BUFFALO, N.Y. – UB HEALS is a group of medical students at the University at Buffalo out on the streets offering free medical care for Buffalo's homeless population. Their goal is simple - to help Western New York.
Now, they're hoping you can return the favor.
UB medical students started UB HEALS about three years ago. 2 On Your Side first caught up with them in early 2017 providing medical care to Buffalo's homeless population. They recognized a need in our community and organized the volunteer group.
"I actually volunteered my first week of medical school, so I knew very little medicine, but it just showed that a lot of compassion can go a long way," Lisa Samuels said.
Samuels is a second-year medical student and handles the fundraising for UB HEALS. The students are in the middle of a 60 day online crowdfunding campaign. Its purpose is to make sure UB HEALS can be passed down to many generations of UB students.
"You'll be providing the needs to every day functions," Samuels said. "So, that would be bandages, basic medical care, medicine, but also just things that help us work every day like medical bags that we bring all of our supplies out. Things that just help us function every day."
As it gets colder out, UB HEALS could also use donations of gloves, scarves and hats to give to the people they serve.
"This is an extremely humbling experience. So, it brought medicine back to the human aspect of it. And, for those going into medicine, just keep in mind that even though you need to build your resume and you need to build different types of experiences, having an experience that makes you have a human to human connection is extremely valuable," she said.
So far, the group has had about 2500 patient encounters. The students do rounds in Buffalo on Tuesdays and Thursdays.