Day 89: Giving back

Today’s inane images of the day:

David and Ghazala sporting our new OUWB sweatshirts! As a class, we ordered this sweatshirts as well as sweatpants a while back so it was really exciting to finally get them!

Sara, Ghazala and I at Alternatives for Girls dropping off the 125 lbs of hygiene and cosmetics products collected through our October AMWA “Cause-metics” drive!

One of the most cited reasons for why medical personnel choose this particular path is that they have a passion for helping others. We want to touch the lives of others. We want to heal them of their pain. We just want to make this world a beautiful place devoid of illness.

But the sad reality is, there are a lot of barriers to utopia. Too many times, insufficient funding is the sole reason for why things cannot turn around. Sometimes, a well-intended law prevents providing shelter to those who need it most. Other times, it’s complete ignorance that prevents meaningful, positive change. Regardless of the facts, we want to make a positive impact on our community in whatever way that we can.

I wanted to get our OUWB branch of the American Medical Women’s Association off the ground as soon as possible so that we could get out there and use what [little] time we have to make a positive impact. Although any organization can do community service, young and adult women do have different needs and our group strives to address those. Today, we were able to address one small need of a multifaceted non-profit organization in Detroit called Alternatives for Girls that serve homeless and high-risk girls and young women. The organization started up in the late 80s after a needs assessment made it clear that many girls and young women were falling through the cracks of the system. Often times, 16-21 year olds are unable to obtain foster care and are too young to go to an adult shelter. Also, many of these young women may have children and feel unsafe in a male-dominated shelter. After recognizing all of this, Alternatives for Girls was founded.

The organization has numerous programs that benefit those who use the shelter as well as others who need assistance in starting a new life. I suggest perusing their website to see just how many programs are available [and if you’re premed, definitely look into the plethora of volunteer opportunities to make an impact on girls and young women who need your support!]. This being said, it killed me to hear that they are only able to serve 20 girls/young women at this time [even though full-capacity is 30] because they do not have ample funding to open up the last 10 rooms. Apparently all it takes is ~$50,000 to hire the proper staff needed for those last 10 rooms to be open for a full year — although this sound may like a lot, many people pay this much money each year for higher education.

While I’m happy that we were able to help out by collecting donations, it still saddens me that this extraordinary organization isn’t at its full potential primarily because of money. But in the end, it always comes down to money, eh?

Today’s medical school fact of the day: Nitrites used to treat cyanide poisoning work by transforming hemoglobin into methemoglobin which is able to bind cyanide but not oxygen. This treatment is used in conjunction with blood transfusion. [Nitrites are not recommended for cyanide-poisoned patients who have also been exposed to carbon monoxide.] –From today’s TBL


2 thoughts on “Day 89: Giving back

  • November 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Great meeting you this past Friday. Good luck with the rest of the year.

  • November 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    @Sepho: Great meeting you too! Thank you and good luck with the rest of your application cycle. =)

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