MEDLIFE hosts ‘Explore the Americas’ event

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This past Thursday, April 23, MEDLIFE, World Around U, CELA and Omega Phi Beta hosted a cultural event entitled “Explore the Americas.”

The event offered information on medical brigade opportunities in Latin America and South America through posters, games, food and presentations on various medical issues in different cultures.

Ariella Yazdani ’16 organized the event as Co-President of MEDLIFE.

“We mainly put on this event to get (MEDLIFE’s) name out and bring awareness to the underprivileged communities in South America that MEDLIFE tries to help,” said Yazdani.

MEDLIFE is an organization that strives to improve access to medicine, education and development for low-income families everywhere.

As a collegiate chapter, Union’s MEDLIFE fundraises and advocates for students to go on volunteer missions. The purpose of each trip is to teach basic health care as well as do volunteer work and community development in South American cities in Peru and Ecuador.

Adam Starkman ’16, who participated in a volunteer brigade in Peru, did a presentation on his experience at the event.

Starkman explained that while he was in Peru he was able to spend time in isolated villages, which tend to not have access to doctors or medicine.

During his time in Peru, Starkman assisted in providing medications and teaching young children simple hygiene practices, such as how to brush their teeth.

Yazdani stated that “Explore the Americas” was an event organized to publicize the opportunity to go abroad and work with MEDLIFE, as well as to learn a little about the cultures of our fellow peers, focusing on the countries where the medical brigades are held.

MEDLIFE reached out to Union clubs — World Around You, CELA and student representatives from South American countries like Chile and Brazil — to come and share a bit about their own culture and defining aspects of their home countries.

Kimberly Casillas ’16 presented on plastic surgery and defining beauty in Brazil.

Casillas stated, “I am a representative of CELA and we chose this topic because it combines culture and medicine.”

Casillas went on to discuss some of the serious health risks associated with plastic surgery, especially when the procedures are done for free in Brazil.

Casillas explained that, “Overall, plastic surgery is open to many low-income families in Brazil. Most people wait months, sometimes years for these procedures, and Brazil is the second largest consumer of plastic surgery in the world. Many people also undergo these procedures at a younger age than most in the U.S.”

Casillas also discussed the concept of what people today consider to be beautiful.

She posed the issue of how more and more people are going through these procedures to look more European, though the surgeries come with greater and greater risks.

Yazdani concluded the “Explore the Americas” event on behalf of Union’s MEDLIFE chapter.

She stated, “MEDLIFE is a really great opportunity to go abroad, give back, volunteer and learn a bit more about the health care systems in low-income areas. It is a chance to make a difference and I believe that is really important, and thus Sharmeen and I wanted to bring awareness to the campus community about such a great organization and opportunity …”

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