May 12, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University students will be bringing much-needed medical care to Central America this summer with the campus chapter of the Global Medical Brigade.
"This trip is more than helping out people in need. It's about creating sustainable solutions for health care," said Devon Boydstun, a sophomore from Galesburg, Ill., who founded the Illinois Wesleyan chapter of the Brigade, a student-led international relief organization that brings medical care to impoverished nations. The group of 25 students will journey to Honduras in June.
Boydstun said he decided to found the organization in 2008, during his first year on campus. "I was looking for a program that would combine medical experience with helping others," said Boydstun. "The Global Brigade programs really help students get up and running by arranging travel plans and holding weekly phone discussions about expectations and issues students might face abroad." He started the group with five students.
That number has now grown to nearly 30, most of whom will accompany Boydstun on the journey. Student members enlisted the help of medical doctors who will travel with them to Honduras. Boydstun will know one of the doctors well – it is his father. "The five doctors who are coming with us are all friends or family members, which makes it easier on us," he said. "When we spoke to the doctors, many let us know this is something they always wanted to do, but were not sure how. I feel as though we are facilitating a way for physicians to give aid of which they were not aware."
While they are in Honduras, the students will work with doctors to see patients, distribute medicine, and generate medical records that will be used by other chapters of the Global Health Brigade. "This won't just end with our visit. People will receive ongoing medical care by another chapter, and perhaps our chapter again if we can return."
Returning depends upon the money the students raise for their journeys. The Global Medical Brigade has been raising funds all semester to offset travel costs. More information can be found by going to the Web site, and going to Summer/Fall 2009 Medical Brigades.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960