CRAFTING WELLNESS STORY

Even If You Just Change One Life, You've Changed The World Forever

Changing the world is no easy task. Bringing health to underserved communities and providing access to healthcare globally is not a mission for the faint of heart. Tune in to the MDF Instruments Crafting Wellness Podcast to listen to an inspiring episode featuring Paola. She tells the story of how she is achieving her dream of improving global health access through her work with Global Medical Brigades. Discover how her courage and determination enabled her to break barriers as a first generation high school and college graduate. She is paving the way to show others how you can overcome any obstacle; and proving that those crazy enough to think they can changes the world are the ones who do.

TRANSCRIPT

Paola
The Global Medical Brigades is a student led nonprofit organizations that partner with partnered communities in rural areas. And they work along side local staffs and doctors to provide access to health care to patients who have really no access or never seen a doctor before. I wanted to get involved because, you know, you hear stories from your parents saying where they came from, and how it is back in their hometowns and their countries. And so it kind of almost makes you a little upset that people are actually going through this. And so I wanted to be that change.

Brooke Smith
Welcome to MDF instruments Crafting Wellness Podcast. I'm really excited today to introduce you to Paola she is doing some incredible things around the world with Global Medical Brigades, and also just becoming a doctor and on her way to do that.

Paola
Well, my name is Paola Pinto. I'm from Covina, California and I'm currently a graduate student at Keck graduate institution. I'm receiving my master's in applied Life Sciences next year. And I'm going to apply for the cycle next year to go into med school.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I know that's a lot of work. Talk a little bit about why you chose healthcare, there always seems to be an origin story of why people get into medicine.

Paola
So it's actually a personal story. I dealt with my own personal health issues. And so growing up in a hospital setting, you know, you see all these different types of doctors, nurses, PAs, nurse practitioners there, and so you kind of wonder what they're what they're doing, what FERPA scopes they're using, you know, and you're kind of wondering, okay, like, I know, I'm sick, no, I'm in a very vulnerable stage. And so they're making you feel as comfortable as possible, you know, there's nothing embarrassing to them, they've seen it before, they're just trying to make you feel a lot better. And another personal experience I had, based when I was 10 years old, is I lost my best friend to cancer. And so that's really when I grasped like what cancer really was, and what death really was. And you know, what it was to be sick and like a consequences of that. And so I think just those really motivated me into going into the healthcare field. Yeah, I understand cancer is a really nasty thing. And I'm really sorry that you lost your friend that 10 I can imagine that was really difficult and hard to understand at such a young age death, and the fact that some people get better. And then some people don't, yeah, it was just, you know, I didn't really know what cancer was, I just kind of always heard it, you know, people throwing it around around you, but never really grasped what it was until, you know, my friend passed away. And, you know, that was really what motivated me to go into more of the healthcare scene. And I had always been comfortable in the hospital, you know, it was my second home being there all the time, you know, growing up at Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, you know, being a patient there. It just really, like driven me to become who I am. And what I wanted to do.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I find that is a pretty common theme with a lot of people I talked to in healthcare, they either are getting into health care, because they themselves were sick. And the treatment that they got made them want to give that back to someone want to make someone feel like everything's gonna be okay be there for them help them through their most difficult days, or they lose someone or they or they have an experience that's not so great that they say, Hey, I want to I want to create some change. I want to do this differently. I want to do this better. I'm glad that healthcare found you, even though it sounds like it wasn't the easiest path to land on you. I'm glad that you're in it now, because you're doing some incredible things, which we're gonna get into talking about. But can you talk us through a little bit about your school journey, I know I imagine you went to college and what you studied and then for you are now what that process kind of looks like for everybody listening who might want to take a similar path as you

