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MEDLIFE: Creating infrastructure in healthcare in low-income communities

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Zi Yang Lai | The Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona College of Medicine — Tucson is located on 1501 N. Campbell Ave. Many medical students see patients at the Banner University Medical Center — Tucson during their four years of school. The photo was taken on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015.

MEDLIFE is a service-oriented organization that welcomes all majors. The group of hard-working individuals works on serving underprivileged communities, regardless of the distance. 

MEDLIFE stands for medicine, education and development for low-income families everywhere. The organization primarily focuses on providing healthcare and education to developing communities. Specifically, the campus chapter wants to educate students about the realities of what low-income regions receive, and wants to offer training to those who would like to help.

MEDLIFE provides a unique opportunity to students, as they are able to travel to different counties in the U.S. and sometimes various countries. The students are trained in a variety of different services and assist in providing free healthcare to third-world countries.

It has been said to be an extremely rewarding experience and it is an eye-opener for many who have yet to visit struggling countries. To put it into perspective, the United States has approximately 44 million uninsured people. Although that may seem like a lot, the World Health Organization estimates that half of the world population is lacking basic healthcare. 

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The organization wants to help where it can and focuses on basic skills the club members can easily learn to assist in communities. Currently, due to COVID-19, it has not been stated when travel to third world countries will be available again. The safety of members takes priority. 

In the past, Arizona MEDLIFE has been very involved in volunteer clinics around Tucson and they have offered Service Learning Trips to several African and Southern American countries. Currently, you can attend virtual SLT’s where students will have the opportunity to talk with healthcare professionals and local leaders in Peru, according to Charley Furrey and Bradey Stuart, the current co-presidents.

At the University of Arizona, MEDLIFE wants to provide students with an environment where they can share moments of volunteering, learning and applying their education for the betterment of others. If you have a global mindset and want to explore facets of your degree both outside of the U.S. and in your local community, MEDLIFE is a great way to get started.

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They provide a path for students to embark on a service-learning trip and experience other parts of the world. MEDLIFE’s goal is to help families, “achieve greater freedom from the constraints of poverty, empowering them to live healthier lives. Our patients did not choose to be poor, but they have chosen to strive toward a better life; MEDLIFE stands beside them in this pursuit.”

Students who access Arizona MEDLIFE can increase their professional development. They provide opportunities to prepare their portfolio to improve their health professions application. Additionally, they are creating a platform for students to discuss their projects or interests in public health as a way to establish their online presence. They pride ourselves in networking students to opportunities such as clinical hours, research and community service. 

If you are interested in joining the club, email arizonamedlife@gmail.com. Make sure to send the email through your student email and include a description of yourself.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (5/18)
378 3 0.8%
Total (8/4)
270,694 4,359 1.6%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated May 18, 2021