When Anja Frost (COL ’12) and Ashley Sharp (COL ’12) founded the Georgetown chapter of GlobeMed, a national organization that helps provide health care and education in Guatemala, they were hoping to fill a void on campus.

“Georgetown is such an internationally-focused school, but before we didn’t have a global health club, which is odd since there are basically three majors at Georgetown dedicated to global health,” current Co-President Anna Trakhtenberg (SFS ’13) said.

GlobeMed, a national organization founded at Northwestern University, links student groups from 46 different American college campuses with individual health organizations in developing countries around the globe.

Last semester, the group raised more than $6,500 through bake sales and individual donations to support a new nutrition program at Primeros Pasos, a health clinic based in the Palajunoj Valley in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The clinic works in the surrounding rural communities to provide health care and education to the area’s youth.

Lisa Convery, the clinic’s development director, estimated that in the past few years the clinic has treated almost half of the children and adolescents living in those areas, or about 3,000 patients annually. Many of these children would otherwise be at risk for deadly but preventable diseases like appendicitis.

“There’s highly limited access to public health care for people in the rural areas, and there’s no health education in any of the curriculums in their public education system,” Convery said. “That’s why it’s so important that organizations like GlobeMed … provide the services needed to marginalized communities.”

The organization now hopes to raise a total of $10,000, which will go toward hiring a nutritionist to assess the needs of Palajunoj Valley’s population and distribute vitamins and other nutritional supplements.

Four to five members of GlobeMed at Georgetown will also visit Primeros Pasos this summer to volunteer at the clinic and in the surrounding community.

“The unique thing about us is that we actually get to go there and see the people you’re helping,” Club Secretary Sheena Karkal (COL ’15) said. “I’m really excited to get to talk to the kids, tell them what’s a proper meal and how to take care of themselves [and] help people who don’t have access to the things we take for granted.”

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