Paola
so I grew up in like, no lower social economics household. And so I really didn't know how I was going to go to college. I just knew I really wanted to and I always had the support for my family. And so I did end up going to Cal Poly Pomona, you know, obstacles I was facing is how to even apply I didn't know like the application process or what I needed to like turn in or like SAP score, but I didn't know anything about that. So I finally went into Cal Poly and did all my prerequisites. And I took a microbiology class and that's really when I fell in love with the whole subject of it. So I switched over to that major and youYou know, faced some health obstacles there were unfortunately, some of my grades did suffer. And then finally I graduated from Cal Poly. And three days after I was hired on to a startup company that really took over the nation for COVID testings, we would receive about 120,000 samples on my team to test for patients all over the world to see if they're positive or negative for COVID. And then, that really motivated me even more seeing how this pandemic affected other people and just the health care system and how badly we needed help in the hospitals. And so that's when I decided that I wanted to still go into the medical field route. And so I stumbled upon Keck graduate institution where I met my two amazing program directors, Alba Munoz and Dr. Jim Kim. And they have given me the support that I need and the hope, I also need to go into, you know, the medical school cycles and helping me just boost my GPA and my confidence up and letting me know, like, I can really do it. Now support systems are really important. Can you talk a little bit about growing up in a lower income family, and I think you said that you were the first generation to go to call it is probably one of my proudest things I can say, you know, first generation high school graduate and college graduate, you know, I just knew I wanted to go into the healthcare field that just didn't know how, or no follow up was gonna get there. I knew I wanted to, but you know, that passion and the support really driven me and here I am today, still striving to become that doctor that I've always wanted to become.

Brooke Smith
I know that your parents must be so proud of you. We're proud of you.I want to talk a little bit about Global Medical Brigades, and how you got involved in that and how you brought it over to your school. Can you talk about what Global Medical Brigades is for anybody listening who might not know and the work that they do and what you're involved in over there and how you're getting this work done, globally?

Paola
Global Medical Brigades is a student led nonprofit organizations that partner withpartnered communities in rural areas, and they work along side local staff and doctors to provide access to health care to patients who have really no access or never seen a doctor before. I wanted to get involved because, you know, you hear stories from your parents saying where they came from, and all it is back in their hometowns in their countries. And so it kind of almost makes me a little upset that people are actually going through this, you know, and so I wanted to be that change. And so when I stumbled upon Global Medical Brigades in 2018, at Cal Poly Pomona, we traveled to Nicaragua, and we were able to see 160 patients and three days, some of them traveled two hours just to see us. And so that was just amazing to see how many people really wanted that access. And it was, it was just incredible to see. And then we also, were able to build sanitation stations. So we built them showers and bathrooms for their homes, I remember hiking up like about an hour, we got to see like their local community bathroom. And we wanted to make that change. And we want to make that impact to make it, you know, sanitary for them as well. And so this really was a driving force for me to bring it back to Keck graduate institution, this coming year, and so that is why I actually brought it, it's something I value and just really lines with my own values.

Brooke Smith
The work you're doing there has not gone on scene. It's a really important work. I know that we've talked before a little bit about the needs there. When you think about how we live here in the United States, and the things that we have access to clean water is not something we most people have to think or worry about. At the end of the day. You know, they're if they're taking it from the tap, it's still going to be drinkable. Most of the time, what is it been like for you to just kind of see that juxtaposition between being somewhere like in the US where, you know, people are just kind of taking clean water for granted and we have access to at any time and we don't really have health problems because of water, dysentery or anything like that. Can you talk a little bit about just what how different that is over there in Nicaragua and what you've seen and how people can can help?

