Suzanne Carpe ’22
Doctors Without Borders (DWB), also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, is a non-profit international organization focused in humanitarian work and dedicated to providing medical care to people in places lacking in healthcare facilities, resources, infrastructure, education, and professionals. In 2017, the overarching DWB/MSF group created a student chapter program for universities to take action in involving themselves more into the surrounding college community.
When Erin Evangelista ’20 heard about this last semester, she knew she needed to work towards making a student chapter here at Trinity College. Now serving as president of the DWB Club here on campus, Erin expressed that their goal is to form intentional relationships with all the people in associations such as the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, American Lung Association, American Red Cross, and the Opioid Education Program through Trinity’s Health Center and to educate people on the importance of “caring and empathizing with the people around us.”
The club has had quite a couple of projects this past year. For example, one recent project was a charity ball with Lea’s Foundation, which was established to raise money for leukemia research and to increase public awareness of these cancers. A group of nine people from the Trinity DWB team spend six hours of their Saturday night to facilitate the flow of the evening and connect with doctors there. Another project they are currently working on is offering CPR/Narcan lessons on campus to students who would like to be certified and prepared for the possible situation of needing to save someone’s life. Also, they have partnered with Psi U and the American Red Cross to organize the Blood Drive that will happen on Mar. 5.
Grateful for all of these accomplishments, Erin stated that nothing could have happened without the support of the club members. She mentioned that she is grateful that everyone in the club “has a passion towards appreciating the people in Hartford and improving health”.
In a conversation about their opinions on the club, members Vanessa Ross ’21, Nikola Mizgier ’19 and Tulsi Sumukadas ’20, mentioned the personal importance that the club has to them.
Vanessa expressed that she greatly appreciates the club’s mission and the focus completely on patients and helping others, a sentiment she thinks gets “often lost in medicine”. She recommends anyone who wants to be a part of “a giving, medicine-based, community service-focused community” to join the club.
Nikola talked about joining the club because her professional goal is to pursue an MD/PhD in oncology and she wants to “work in communities who may not have the resources necessary to help its residents”. She believes that the ultimate goal of the club closely resonates with what she thinks is important and “what other aspiring medical students should be strongly aware of before making a choice of becoming a doctor”.
Tulsi shared that she joined this chapter of DWB because she wanted the chance to be part of a club that raises awareness of the good that organizations such as those in the Hartford community can do for humanity. She mentioned how she has always felt so fortunate for the opportunities in life simply due to where she lives and what we have access to in this country, which have inspired her to work for others who might not enjoy such luck. Additionally, she also hopes that being part of this club will help her volunteer for the real DWB organization in the future.
At this moment, the club has a total of around 45 members and they meet every two weeks on Thursdays, where they actively discuss what the next steps and events should be. Because it is pertaining to healthcare, the club is catered more for the interests of pre-medicine students and those interested in community health. However, anyone who is interested in being part of the club and its humanitarian projects is welcome to do so.