LSU Brigades Make a Real Difference: Student Spotlight

Dec 21, 2023 9:41:00 AM | From the Field LSU Brigades Make a Real Difference: Student Spotlight

LSU’s Global Medical Brigades has worked with over 4,900 people in under-resourced communities, raising $1.2M for high-quality access to healthcare.

Through unwavering dedication and collective effort, Louisiana State University's Global Medical Brigades Chapters have raised over $1.2 million and hosted 22 Medical Brigades to reach nine under-resourced rural communities with essential mobile medical clinics. 

The average Global Medical Brigade chapter impacts around 300 lives per clinic. LSU's remarkable efforts have touched the lives of over 4,900 people so far. 

This achievement is a testament to the passionate commitment of LSU's student members and leaders, such as Bella Morel and Nya Jackson. These students are not just participants, but changemakers, driving forward a mission of global health and community empowerment. 

Their journey with LSU’s chapter is a powerful narrative of transformative impact, inspiring others to join and be part of this life-changing movement.

LSU Medical Brigades Chapter 1

Students Go Out on a Limb, Empower Children in Guatemala

Bella Morel is the President of LSU’s Medical and Dental Brigades Chapters. This pre-dental student has grown immensely from her experiences with Global Brigades, including a recent program in Guatemala where she and the team set up a clinic for an under-resourced community.

“My best friend, and current Vice President, Nya Jackson, heard about Global Brigades from one of her classes our freshman year,” Bella recounts. “We decided to go out on a limb and apply for the [next brigade program].”

Bella and Nya (pictured above) went on the brigade and immediately formed special connections with community members in Aldea Bola de Oro. Their Chapter worked with patients in partner communities who would have little to no healthcare access without the presence of Global Medical Brigades.

“Engaging with the children in the communities…has been profoundly impactful,” Bella says. “Despite our language barriers, [we end up] playing soccer, tag, or simply talking.” She often holds anxious young patients’ hands, repeating “esta bien” during injections. Without fail, she recalls with a smile, these moments always end with a sweet hug.

Empowering children during a Medical Brigade is a top memory for many volunteers who return from a brigade. Through joyful play, health education workshops, and access to healthcare for entire families, this aspect of a medical clinic brings sustainability and human connection to the ongoing empowerment of volunteers who will go on to become healthcare professionals and to families seeking improved access to healthcare.

“Confronting the daily conditions faced by the people of these communities was profoundly eye-opening, strengthening my drive to contribute meaningfully in my future dental career.”

LSU Medical Brigades Chapter 2

Bittersweet Farewells

Saying farewell proved bittersweet, but even such a short time in a community made such an impact. More importantly, Global Medical Brigades would continue returning to Aldea Bola de Oro to provide ongoing access to healthcare and more.

“When our time at the community is over and we have to say our farewells,” Bella continues, “their gestures, such as gifting us with flowers, reinforce the meaningful relationships we fostered during our time.”

“After our Guatemala clinic concluded, the community held a ceremony for us, completely immersing us into their culture. This moment was extremely touching and really expressed how much gratitude they had for us to be there.”

This ceremony included singing the national anthem, speeches, performances by various classes at the school, taking photos, praying together, plenty of hugging, and crying as they realized their time together was coming to an end.

LSU Medical Brigades Chapter 4

Bella’s Advice on Joining a Brigade

When asked what advice she would give to pre-med students considering joining a brigade, Bella has an emphatic answer: “Embrace this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture and healthcare environment.”

“Firsthand exposure to diverse communities enriches your understanding of global health. These experiences go beyond the classroom. They provide hands-on, real-world experiences that are instrumental in preparing you for the challenges of [an effective and compassionate] medical career.”

Don’t hesitate. Join your local Global Brigades Chapter, or learn more about starting a new chapter on your campus. “Remember, the impact you create today will echo in the lives you touch tomorrow!”

Want to learn more about joining or starting a chapter at your university?

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LSU Medical Brigades Chapter 3

Written By: Global Brigades