Timmy Global Health WSU expanding outreach to Greece in ongoing global health equity efforts
Members of Wayne State’s Timmy Global Health organization are expanding their impact with a new collaboration that will provide support and resources to Syrian refugees living in intake camps on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos.
“Refugees living in these intake camps were planning to stay for 30 days, but because of a large influx of refugees in a short span of time and a series of administrative delays, many of them have been on the islands for as long as two years,” said Kavya Davuluri, vice president of Timmy Global Health WSU. “These islands are at seven times their capacity and refugees are now facing a variety of physical and mental health challenges exacerbated by cramped living conditions, poor nutrition and limited resources.”
Davuluri and Mahmoud Hijazi, a junior majoring in biology, spearheaded a partnership with Dessa Stone, a clinical psychologist who was moved to action after witnessing the refugees’ struggles while visiting the Greek island of Icaria. Stone reached out to WSU Board of Governors member Michael Busuito, who connected her with Timmy Global Health WSU.
Together, they developed a partnership that will allow for the safe and secure transportation and delivery of valuable medicine, clothing, hygiene products and other supplies to refugees.
Timmy Global Health WSU works to expand access to health care and empower students to take on local and global health challenges. In addition to the new partnership, members of the group visit the Dominican Republic each August, where they work with a staff of medical volunteers to set up provisional clinics and provide consultations, treatments and prescriptions. Another local chapter of Timmy Global Health visits the site every two months to ensure consistent, sustainable care is provided.
“Sometimes, a small amount of temporary help can be worse than no help at all,” said Davuluri, a junior majoring in psychology. “We believe that staying connected with the community you’re working with and continuing a project until it’s completed are absolutely critical to the overall impact your work has.”
Davuluri said that the group is open to any and all ideas from students and community members.
“Working with Timmy, I’ve gained an immense understanding of how multifaceted problems in the world can be,” she said. “It’s never just one problem with one solution — it takes a variety of people with a variety of talents to come together and create change.”
Timmy Global Health WSU is open to students of any major and there are no GPA or fee requirements. The group was founded in 2013 by Sergio and Tannia Rodriguez, both graduate students majoring in biomedical engineering.
“We believe that as long as you want to help the community, you should be able to. Compassion for those in need isn’t restricted to any one major,” said Davuluri. “You can help in many ways. Maybe you’re bilingual and you can translate, maybe you’re good with computers and you can help organize information. The founding idea of Timmy is that you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse, you can still be a healer.”