American Univesity of Beirut

Time to give

​​​​​​​October 29​​, 2021​

Dwindling supplies of fuel and medicine have put exponential strains on Lebanon’s healthcare systems. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are experiencing daily stressors and obstacles in providing adequate care to their patients. This is the field that AUB medical and nursing students will soon be entering, but not all students are deterred. In fact, many are motivated more than ever and are finding inspiration through volunteering at AUBMCares’ free clinics and initiatives. Through AUBMCares, students have the chance to engage with the community and provide much needed healthcare and solace to people with limited access to quality care.

We spoke to some students about their experience volunteering and how the work has helped build resilience in their communities and themselves. These are their stories.

Mohamad Mdaihly, Medicine II
Medicine has always been about creating healers and not simply doctors. The current situation in Lebanon is a true reflection for us, medical students, on our future role that exceeds simply applying our knowledge to diagnose and treat, but also to sympathize with our patients and seek change that goes beyond medicine and includes all of our community.

Sarah Malaeb, Nursing undergraduate student
The response I’ve gotten from patients during the musical rounds that I did at AUBMC in collaboration with TIES was just another proof of the tremendous impact that art has on our lives. Musical rounds have always been helpful in decreasing the anxiety that cancer patients feel as they wait for their chemotherapy treatment to pass. As a nursing student, I proudly believe that such interventions reflect the holistic care we aim to achieve with our patients.

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Sophie Dagher Hayeck, Medicine III
Instead of helplessly complaining about the situation in Lebanon, I prefer to invest my time in doing some good while I am still standing on my own two feet. Remember that a few years down the line, we will become the elderly that we are helping today through GOLD. Knowing that there are underprivileged elderly struggling with no government to look after them pushes me to work even more to provide them with all the help I can.
 
Alicia Khazzeka, Medicine II
I find myself lucky to have this opportunity of volunteering in the clinics. We learn how to treat people and not diseases. The clinics humble us, make us love medicine for what it is: helping those in need.It makes me want to study better, do more, and help more.

Tarek Bandali, Medicine III
To me, volunteering is a privilege. As a volunteer, you’re the recipient of the trust of vulnerable people. I’m motivated by the notion that you can improve someone’s life by simply dedicating some of your time to them. As a volunteer in Lebanon, you are limited by many different factors, but your role is more vital than ever.

Lynn Kobeissi, Medicine II
I have been involved with many student-led initiatives these past two years. Most recently, I decided with some colleagues to start the Care initiative. A student-led free clinic for the Lebanese community. The Lebanese situation and the collective depression we are all feeling have taken an enormous toll on m​y life. I find myself frequently stressed and hopeless. Volunteering is my therapy.​


A few of the student-led free clinics and initiatives of AUBMCares:

HEAL: a student-run free clinic serving the medically underserved migrant workers in Beirut.
GOLD: offers free-of-charge medical services and intergenerational social activities for underprivileged older adults.
​AMP: the Attending Musicians Program offers musical therapy sessions to patients in the hemodialysis unit, the in-patient psychiatry ward, and the Children’s Cancer Center.
Care: offers sustainable primary healthcare services for underprivileged Lebanese citizens.
TIES: the Trust-Inspiration-Encouragement-Strength program brings music and social activities to patients throughout the medical center.


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