The Timmy Global Health (http://www.timmyglobalhealth.org) offers the promise of a healthy future to low-income communities in developing countries. Formerly known as the Timmy Foundation, the organization was founded in 1997 by Dr. Charles Dietzen, who was an Indianapolis-based pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. Among its missions, the organization provides “direct medical assistance and healthcare services to low-income communities in the developing world through short-term medical brigades.”
(Photo 1 - USciences group, standing left to right: Cassandra Vitale PH/TX’14, Brianna Demchak MB’13, Shivali Patel BI’12, Shruti Patel BI’12, Niki Patel BI’13, Hope Ferguson BC’12, Timmy Global Health founder Dr. Charles Dietzen, Vaishali Desai BI’12, PMM’13, and Michelle Farbaniec BI’13. In front, left to right: Genevieve Santayana BI’12 and Kayla Carlucci BI’12. Photo 2 - at a village in Ecuador)
The USciences chapter, formed in 2010, is one of the newest members on the East Coast. Shivali Patel BI’12, former president of the USciences Timmy Global Health chapter, recently helped organize a trip to Tena, Ecuador, in the Amazon rainforest in August of 2011. There were a total of 16 students, 10 from USciences and six from Washington University, among six doctors, two nurses, two pharmacists, and 10 translators who made the journey.
Every morning for seven days, the students and doctors set out by canoe or bus, heading to the villages they would be assisting that day. They met at locations common to those community members such as a school house or community hut. During the trip, they visited approximately 14 villages. For each visit, the students and doctors saw about 80 to 100 patients. For many of the patients, this was their very first doctor’s visit.
In addition to basic medical care, the group passed out basic hygiene products such as tooth brushes, toothpaste, and vitamins. Because many of the patients are malnourished, vitamins are a huge part of the Timmy’s fundraising events.
The USciences chapter intends to continue their involvement with Timmy Global Health. Not only do the people in the communities appreciate the help they get from the volunteers, but the students appreciate the experience they get with the doctors.
“You get to pick the brains of the doctors. It’s a great learning experience. You are reminded of why people become doctors and health practioners - and that is to help people,” said Patel.
This year, the USciences chapter has 30 members and with the incoming freshman class they hope to gain more interested students. They are currently in the process of electing new board members for the 2011-12 school year. With the success of this past trip, they hope to gain more sponsors and build on their foundation.
“After the experiences on this trip, any student interested in the medical field will not want to change their mind about being in healthcare field,” said Patel.