UB Medical Students Raise Funds, Sponsor "Trivia for Haiti" Contest to Support Haitians

By Lois Baker

Release Date: January 25, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo medical students are "passing the hat" and organizing events to raise funds for Haiti in the aftermath of the massive earthquake on Jan. 11 and the 5.9 magnitude aftershock that followed on Jan. 20.

Over three days, the medical school club Hands Across Borders and the UB chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) raised nearly $600 from first- and second-year classes, and are planning fundraising events.

"We have few resources, little time and minimal experience to draw on to help," says Bridget Buyea, a second-year medical student and president of Hands Across Borders, in an e-mail to fellow students announcing the effort.

"But I believe that together we can make a worthwhile contribution to the relief effort in the form of money."

Buyea and Nkem Nweze, co-president of the UB SNMA, also e-mailed medical students suggesting they contribute online to Partners in Health, the organization established in Haiti in 1987 by Paul Farmer, MD, and colleagues, which now is a highly regarded worldwide health organization.

Farmer is renowned for his medical work in impoverished countries around the globe. In August 2009 he was appointed United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

In the works is a "Trivia for Haiti" fundraiser at Mister Goodbar, the popular bar-restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, set for 8:30 p.m. Jan. 30.

"We are contacting all medical school students and have plans to invite UB's law, pharmacy and dental schools as well, and we hope they'll come," says Buyea. "Undergraduates are more than welcome, too."

The SNMA also is organizing a medical and non-medical supplies fund drive, and is considering organizing a medical student contingent to go to Haiti in the coming months.

"While that may not be feasible at this time," says Nweze, "the summer months are looking more promising, and we are looking into partnering with the Christian Medical and Dental Association that does annual missions trips to the Hispaniola region."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.