Paola
No, we live our daily lives, brushing our teeth, drinking water, washing our face, and we don't really think anythingAnother local, like, I'm gonna get sick from this. And so you hear stories, you know, from people or news, or, you know, like, for my personal experiences for my family and for my parents, and you don't really think of anything is just another story. And until you actually live in until you've traveled there, and you see it firsthand, you know, I remember a program associates in Nicaragua told us don't drink from the sink, when you're showering, close your mouth, close your eyes, close, you know, whatever you can, that way, you don't get sick. And it's really eye opening just felt granted, you know, I take it, I go to my fridge, and I just get my glass of water, and I'll be on my way, I'm not thinking anything of it, I'm not thinking if I'm gonna get sick, you know, it's really important to educate out there, our patients, you know, to boil their water to wash their hands. You know, we do give this education out there when we are there. Because we are a little different, we do it more of a holistic approach. We're not just the Medical Brigade, but we're also business brigades, economic brigades, public health, water brigade, dental records are just everything. So that way we can create that sustainability there. So yeah, it's just reallyeye opening and just, you know, how people can help is just by like, helping us, you know, we accept, like donations wise, you know, to get involved just by you know, donating some toothbrushes, toothpaste. So, things like that are just even $1. You know, people might think, oh, dollars, not enough. But really, it is like, it's very impactful for our missions. And so we'll, we'll be just happy with any help we can get.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I think that's somethingyou know, people feel like, Oh, I'm only one person, like, is my, you know, 10 soaps enough? Is my is my bottles of shampoo enough? Is that enough to really to donate to this cause and just want to reiterate that, it all adds up. You know, if everybody just donates a little bit, then all of a sudden we have a lot and then that a lot can do a massive impact globally, for people who who need it. So yes, I agree. I think if anybody wants to help, or donate, that would be amazing. I know that Paul is going to give you the website so that you can go check it out. Even if you wanted to get involved in a mission yourself. Hey, Paul, what's that? What's that website people can go to?

Paola
Yeah, so our website is Global Medical brigades.com/kgi. It will take us to our link where you can donate there, or you can email us for any supplies you want to donate. If it's 10 masks, or 10, hand sanitizers, anything will be greatly appreciated. Our Instagram at handle is GMB dot KGI. And our email is gmb@kgi.edu. Awesome.

Brooke Smith
I would love to talk a little bit about the mission trips that you've been on. And I know before we talked a little bit about how often these mission trips go. How often do you go back how how you don't just show up one time and then leave and then never come back again. Can you talk a little bit about what the follow up is like what the journey is from start to finish?

Paola
Yeah, so when I started back in 2018, we went to Nicaragua. And so it is a week long mission trip with three clinical days, or four clinical days and then to maybe like, either nutrition and health, like health, or hygiene education, or it would be like water brigades, or sanitation station brigades. So we get there, and we're packing all of our donations such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, like our hygiene package that we give to every one of our patients out there. When we do arrive, we see patients, you know, traveling up to two hours, just to come see us blind out the door. And then we get started taking, you know, their vitals and their blood pressure, creating that history for them. And so we do put it into our laptops, there is a data entry for them, then they go into consultations, whatever problems they are, you're like seeking and then they go into pharmacy, but before they get their medications, they are going to a station called Charlo where they do receive education on you know, basic hygiene, education and then they receive their medications. We do create that history that way when they are seeing a doctor. There is a long history of like how many times they've come to us. You know, it's not just a one thing that we're out. It's, you know, we want to create sustainability. So we come back every three to four months, or not shorter, we were able to see that sustaininability being created during the pandemic when no one was there. We were able to create like tele brigades and just help out now way. Our goal and our mission is wanting to have them be able to be empowered and sustainable on their own that way when we're no longer there, they're okay.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, that's some really incredible work you guys are doing. I'm impressed. You built a shower? I mean, how did you manage that?

Paola
It was difficult, you know, I, I've never done anything like that. No hiking up for an hour. I barely hike. I mean, I am a gym person. But cardio is not my forte. And so I just remember getting there and a lot of, hey, this hike, you know, up the mountain, I'm good now. And then we get started on creating cement for these bathrooms, and I'm trying to dig a hole, you know, trying to get all the pipeline worked out. It was very difficult, very intense, you know, it was hot out there. It was just crazy weather. So it was very intense, but very rewarding. Now I can see I can actually build something, you know, with help, of course. But yeah, it was just like something so, so great to see a family being able to have their own shower in their own bathroom, instead of sharing it with the whole community. You know, that's another thing we take for granted here, I guess we can go to our bathroom and just shower on our own, you know, and not share with our neighbors. So it was very eye opening seeing them. And so when they were able to receive it,we celebrated with them, they were so kind enough to open their homes and their hearts to us, you know, dancing, playing music with us, you know, it was just something so great to see their culture. And just to learn about that as well.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, beautiful. I wish I had been there. That sounds like a really amazing, incredible experience.I know it's it's, it's funny how we think we can't do anything something and then we do it. And we're like, wow, I actually helps build that shower like I did that, you know, we did that together. It's been very accomplished feeling and prideful and also just being able to quickly see the difference that you're making in other people's lives by something so simple. It's really, really beautiful. Have you been? Have you been on any other trips since Nicaragua? Or is Nicaragua, the last one you did?

