“This was the worst earthquake in 200 years, and it crippled a nation that was already considered the most destitute in the Western hemisphere,” said second-year student Mona Singh. “We knew that, as medical students, we did not yet have the expertise or time to physically volunteer immediately, but we still wanted to help. Raising money for relief efforts is one easy and tangible way to make a substantial impact.”
Kicking off their effort less than a week after the earthquake, they have already raised more than $1,000 in support of Partners in Health, a medical organization that has been working in Haiti for nearly 25 years. The students have collected money between classes and at lunch lectures and have steered family and friends toward a PIH Web site they created to collect donations.
“Partners in Health was the largest health care provider in rural Haiti,” said Singh, who has been aware of PIH and its founder, Paul Farmer, M.D., since college when she was first introduced to his philosophies for health care delivery. “Though the earthquake destroyed much of Haiti’s already inadequate medical infrastructure and capital city, at least 10 of PIH’s hospitals and clinics were still intact.”
The students’ selection of Partners in Health was strengthened by its endorsement by the Medical Society of Virginia, which is steering Virginia physicians interested in volunteering in Haiti to the non-profit organization.
Singh is president of the medical school’s chapters for the American Medical Students Association and also Physicians for Human Rights. She teamed up to coordinate the students’ fundraising efforts with fellow second-year students Marcie Goeden and Elizabeth Spradlin, who is president of the student chapter of the David Hume Surgical Society.
Learn more about the students’ effort or make a gift.