Students with an interest in global health didn’t have to venture far last week to learn more about the rewards and challenges of international mission trips.

Representatives from some of the nation’s best-known international humanitarian organizations came to campus April 14 to share their stories and thoughts during the first of what is hoped to be an annual Global Health Summit Panel. The panel discussion was a joint effort of the EVMS M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health and the Student Global Health Coalition.

“The goal of this inaugural panel was to strengthen partnerships between EVMS and international humanitarian organizations and enhance learning experiences that support EVMS' mission to train the most community-oriented physicians and health professionals,” said Cynthia Romero, MD, Director of the Brock Institute.

Lauren van Reesema, a second-year medical student and President of the Student Global Health Coalition, said the panelists helped stoke her classmates’ passion for global health.

“I think the Global Health Summit Panel was a great start for developing stronger relationships with these organizations in the near future, and for informing our students of the opportunities that can be available to them,” she said.

The panelists included:

  • William Magee, DDS, MD, Co-founder and CEO of Operation Smile International;
  • Juan Montero II MD, Founder of Montero Medical Missions;
  • Holly Beistline, MPH, Program Manager, International Health, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation;
  • Leslie Toledo, MPH, Medical Operations Director of Global Health Programs, Physicians for Peace;
  • Ron Oates, Director of Humanitarian Operations and Disaster Relief, Christian Broadcast Network International.  

The panelists discussed a variety of topics, ranging from strategies to identify needs and build relationships in other countries to ways that EVMS students can get involved in missions abroad and local activities. They also encouraged students to pursue their passion to serve others through medical missions and disaster recovery/relief efforts.