Medical Students Support Haitians

Published March 8, 2010

UB medical students “passed the hat” and organized events to raise funds for Haiti in the aftermath of the massive earthquake in January 2010.

Over three days, the medical school clubs Hands Across Borders and the UB chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) raised nearly $600 from first- and second-year classes.

“We have few resources, little time and minimal experience to draw on to help,” said Bridget Buyea, a second-year medical student and president of Hands Across Borders, in an e-mail to fellow students announcing the effort.

“But I believe that together we can make a worthwhile contribution to the relief effort in the form of money.”

Buyea and Nkem Nweze, co-president of the UB SNMA, also e-mailed medical students suggesting they contribute online to Partners in Health, the organization established in Haiti in 1987 by Paul Farmer, MD, and colleagues, which now is a highly regarded worldwide health organization.

Farmer is renowned for his medical work in impoverished countries around the globe. In August 2009, he was appointed United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

In January, the students held a “Trivia for Haiti” fundraiser at Mister Goodbar on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, and in February SNMA officers campaigned for students and faculty of the medical school to attend a lecture titled “Public Health Impact of the Haitian Crisis,” given by Pavani Ram, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. In her talk, Ram described the effects of natural disasters on developing countries and how aid is distributed in a crisis.