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Club Series: GlobeMed

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 01:02

The fifth floor of McGuinn is relatively quiet Sunday evenings, barring a few phone calls and various people preparing for the upcoming week. Come 5 o’clock, however, you will hear the pattering of feet running up the stairs, eager to attend the weekly GlobeMed meeting.

Nearly three years into its time at Boston College, GlobeMed has become an extremely popular club for students to get involved with on campus. Focused on raising awareness about global health disparities, GlobeMed was founded by a group of students at Northwestern University in 2007 and has continued to expand to 50 university-based chapters throughout the country. Each chapter is partnered with a community-based health organization around the world—organizations are now located in over 21 countries in North America, Africa, South America, and Asia. BC’s GlobeMed chapter, founded in the fall of 2010, is partnered with (take a big breath) Centro de Capacitacion de Campesino de la Universidad Nacional San Cristobal de Huamanga in Ayacucho, Peru (CCC-UNSCH). Along with CCC-UNSCH, GlobeMed works to improve the health of the elderly and their families in the communities of Huamanguilla and Yanama—primarily through income generating projects, nutritional development and primary prevention measures. Through campaigns and events on campus such as bake sales and evenings with guest speakers, GlobeMed strives to raise money and awareness about these global health issues, and all of the money that GlobeMed raises goes directly to their partner project. Since 2010, GlobeMed at BC has raised over $5,000 to support CCC-UNSCH and their nutrition programs and income generating projects.

Upon its formation, the chapter attracted a surprisingly large following, probably due to its popularity at schools around the country. At first in the dark about how to reach out to students most effectively, the chapter has seemed to have found its footing this year with successful events—as of January, they are over halfway to their fundraising goal of $5,000. While many students have actively sought out GlobeMed, joining GlobeMed has been a product of mere happenstance for many of its staff members.

BC GlobeMed’s co-President Sahil Angelo, A&S ‘14, recalls stumbling upon the club three years ago. “I actually learned about GlobeMed by accident—I accidentally walked into an info session. I was immediately inspired by their long-term partnership model as a form of sustainable development.” In the years since, Angelo has served on the GlobeMed executive board and now acts as one of the club’s co-Presidents. “I’m really happy to see how our club has flourished. We have great campaigns and even better staff members. As a junior, I’m excited to see where we go this semester and the years to come.”

Every chapter is made up of an executive board and staff members. The board contains two globalhealthU coordinators, whose job is to educate staff members and the larger college community about global health issues. One of the globalhealthU coordinators, Nicoline Bach, A&S ‘15, revels in the student-run aspect of GlobeMed. “GlobeMed was founded by students and has been run by students ever since. I think it’s so cool that everything GlobeMed does is based on student initiative and gives students a real way to make a difference in the world. Because of GlobeMed, there is this whole network of undergrads who all share the goal of improving global health. The fact that we partner with a grassroots organization illustrates the organization’s belief in close and meaningful relationships.”

Those meaningful relationships are a central part of GlobeMed, as summits and events are held throughout the year to bring people from every chapter across the country to talk about global health. The GlobeMed Global Health Summit is the mother of all summits—attracting hundreds of students to Northwestern’s campus to explore their decisions to involve themselves in the global health movement. This year’s summit, for example, will tackle the question, “Why Students?” and will explore the unique position students are in as agents of social and global change. Taking place in April, the Summit will undoubtedly attract leaders in global health, previously hosting Partners In Health founder Paul Farmer as the honorary keynote speaker.

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