GlobeMed is a national network of over 50 universities that each partner with grassroots organizations all over the world with the objective of improving global health disparities. The Emory University chapter has partnered with the Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to empower Burmese migrants who have come to Thailand to seek better working conditions and health care.
College senior and Internal Co-President of GlobeMed at Emory Alexis Walls has been with the chapter since the spring of her freshman year.
“We work towards achieving health equity for people living in impoverished communities worldwide and we do this through both education and partnership,” Walls said. “Our chapter specifically partners with a NGO called MAP Foundation that works to empower migrant workers from Burma that come to Thailand for the purpose of job opportunity, security and health care.”
College senior Beck Castor, GlobeMed campaign co-director, explained the importance of having a partner organization.
[quote_regular name=”” icon_quote=”no”]”GlobeMed really get students involved in different social justice issues and learning about global health as well and being able to physically do something instead of discussing — so that’s the point of us having a grassroots partner organization, so that we are actually influencing other people’s lives in a positive way,” Castor said.[/quote_regular]
MAP’s ultimate objective is to create a future for the Burmese people who will have the right to stay and work safely in their home country or migrate securely to a place where human rights are upheld with the utmost respect, according to GlobeMed’s website. Currently, far too many migrants in the world do not receive or have access to proper treatment and government institutions, such as hospitals, due to language barriers and lack of documentation and health care education, the website says. These Burmese migrants are at the mercy of Thai workers and are living in constant fear of deportation. Despite the challenging conditions, migrants still flee Burma in the hopes of obtaining freedom and security in Thailand, which they see as a land of possibility, according to the website.
Due to these threats and barriers, many migrants do not have access to health insurance or social welfare since they are undocumented, thus MAP’s belief that “No Human Being Is Illegal.” MAP has created a Crisis Support Project in order to try to provide hospital and clinic interpretation, transportation and funeral services when needed. GlobeMed at Emory’s goal this year is to raise $4,000 for the Crisis Support Project, which will be used to fund interpretation services at local clinics and hospitals, access to information about health policies, and support for a complete recovery and secure return home.
Most recently, GlobeMed hosted their first-annual GlobeMed Banquet, where medical and health experts from Emory and Atlanta gathered with college undergraduates, graduates, alumni and professors from the University. The purpose of the evening was to generate a comprehensive discussion on the theme “Barriers to Healthcare in the Migrant Community of Metro Atlanta” through dinner, trivia, speaker presentations, panels and networking.
College junior and Campaign Co-Director for GlobeMed at Emory Yeji Park was one of the primary organizers of the event.
[padding type=”medium_left_right”][quote_box name=””]”Not only did we want to raise awareness about a major global health issue, which GlobeMed is personally passionate about, but we also wanted to tie the different communities of Emory to start a conversation on this, because we don’t think a lot of events like this happen at Emory. Our driving factor was raising money for our partner foundation and we wanted to support their Crisis Support Program. Our goal was to raise $1,000 and we just about made the mark.”[/quote_box][/padding]
In addition to GlobeMed raising money and awareness to the cause, each week at their general body meetings, two students will host a GlobalHealthU session, which consists of group discussions on a variety of global health issues, from disability to poverty in the elderly population. This summer, GlobeMed at Emory will also be having their Grassroots On-Site Work (GROW) internship with MAP, where three students will travel to Thailand to obtain hands-on experience working with migrant communities to develop strong bonds with the organization and empower the Burmese people.
GlobeMed tries to attract students from all academic backgrounds, and does not require members to be pre-med or even studying any kind scientific field. It is seeking to educate and empower students in a field where doctors and highly educated and experienced professionals hold the reigns. The organization wants to take it one step further beyond the concept of “raising awareness.”
“I would say the purpose of GlobeMed is to engage students in issues in global health and social justice and to get them to do something about it, which is something we are all working on ourselves,” Walls said.