Paola
Unfortunately, Nicaragua was last one I did, I did sign up for a 2019 brigade to Honduras. Unfortunately, I had some health issues come up. And then when I wanted to go back in 2020, the pandemic hit, and then I had graduated already. So it was no longer involved with the school. But when I found Keck graduate institution, the first thing I asked on my interviews were, if Global Medical Brigades was there, and they said no, because of the pandemic, you know, it stopped. And so they said to me, if I were to be accepted, I can get started. And sure enough, that was one of the first things I asked my directors, if I can start it back up. And so I've received so much support from them. And then the executive team, also, Alexis Wilson, who is just the go getter, she's always handling everything, emails, setting up meetings, she's amazing. And our secretary David Payne, you know, seeing other people who have the same visions and values as you, you know, you just feel like one person and you're like, Well, can I really change the world, just me. But when you start something, it's a domino effect, more and more people want to join you, more people see the passion that you have for it. And that's just what makes it you know, a change when people see you started, it just takes one person.

Brooke Smith
So it wasn't at your school that you're currently at, and you brought it, they'rereally awesome. And that just shows that, you know, if you want to get involved in something, and they don't have it at your school, or they don't offer it, you can still make it happened on your own, just like politics, that's really, really inspiring to see that you're still being able to pursue that. Even though that option wasn't there. And now you're opening up a whole nother community of people that might say, Oh, what's what's Global Medical Brigades? I didn't know about that, oh, I want to get involved. And now you're just kind of creating this momentum of other people becoming aware of all the incredible work you guys are doing and wanting to get involved. So well done. Follow. That's awesome.

Paola
Thank you. Yeah. And so now we're just prepping for our next brigade and July 30. That's when we leave to Honduras. Again. We'll be there for a full week. And we know we have three clinical days, as well as one day of education, for oral hygiene, I believe. And so we're just reallyexcited, you know, to come back and do a you know, it's been a while since I've done it just because of, you know, life getting in the way and the pandemic. But I'm so excited, and I can't wait to continue doing this.

Brooke Smith
July 2023. We're excited to watch your journey. And we're excited to check it out and see all the great work that you guys are doing over there, and all the amazing people you're helping, what would you say when you're going over to these these places? What would you say the biggest health concern is over there that you're seeing,

Paola
I think the biggest health care concern that I see out there is reallyaccess to it, the access and just the education, you know, boiling water as well, you know, we got there. And I remember making this connection with this little girl named Julia, you know, she was very scared, she'd never seen a doctor before. She's never gotten that healthcare access. And so she didn't know what a stethoscope was, she didn't want to be near her at all. And so I remember I asked her, she wants to put it on to hear my heartbeat. And so that really built that connection between us and that trust, you know, she was vulnerable, she didn't know who we were, you know, the strangers are just coming in at all, you know. And so her opening up for hometown and hurt her heart to us was just very impactful. And so I just think the basic necessities of just gaining that healthcare access, as well as not knowing how to wash your hands or not knowing how to boil proper water to drink, you really get to see that firsthand experience when you are out there.

