Chapman Wei, Team Captain
Chapman grew up in New York City and loves coming back for 1-dollar pizza slices, cheap dumplings, exploring new hole-in-the-wall places. Graduating from Stuyvesant high school, Chapman was accepted for a provisional seat at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWU-SMHS) through the combined 8-year BS-MD dual admittance program with St. Bonaventure University and GWU-SMHS. After finishing his core clinical rotations at GWU-SMHS, he is currently a research fellow for the Department of Dermatology at GWU-SMHS where he partakes in clinical research for the Department of Dermatology and bench science research regarding cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, oral squamous carcinoma at the GW Cancer Center. During his free time, he enjoys cooking traditional Chinese food, exploring cities, and playing the piano. Chapman plans to use his future profession in dermatology to provide high-quality dermatologic care to people in need across the globe. He will collaborate with other like-minded physicians to establish medical missions to improve diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions in resource-poor settings.
Refka Al Beyati, Team Member
My name is Refka Al Beyati. I was born in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Growing up in Iraq, I witnessed many diseases go untreated due to limited healthcare access during the war. It was disheartening to watch many young lives suffer. The main source of medical care in Iraq was provided by international missions, teams of doctors from advanced countries set up camps to provide basic medical care. Despite the dangers, those medical professionals risked their lives to serve those less fortunate. The care they provided far surpassed the care available in our own hospitals. I vowed to grow up and become someone who can help those in need the way these medical teams helped me and my family.
After moving to the United States, I continued to pursue my passion in becoming a physician. I finished medical school at George Washington University where I found myself taking advantage of every opportunity to grow as an individual. I volunteered at a student run clinic called the Healing Clinic in DC, providing medical care to the underprivileged patients in my community. I am currently an intern at UCLA internal medicine program getting the training ai need to pursue my passion in global health. My goal is to become a compassionate and committed internist who is able to provide excellent care to patients from different backgrounds.
Zahra Aligabi, Team Member
Zahra was the first of five children to be born to two hardworking refugees of the Iraqi war, twenty-one years ago. She grew accustomed to the trial and error nature of growing up part of the first-generation youth narrative in America. She is the first of her immediate and extended family to graduate high school; graduating at 16, she became a full-time undergraduate student and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Outside of her pre-medicine courses, she was very passionate and enjoyed her undergraduate concentrations in Global Health and minors in Global Poverty and Technology Entrepreneurship.
Committed to being a life-long learner, she decided to begin her pursuit of a Master’s degree in Anatomical and Translational Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWSMHS). Also during this gap period after completing her undergraduate career, she began working as a research assistant at the Cancer Center at GWSMHS, where her bench work focuses on Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
As she applies to medical school this cycle, she longs for a school that will provide learning opportunities for her to diversify her public health and clinical experiences abroad. This desire was intensified as she recently had the honor to volunteer and intern at a local Iraqi hospital- which not only re-invigorated her passion to give back, but also made her aware of areas that third-world and war-torn countries can improve their standard of medical care. This is a goal she works toward everyday, alongside her hobbies in fashion design, reading, and soccer.
Fredrick Martyn, Team Member
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Fredrick received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Bonaventure University in New York and is currently a medical student at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. He recently took a gap year to work in Colombo, Sri Lanka through The Asia Foundation’s LankaCorps Fellowship where he led a research project investigating the STD risks among women employed in massage parlors. Fredrick is also a humor writer and poet; he contributes to the medical satire website GomerBlog, directs his school’s comedy show and frequently performs his humor poems at open mics. He hopes to combine his creative interests with his interests in community medicine and global health.
Liqi Shu, Team Member
Liqi was born in Hangzhou, China where he grew up before coming to the US for college. He went to Emory University and graduated with majors in computer science and biology. He then went to medical school at George Washington University where he had opportunities for Haiti medical trip and extramural rotation in China. He loves travel and photography. Whenever he travels, he brings his camera and takes photos of memorable moments.
A sustainable healthcare infrastructure following medical volunteers exiting is vitally needed in communities globally. Given that volunteerism provides an immersive opportunity to serve global health needs, we propose a two-phase plan that improves volunteer experience and expands local communities’ interest in sustaining adequate healthcare for their members. The first phase is empowerment. Following service withdrawal, many volunteers, especially students, felt that they provided inadequate medical services because of their unpreparedness to clinical and cultural challenges. To approach this problem, we will arm service members with vital knowledge about basic standard of clinical care with a flipped-classroom model.
A flipped-classroom teaching model requires that content is provided to students at home while practice is done at school; this allows teachers to tailor their teaching to students’ specific needs. This instructional model has proven to help students learn material effectively to apply it more confidently. After a team is assembled, the institution needs to outline basic trainee-level standards for clinical care resources for the service team and the community’s liaison. The community’s liaison will provide the same flipped classroom content to their community’s leaders, healthcare professionals, and trainees. Additionally, there must be continuous coordination with the local experts regarding the community’s healthcare needs and cultural respect guidelines; this way the flipped classroom model can be modified to reflect the area’s necessities without exploiting its people.
Upon site arrival, team leaders need to coordinate with community healthcare professionals that underwent training on how to supervise future trainees, so that they may agree on the standard of care expected of all volunteers and local trainees. In that way, community leaders and service volunteers establish trust and confidence in the standard of medical care and that can sustainably be performed by local community members. This approach minimizes community exploitation by volunteers and local community members’ distrust in their own health professionals. To decrease moral distress of volunteers and local trainees, a balanced curriculum of didactics containing health education, health systems, and population health in congruence with direct patient care will be created. Although this may decrease the amount of direct patient contact for volunteers, this will establish a foundational opportunity for local community members to invest in their own community when it comes to devising and maintaining a long-term healthcare system.
The second phase involves expansion through organizing interprofessional summits for local healthcare providers to come together and discuss healthcare concerns. Service members can take part in panel discussions or help guide the community members through organizational logistics. Ultimately, however, the summit will be run by the community for the community. This will not only put the decision-making into the hands of the locals but it will be sustainable as it will allow the community to independently lead and manage their own healthcare systems without reliance on interventional volunteerism.
We believe that through this two-phase approach of a flipped-class model coupled with volunteer-guided, locally-run interprofessional summits, U.S volunteers can make a sustainable, less invasive impact on smaller international communities.