The UCCS Global Medical Brigades is shifting into gear this year with upcoming fundraising events for students interested in the program, with their sights set on a medical brigade to Guatemala in 2023.
The Global Medical Brigades is a student-run organization that provides assistance and resources to communities in countries lacking proper medical care. The work they have accomplished has benefited a handful of communities, changing thousands of lives.
The club’s co-president, Juan Maldonado, said, “Global Brigades works to bring basic triage and health education to under-served communities in countries abroad.” According to Maldonado, their goals can vary from things like building latrines or small water reservoirs to providing medical education.
Planning this yearly trip to countries overseas has had its fair share of difficulties. “Most of the difficulties come during the planning, the school has a lot of deadlines we need to meet. We need to get the places checked off, the names of people who travel checked off and they need to approve the trip overall,” Maldonado said. “But once we get on that plane, we get to work, and that’s what we’ve been planning for a year.”
The Global Medical Brigades has already been to Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and Ghana to help deliver medical supplies and education.
All of the club’s resources are fundraised through UCCS events, donations and student government funding. The fundraising events put on by the club encompass a wide variety of activities. Every year they host a banquet and auction in the spring, and their casino nights are very popular events that bring in lots of attention to the club.
However, when funding is short, the club takes to the streets of Colorado Springs to ask for donations.
While the club is certainly dedicated to their work overseas, the community that they build in Colorado Springs is also important. The club has upwards of 50 members who participate in various community service activities on campus and around the city.
Maldonado said he values the club because of the important work they do and appreciates that it has helped him grow as a college student.
“I enjoy being aware of the fact that I am able to help people, and the brigades are totally worth it. We work so hard to achieve what we do, which is to better people’s lives whether it be abroad or in our own community,” he said.
The club’s strong interpersonal relationships help their cause and the people they meet, too. “Simple friendships can go a long way, not just for the ones involved but for exterior parties as well,” Maldonado said.
For their trip to Guatemala next May, the club has a few campus fundraising events in the works, including a poker night this month with assistance from the poker club.
Students looking to get involved with the club can contact them through Mountain Lion Connect or by emailing either of the club co-presidents. The club also accepts donations online.
Juan Pablo Maldonado, co-president of the UCCS Global Medical Brigades. Photo by Kira Thorne.