Tucson-based nonprofit, Dequenesh Community Health, and is currently collaborating with the Southern Arizona Aids FoundationClinica Amistad and St. Elizabeth’s Health Center.

“Our 501(c)(3) status and strong base of student volunteers comprise our strong foundation,” said Sai Shah, vice president of communications and co-founder of Mobile Medicats. “Our established relationship will educate our future healthcare providers as well as benefit the community. Through these relationships, our volunteers will be capable and educated. Substance abuse and prenatal training sessions will be offered, STI screening tests will be administered and blood sugar will be tested to help our community become more conscious of their state of being.”

At a Pre-Health Information Blast event, Shaw, along with Andrew Good, the other co-founder and current president of the Medicats, met Deanna Lewis, founder of the nonprofit Dequenesh Community Health, a volunteer-based organization that provides “outreach, education, screening services and hands-on training for future providers,” according to its website.

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Lewis gave a presentation at the event detailing a recent trip to Ghana, where she helped people make soap. Good said Lewis was so enthused about public health, they decided to talk to her about how they could get more volunteer hours as undergraduate students.

“Before we knew it, she was talking about starting a mobile clinic with us,” Good said. “She delegated all the tasks to us. We have a good relationship with her, but it’s a little hands-off.”

Good added that the partnership has given them the ability to develop infrastructure, develop the organization and build connections with other people and organizations in the community.

As a pre-med student in a greek organization, Good said there are many business experience opportunities for undergraduate students, but not much in the way of opportunities for pre-med students to get volunteer experience.

Mobile MediCats wants to provide those opportunities.

Good said the Medicats recently won the Outstanding Collaborative Program award at the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s awards ceremony.

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“We have now developed [volunteer opportunities] in some of our community ride alongs, which we have fundraised for basic hygiene and health care packages to give to the homeless in the parks at Stone and Speedway,” Good said. “Those are great because you get direct hands-on experience with the homeless people that we’re trying to help with our free clinic that we are trying to develop.”

Mobile MediCats has worked with the Mobile Health Program at the UA, an already-existing mobile clinic run by the hospital, and are now fundraising to start their own clinic. Good said one of their goals is to partner with the UA’s Medical School to offer medical students with elective class credit for volunteering with the Medicats.

“We are currently in contact with multiple clinics in Tucson to hopefully partner up and be able to lead our own shift of clinic hours with licensed positions to serve the underprivileged population in Tucson,” Shah said.

The Mobile MediCats executive board meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and has general monthly meetings as well. If students would like to get involved or donate to the organization, they can email the organization at mobilemedicats@gmail.com, visit the website or check out the Facebook page.


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