Students give back, learn with Timmy Global Health

For University of South Carolina students who want to become doctors, Timmy Global Health offers real-life experience and an opportunity to help others.

The UofSC chapter of the national organization provides free health care to the village of Tena, Ecuador. Villagers pay nothing for needed items such as shots, toothbrushes, prescriptions and eyeglasses.

Carolina students engage in fundraising and gathering supplies in Columbia, then set out to Tena to serve others.

“In 10 days, we helped over 400 patients,” says sophomore Alaina Sturkie, a biology major and marketing director of the Timmy Global Health who traveled with the group to Ecuador in August.

She says she was humbled and challenged by the differences in health care.

“The prescription we wrote the most was for ibuprofen, something we just take for granted,“ Sturkie says. “We wouldn’t even think twice about going to the store and buying a whole bottle. It’s just very different health care than here in America.”

While the group is open to any UofSC students, most Timmy Global Health participants plan to attend medical school. The trip looks good on a resume, but, more importantly, it allows undergraduate students the opportunity to interact with patients.

“I thought I’d have to wait until I was a doctor to really be involved,” says Sturkie. “Timmy provided a way to get involved without being a doctor.”

The trip also confirmed a passion she has always had for medical missions.

“The things you get and the feelings you have last a lifetime,” says Sturkie.

The group meets every other Wednesday and also participates in community service and advocacy projects.

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