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CMU Global Medical Brigades

Raised toward our $2,500 Goal
51 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 03, at 12:55 AM EST
Project Owners

CMU Global Medical Brigades

Global Brigades is an international, student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Global Brigades takes a holistic development approach by collectively implementing health, economic, and educational initiatives to reach a community’s development goals in a sustainable way. The mission of Global Medical Brigades (GMB), one of Global Brigades’ nine programs (Medical, Water, Public Health, Business, etc.), is to provide sustained healthcare to underserved communities by improving access to healthcare for rural community members by organizing mobile-clinics with the help of community leaders and volunteers.

Carnegie Mellon University’s chapter of Global Medical Brigades (CMU GMB) was established in 2009. In March 2016, next spring break, we will go on our eighth brigade. The members of the 9-day hybrid medical, public health, and environmental brigade will participate in Global Brigades’ holistic approach to improving health. 

The primary goal of the medical brigade is to provide basic medical care to villagers who would otherwise not have access to healthcare. Students interact directly with community members while taking vital signs, such as height, weight, and blood pressure of those that attend the clinic. Students also shadow medical professionals, either physicians recruited from the United States or in-country doctors. Brigaders also work in the pharmacy where they fill the necessary prescriptions. Finally, students work in small workshops with community members to educate them about particular sanitation and general health practices. The group has found that interaction with the community creates meaningful connections that promote effective, personable, and culturally sensitive care. Brigaders attending the service trip are trained throughout the year on the Spanish language and culture. Through the group’s immersion in the communities, students gain insight into the cultural beliefs and perspective of Nicaragua. This has always been an integral part of GMB’s mission. WIth a proper understanding of culture, GMB is better able to address the needs of the communities.

In the latter half of the brigade, the group will be participating in public health and environmental service projects. The group strives to address the illnesses seen in clinic at the source by engineering solutions that fit with the daily life of community members. By building sanitation units, several illnesses linked to general hygiene can be dramatically reduced. The construction of eco-friendly stoves helps rid lung diseases and cement flooring can reduce exposure to disease-causing parasites. All of these projects require the participation of community members. This allows the community to be personally invested in their own health and educates them on proper maintenance of these facilities. Additionally, in the environmental portion of the brigade, students will have the opportunity to educate local communities about environmental and financial sustainability, establish a "model farm" (a sustainable agriculture project using multiple components and products to combat the degradation of soil), and promote food security in areas of the Darien and Eastern Panama Provinces.  

Last year, the group brought nearly $95,000 worth of medication to serve over 850 patients. Without the support of Global Brigades, its chapters, and its supporters, community members would have to travel a day or longer by foot to gain access to rudimentary health care that they cannot even afford.

Our medication and supplies are entirely fundraised. Throughout the year, we collect medication from local drug stores through the generosity of customers. We also contact local organizations and pharmacies to donate any medication, supplies, and devices. Our needs range from toothbrushes and toothpaste to antibiotics and anti-parasitic medication. We apply to several grants and scholarships and hold numerous events to raise necessary funds. Still, we find ourselves struggling to raise enough to provide full care to all of those that come to the clinic.

All of the donations collected through Crowdfunding will go towards medication and supplies. By helping GMB, you will provide students with knowledge of Panamanian culture and humanitarian aid, as well as provide the basic right to health to thousands that need it most. 


Our way
of Thanking You



A handwritten thank you note and a postcard from Panama

17 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2016



Personal shout out on the Crowdfunding website updates section

4 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2016



Photographs from our trip on CD

6 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2016



Personalized thank you video

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2016
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