Photo Credits: Global Medical Brigades. Global Medical Brigades at UC Davis members meeting over Discord.
How volunteer and service organizations have continued to improve their communities in the pandemic
As a continuation of the pandemic positivity series, UC Davis organizations discuss more ways in which they have continued to support the local community.
A social media promotion held by Hearts for Homeless.
Hearts for the Homeless
Hearts for the Homeless is an international organization that provides free services to the homeless population in the Davis and greater Sacramento areas. Fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Shrushti Patel is the president and co-founder of the organization. Patel discussed the efforts being made by the organization during the pandemic.
“So far we’ve done fundraisers and drives to collect donations that we’ve given to local homeless shelters and churches for distribution,” Patel said via email. “We are currently in the process of planning our first telehealth screening event where we will be checking patients’ vitals and educating them on ways they can prevent cardiovascular disease through diet and exercise. In addition to that, we’ve made little COVID-19 care packages that included masks, hand sanitizer bottles and socks which were passed out in downtown Davis.”
Volunteers of Willow Clinic.
The Willow Clinic is one of the nine student-run clinics in the Sacramento area. The clinic aims to provide accessible healthcare to the underserved homeless population. UC Davis undergraduate students work alongside medical students and doctors to provide health care services and health education. Fourth-year biochemistry and computer science double major Jeffery Hooper is an undergraduate volunteer at the clinic. Hooper commented on how the clinic has continued to help their patients during quarantine.
“We are trying to find new ways to serve and support our patients during this difficult time,” Hooper said. “Every Saturday we hold a telehealth clinic where patients can call in and receive medication refills. The medical students handle the majority of the visit while the undergraduates deal with the social service aspect of the patient care. We have also helped create care-kits for our patients to give away. And we have been developing a book to give to patients to help log information such as the exercise, blood sugar and meals so that they can better manage their health concerns like diabetes.”
Zoom meeting of Alzheimer’s Buddies members.
Alzheimer’s Buddies is an organization that aims to bridge the gap of the social disengagement that many people diagnosed with late stages of Alzheimer’s experience. As part of the organization, volunteers participate in weekly visits to patients that suffer from dementia to provide them with support and companionship. Fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Vidushi Razdan is a current member of the organization. Razdan discussed the efforts being made by the organization to continue to engage with the community.
“During the pandemic we have focused on raising awareness, fundraising and having informational training sessions,” Razdan said. “We have also made care packages for our buddies and raised over $600 for the Alzheimer’s Association.”
Zoom meeting of Global Medical Brigades at UC Davis members.
Global Medical Brigades
Global Medical Brigades is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the health of underserved populations around the world. Under normal circumstances, club members are given the opportunity to spend time abroad to help local communities in countries such as Panama, Ghana and Greece. Fourth-year psychology major Kaitlin Zheng is the president of the UC Davis Global Medical Brigades. Zheng discussed how the organization has continued to partake in outreach efforts during the pandemic.
“We decided that in order to continue making an impact [from] the safety of our homes during quarantine, we would redirect our efforts into virtually supporting our local communities at home,” Zheng said. “This was done by encouraging our members to fundraise for funds such as Habitat for Humanity, participating in the UC Davis Chi Omega Wish Walk, and our biggest impact was raising $698 for Feeding America, a nationwide network that works to reduce hunger in struggling families and individuals across America. Furthermore, we also provide non-monetary outreach opportunities for members such as using phone apps that track steps to reach 10K a day to donate a free meal to a person in need and another that donates grains of rice for correctly answered trivia questions.”
Written by: Sneha Ramachandran — email@example.com