Brooke Smith
keep up the great work, we're really excited to see this next trip in July. If people want to get involved or donates them sure that they're still be able to do that for this mission. But she Paula had given you guys the website before, we're gonna link it down below for everybody, you can click on it and check it out. I'm sure they're still open for donations, and the need is high for anything that you can spare. And if you want to donate money, that would be that would be great as well. So let's keep up the good work, let's keep bringing health care to everyone. We all believe that health care is a human right, Global Access is important that the whole world should be able to just be healthy and normal and have access to clean drinkable water and be able to bathe themselves and not get sick from not having that access.And as well as just basic basic health care needs. So thank you, Paula, and everybody at Global Medical Brigades for all the awesome work you guys are doing to bring them out health and wellness globally, to everyone and to create that change so that people can have healthier, better lives.

Paola
Yeah, thank you, I could not have done any of this without MDF crafting, wellness, you know, your guys's support, it was just amazing. I remember receiving that package of our donated, set the scopes that we are leaving out there to local doctors and staff to be able to provide that access. And you know, you know, to give great access, you have to have great equipment as well. So I just think you guys, you know, that amazing values that you guys have that really aligned with me, it's just an incredible opportunity to be able to partner with such an amazing company.

Brooke Smith
It's truly our pleasure, you are exactly what we believe in. And we're so happy that we can just be a part of your journey and help you bring that health care globally to everyone and for for people listening and watching. If you have other conditions that you're involved in, please, please, please always reach out to us, we're more than happy to donate. And we love leaving the medical equipment out in these more rural places so that the health care workers there have access to the medical equipment that they need to be able to assess their patients and bring that health. So thank you again, for that. I would love to switch gears a little bit. I do want to ask you, if you could go back and tell your younger self a piece of advice or something you wish you had known? What do you have a little nugget of of knowledge,

Paola
I was always very scared to do things. So I would just tell myself, do it. Go for it even though you're scared, you know, being first generation being scared to apply for college being scared to take that opportunity, you know, to do research or take that opportunity to volunteer at a hospital or take that opportunity to bring Global Medical Brigades. I wish I could tell myself that it's okay to be scared. But to keep doing it, even though you're scared to do it. Because at the end of the day, you can either learn from it. You can fail and you can learn or it's a win. You know, at the end of the day, it's always going to be a great accomplishment. And so I would just tell myself like it's okay to be scared you know, andOnly that roller coaster ride as well as, you know, sometimes I do still today face impostor syndrome. And, you know, I just wondered, do I really belong here? I remember my first day driving to Cat graduate, I was just feeling, you know, down, like, do I really belong here?Is this something that I deserve? Or should I be here? Did I get accepted by mistake, you know, that they really read my transcripts correctly. And my, someone they really do want. And so, you know, having people around you to reassure you, it's okay, like, you do belong here. This is where you're supposed to be. This is what you're meant to do, is just, you know, so valuable to me to know that I'm supposed to be here, but it's okay to be scared, like, but just do it.

Brooke Smith
That's wonderful advice. And I couldn't agree with you more. You know, I'm always trying to do things that scare me, because I think that's how we grow. If we just stay stagnant, and we don't do the thing, that's the thing that scares us is the thing we should be doing. Everyone knows it internally, you know, deep down inside, like, I really don't want to do this thing, because I'm afraid of it. But that's the only that's more reason to do it. And you know it. And that's why you're afraid of it, because it's the unknown, but that's what's going to stretch you that's what's going to grow you. That's when that's what's going to give you new experiences make you more well rounded, and also just the thing that you need to do to like grow past where you are, it's never going to be pleasurable. But there's a lot, a lot to say, for facing the fear. You always come out the other side going, Oh, that wasn't so bad. It wasn't as bad. As I, as I put it in my mind. It wasn't. So just going back on like impostor syndrome, I think that's a really common thing. And I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that. I feel that all the time, too. I think like, Oh, am I really good enough? Did I did someone make a mistake? Or should I be here. And I think those those are really normal feelings. But I think the important thing to remember is when you're not believing in yourself, and you're questioning yourself, because we were always hardest on ourselves, is that we have to remember to look at ourselves that way, other people who love us look at us, and they believe in us. And they know we can do it. And they know we're smart enough and capable enough and talented enough and all of those things. So, you know, surround yourself with people who are supportive and lift you up and believe in you, and can remind you on those days when you're not so sure they can you can see in the reflection of their eyes, that they're sure of you. And that always helps.

