Mission Trip to Moshi, Tanzania

Becoming a physician does not just entitle diagnosing a patient, and coming up with a treatment plan. One must be aware and respectful of individuals’ cultures and beliefs. Being of Cuban descent, and growing up in Miami, has taught me just that; after all, Miami is considered one of the largest melting pots in North America. Cultural competence is a valuable asset and gives future physicians an advantage in today’s diverse world. It is a concept acquired through exposure to cultures, and not taught in a textbook. Although our cultures are a significant part of our persona, our financial situation is one of the main determinants to the quality of healthcare we receive. Despite the sad truth, I believe health care quality should be synonymous regardless of your economic standing.

Unfortunately, there is no synonimity between a patient's economic situation, and caliber of healthcare. According to the American Medical Association, more than half of physicians concur that “minority patients generally receive lower quality care than white patients”. Statistics like these support the correlation between minority groups, and our tendency to pertain to lower socioeconomic classes. Which in turn, has resulted in healthcare disparities. Disparities do not only exist in the United States, they are a continuing trend throughout the world.

I am part of a collegiate medical chapter in my school, MEDlife. The MEDlife organization focuses on providing basic health care needs in the rural areas of the world.  This year, I will be given the opportunity through MEDlife to address the discrepancies that exist in Moshi, Tanzania. As a volunteer I will help doctors create sustainable living conditions by providing the underserved population with a clean water supply, raise awareness on hygiene, and equip individuals with essential amenities such as dental care products. My missionary trip will be the stepping stone to my ultimate goal, to create my own non-profit mobile clinic.

Coming from a low-income family myself has made me aware of the disparities that still exist in the medical industry today. Rather than dwell on past misfortunes I have learned to take a positive outlook on life. You gain a certain respect for a field when it has influenced your life personally. I firmly believe that the best way to evaluate a community is to examine how they care for their less fortunate. My commitment to serving the underprivileged will help me reach my future goals. 

Unfortunately, volunteering over seas comes with a large pricetag. I have already covered the costs of the program itself, however I will need additional financial support in order to afford my flight to Moshi, Tanzania. I have done my research and the average costs of my flight will be about $2,000. With your help I plan on making my dream of volunteering in an underprivilleged population a reality.


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Stephanie Martinez 
Miami, FL
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