Students bring GlobeMed chapter to Whitman

Kyle Seasly

According to the GlobeMed national website, over one billion people across the world lack access to health care systems and each day more than 36,000 people die preventable deaths.

GlobeMed is a network of university students across the United States who partner with grassroots organizations around the world to improve the health of people living in poverty. Whitman sophomores Colleen Bell and Kaitlan Benner have started a new GlobeMed chapter at Whitman in hopes of leading the fight for global health equality.

Credit: Allie Felt

Bell first heard about the program when she was at an admitted students day event at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT and talked with several members in the Middlebury GlobeMed chapter. Since then, Bell has been working to get a club started here at Whitman College.

“The selection process for starting a new chapter is selective because GlobeMed national office wants to make sure all of the new chapters and partnerships will succeed,” Bell said.

While GlobeMed has become selective, it has been growing quickly, and has gone from 19 to 32 to 46 chapters in recent years.

Bell has been working since last spring to get the Whitman GlobeMed chapter started. Recently she attended a GlobeMed workshop in Chicago.

“The training in Chicago went really well. It had lots of great information as well as awesome speakers. GlobeMed has a unique and cool network all across the country.”

The Whitman College chapter has been assigned to raise funds for a refugee camp located in Thailand called the Burmese Woman’s Union. The leaders of the camp are very excited to work with university students.

If all goes according to plan, some members of the club may even venture to Thailand over the summer for hands-on work with the refugees. Among their many options, Bell and Benner hope to start a reproductive health training program with their organization.

However, Bell warns that the club’s mission is not to send students to Thailand, but to work as an outlet for students with a passion for global health and social justice.

“Don’t think of this club as a ‘free trip to Thailand club.’ We are looking for people with a passion for helping people, regardless of if they get the opportunity to help over the summer or not,” Bell states.

Although the club promotes global health equity, the club is not only directed at pre-med students.

“It’s important to have a global perspective at this day and age,” states Benner. One can indeed gain lots of knowledge from learning about how other cultures work, and in the pre-med field it certainly cannot hurt on an application.

The club is also currently looking for members of its executive board.

“We haven’t set a specific tone to the club yet; we are welcome to new ideas,” states Bell. “We want a club that has a positive tone of collaboration as well as effectively funding our partner group in Thailand”

Although the group is fairly new on campus, Bell and Benner have done a large amount of advertising, encouraging first-years and upperclassmen to join their cause.

“GlobeMed sounds like a good program with lots of potential for helping people,” stated first-year Tom Shellum.

Amongst the many clubs on campus, Bell hopes that GlobeMed can work cooperatively with students to grow into a well-respected program on campus.

“I hope the Whitman community can come together over GlobeMed as it has done for so many other programs,” said Bell.