Lasting Difference

University of Missouri, Kansas City

Shannon Demehri, Team Leader

Shannon Demehri grew up by the Chesapeake Bay in a little town named Leonardtown where she spent most of her days trying to explain where exactly Leonardtown is, and discovering new ways to get on her sister’s last nerve. After high school, she joined University of Missouri- Kansas City’s six-year medical program where she is beginning her final year of medical school. She is also an Ensign in the United States Navy, and plans to serve as an anesthesiologist once she graduates. When she isn’t attempting to decipher U-World questions or taking spontaneous naps, you will find her modeling for local designers, baking and consuming mounds of delectable goodies, or cuddling with her favorite fluffy white pup, Roo.

Hunter Faris, Team Member

Hunter was raised in a tiny town of 1600 called Weston, Missouri. His childhood is showered with adventurous memories of hiking with his father, playing sports, and never letting his sister have the remote. Despite breaking multiple limbs, he still managed to graduate valedictorian of his high school. He then packed his bindle, and headed off to make his dreams come true in the big city (Kansas City) where he was accepted into University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Six-year B.A./M.D medical school. Nowadays he enjoys spending time with his little family (including his fiancee and two puppies: Raina the black bear and Sir Richard Roofus Rogelio Rodzinger), playing DnD with friends, mountain biking, and watching lots and lots of anime. As he counts down his last year of medical school, he looks forward to finding out how little sleep he can live with during residency in General Surgery with the US Navy.

Team Essay

Pinned to a billboard outside the medical school elevators, a yellow flyer dangled by a pushpin with big letters requesting volunteers to package, label, and load medications into a bag destined for a clinic in Nicaragua. Instructions at the event were clear: package one month of tablets per bottle, and one bottle would go to each future patient. What was unclear was how just one month of a medication could make a difference for patients with lifelong diseases.

Without knowledge of the factors influencing the health of people in other countries and in our own, it is difficult to determine where exactly donations and volunteer efforts would provide the most benefit to the largest amount of people. There are numerous studies demonstrating the benefits of medications; therefore, giving out a medication to someone with a chronic condition seems like the obvious and simple solution. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary band-aid on a much larger global problem in populations without steady access to medications and medical care. Solutions that will make large and long-lasting differences can be found by giving us, each aspiring global health professional, the opportunity to learn about what individuals around the world already have access to, what they struggle with on a daily basis, what they don’t know, what they do know, and what is important to them. Through learning about all these different aspects of various populations, we will grow into advocates for the patients in greatest need.

The environment people live in greatly influences their health, but it differs vastly between populations. Gaining more knowledge on the challenges faced for our global patients not only provides insight and helps us learn how best to serve global populations, but also allows us to find similarities in the obstacles all patients face so that we can develop solutions that will be applicable in the health practices at home and abroad.

Through working with other health professionals, if we all came together as a team, sharing what we have learned and gained from our experiences with different populations, maybe we can help bridge the gaps in care patients experience globally. Many medical conditions are prevalent all over the world, and many populations that are an ocean away deal with similar challenges. What one group of people has figured out may not have reached another, but there is still time to spread the knowledge. By traveling to these areas, learning from the communities, and sharing our experiences globally, we learn and grow to provide the support for the greatest in need.