Paola
Yeah, definitely, you know, having that support system as well. You know, when I brought in Global Medical Brigades at Keck graduate, I was just wondering, is this going to fail? Is this going to actually be something that I want it to be? And so I remember sitting at a table, you know, not knowing my peers, and I just brought it up to them. And everyone seemed very excited, I got the exec board that same day, it was not even the first week of school just yet. I think it was just orientation at that point. And people really love the vision and the mission that we stand for. And so they're very excited. So now we do have a team, you know, and our amazing faculty advisor, Alba Munoz, who has been helping me along this journey as well, to let me know, like, it's okay, she's actually the one who gave me the advice, just do it. Even if you're scared, you know, I've had so much support from her. And she's always believed in me. And just because of her, I really, like it's driven me so far. Just having that support around me,

Brooke Smith
It's important people around you, that support you, whether they're, it's family, loved ones, friends, mentors, co workers, colleagues, it's good to always surround yourself with people who can see what you can see, you know, and when you can't see it in yourself can remind you that it's there. We're really proud of you. And I would love to get to know you a little bit as far as I know that this is takes up a lot of your time. Right now you're really busy. But what else what other passions and hobbies do you have outside of healthcare and medicine that you do for fun or any passions that you have?

Paola
So you know, it's all about balancing your life, you know, as amazing medicine is and how big and important is to my life. I also want to have something separate from that as well. But sort of kind of mixed into it. You know, being healthy is all part of it too. And so I love going to the gym, you know, going, I don't know three to four times a week. You know, lifting those weights up and as well as just traveling, you know, going on adventures. I love to skydive.I've gone twice already in Hawaii. And so it was just such an amazing opportunity. You know, it kind of gives you a different view of life as well. And just being around friends andFamily and trying new restaurants with them a new food, seeing different type of culture food I love to do. Even though I don't have too much time. I do tend to love doing these things with them.

Brooke Smith
Yes, Spoken like a true fear fear person who's like, hey, face your fears.

Paola
yeah, I mean, everyone asked me, Are you crazy? Like it's a perfectly great play and like, you're really gonna, twice. I'm like, Yeah, and I will keep doing it too.

Brooke Smith
So fun. I love that it's really unique. Now that we touched base on like, what your journey is, like all about Global Medical Brigades? And also just you personally, I'm curious, we didn't really touch on this. But are you studying right now for the MCAT? Did I hear that? Right?

Paola
Yeah, so I'm currently studying for my MCAT right now, I think that is one of my obstacles now is just facing that monstered, you know, test, you know, I've never faced such a long, difficult test before, but I know I can do it, you know, gotta face it scared, you know, I'm excited, nervous, you know, have a ton of emotions going on, you know, I just know, like, it's just the next path. Next accomplishment, when I take it, you know, Keck graduate really does a great job in helping you prep for those, you know, by mentorship by, you know, helping you link with your peers to study together, as well as the classes that you are taking there. They really do prep you for that next step of medicine of advanced medicine, I feel like because, you know, we come into that school, and we're taking Clinical Pharmacology classes to advance pharmaceutical discoveries. And so it's just a whole different opens a whole different world of medicine as well. And what is that timeline?

Brooke Smith
Do you have an idea of when you will be taking that test? Or is it still just a little too far out for you to have that schedule?

Paola
Yeah, I actually just registered for it yesterday. So I'd take it September. So be after the brigades, you know, taking summer to focus on the kids as well as the MCAT. And then while I'm there, you know, do the brigades and when I come back, still studying for the MCAT? And then, hopefully, by September, I will take it.

Brooke Smith
And then when do you apply for med school? Is that would that be the next step after the MCAT? Is that right?

Paola
Yeah, so I will be entering not the cycle. But the next cycle, I just wanted to really focus on the MCAT, as well as Global Medical Brigades. And then once you know, both brigades are done and the MCAT is done. Just focus more on my application.

