MEDLIFE Service club treats patients internationally


by Alex Piscatelli, Contributor

The San Diego State chapter of MEDLIFE, a nationally recognized organization, provides international medical services to people in need.

“(We) organize a group to go abroad … and help out the local communities there, (providing) medical services, education and whatever else is needed,” chapter Co-President Justin Bacolor said.

With more than 120 university chapters in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia, MEDLIFE provides students with the opportunity to meet and interact with many different people.

“You meet different students from different places,” chapter Treasurer Savannah Sawaged said. “It connects you, (being able to learn) about different interests and different career pathways for people who are interested in those professions in their future.”

Anyone can get involved in MEDLIFE, but the chapter appeals to students with majors in medical-related fields.

Sawaged said she values the opportunity to help others in different countries and experience a mix of cultures.

“This was the exact organization I dreamed of in high school,” she said.

Meetings at SDSU provide hands-on experience.

Students prepare mobile health clinics and listen to guest speakers in the medical field.

“We have speakers from medical schools come over,” Bacolor said. “Most of our students are going to be applying to their respective medical schools, so it helps a lot to have (speakers) from a school of their interest to come and talk to them.”

In addition to attending meetings, chapter Co-President Grace Narvaza recommended students should get involved in their community events and fundraising.

“We coordinate with other pre-health organizations on campus,” she said. “This semester we are planning a feed-the-homeless drive.”

The group also has a winter trip coming up where they will be going abroad to Lima, Peru from Jan. 9-17.

The chapter officers said the international trips were a major highlight of the MEDLIFE club.

“My favorite part is being able to give back to the community,” Bacolor said. “There is an injustice in the health system. We, as students here in America, have access to all this health care, but others in Third World countries don’t have the access, yet they’re the ones who really need that help.”

The SDSU chapter of MEDLIFE meets every other Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. in the Metzli Suite, located on the second floor of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

For more information, visit their Facebook page or email