Brooke Smith
Do you see yourself after you become a doctor? I know it's a long journey down the road. But do you see yourself coming back to Global Medical Brigades and doing more work there and kind of what do you foresee for yourself,

Paola
hopefully, I'm, you know, becoming a doctor, I've always wanted to be Global Medical Brigades is a very, you know, different organization. And so it does hold a special place in my heart, it's something that I will always be tied to, and always will love to do. You know, I still have connections with doctors, local doctors from Nicaragua till this day. And so I really do believe it's something I will always come back to always do when I can, and make it just a yearly, if it could be a yearly or, you know, every five, six months thing, then I would love to keep doing it. Or if I can't go on those medical missions trip, at least donate anything I can to help out the next chapter doing it,

Brooke Smith
I think it would be fair to say that you highly recommend it for other people, other people in healthcare students, anybody who can to get involved in medical missions, it sounds like it's life changing.

Paola
You definitely get to see their culture, and just how healthcare system is out there. You know, we hear about it, but we don't really experience it until we're actually there. And you get to see how the people are there. They are very kind and just warm hearted and they open the doors up for you. And they are very vulnerable, yet they are they welcome you with open arms.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I think that's not something you can learn in a textbook or in a classroom. I think the experience and knowledge that you're gaining from meeting people in other parts of the world who live very differently than us who have have different needs than maybe we would need here in the US. I have to imagine it's very eye opening and also a great learning moments and how to bring that health and that help to these people who so desperately need it.

Paola
Yeah, it's just, you know, medicine is also giving that care, but it's also building those connections and building that trust with them. You know, II remember when I was a patient at Children's Hospital, I really did connect with my doctors, you know, I was very vulnerable, going through multiple surgeries, I didn't want anyone to touch me anymore. I was over it. But just seeing them and seeing how well they treated me and how kind they were, and just how soft they were to me, I knew that I wanted to do that. And I wanted to make someone feel the same way that I felt once. And so when you do go out to these mission trips, like I said, Judy, I didn't know what it was or who we were, she was very afraid of us until finally, I built that trust with her. And just let her know like, it's okay. Like, we're just here to help her are just here to help her local community. And she really did feel that connection with me, was actually calling me everywhere in every room. She wanted to be with me.

Brooke Smith
As my favorite story ever. I heard that story and so glad you told it.

Paola
No, thank you. Yeah, I had lost touch with her, unfortunately. But I hope she's doing well. And I hope maybe she wants to become a doctor one day,

Brooke Smith
I have no doubt that she might just want to it sounds like you've made quite an impression on her. And she is on you as well.

Paola
Yeah, the first thing like she really did show me with all her school notes and all the drawings she had me after I opened up to her and let her hear my heartbeat. She was out there just playing with everyone just you know, talking to everyone. She felt very comfortable in our presence. So it was very heartwarming and rewarding to see that as well. Yeah. And you also speak Spanish, right? So yeah, so English is my first up English is my second language. Spanish is my first. And so it was just very easy to communicate with her. And so I think that really did play an important role.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, and I think that's also something that's gonna make you a great doctor is the fact that you have your wall and just the fact that you can communicate and translate, you know what people's needs are. That's a really great asset to have. So thank you parents for that.

Paola
I definitely will

Brooke Smith
Yeah. Well, Paula, thank you so much for joining our crafting wellness podcast. It's been such a pleasure having you on I've really enjoyed this. And for everybody listening and watching, please. I'm going to ask Paola to go ahead and drop that Instagram handle one more time for you and have her spell it out for everyone listening so that you can go find Global Medical Brigades if you want to donate and help out. That would be a great place to start.

Paola
Our Instagram @ handle is GMB.KGI and our email is gmb@kgi.edu. And once again, thanks again so much for having me. Thank you for having crafting wellness projects. I really I could not do this without you guys. I really love what you guys stand for and I can't wait to partner up with you guys for other medical mission trips.

WELCOME TO THE NEW SCHOOL.
LET'S ROLL

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