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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

GlobeMed rebrands to Global Health & Equity at Middlebury after national organization closes

Along with the change in their name came a new logo for Global Health
Equity at Middlebury.
Along with the change in their name came a new logo for Global Health Equity at Middlebury.

The Middlebury chapter of GlobeMed club has rebranded to Global Health & Equity at Middlebury (GHEM), following a vote of approval by club members in January. GlobeMed’s national nonprofit shut down at the end of 2022 due to financial struggles, prompting a pivot in the club’s name and activities at Middlebury. 

Co-president Gabriella Chalker ʼ24 explained that the club wanted to change its name in hopes that the new name would better represent the organization’s goals and values.

“We wanted something that more clearly emphasized our focus on equity, social justice and interdisciplinary approaches to health. We felt GlobeMed had a connotation of “medicine,” which historically attracted predominantly STEM majors and pre-med students to the club,” Chalker wrote in an email to The Campus.

Co-director of Communications Helen Vaughan ’24.5 sent a poll out to the club last fall to get input on a new name. 

“Once we decided on GHEM, I reached out to some student artists to see if someone would be interested in creating a new logo design,” Vaughan wrote in an email to The Campus. 

Thea Volpp ’24 designed the new logo, which the club adopted at the end of J-Term and have been using during the spring semester. 

With the club’s newfound independence has also come new challenges. GlobeMed previously provided national funding to its chapter groups, which ceased with the closure of the organization.

“Being the president has been difficult as we navigate the transition period of no longer having national support, especially with the summer internship,” Chalker wrote, referring to GlobeMed’s Grassroots On-Site Work (GROW) internship. “But, it has also been extremely rewarding.”

In addition to its on-campus meetings, the club currently works with Conservation Heritage Turambe, an NGO in Rwanda. The club meets with members of the NGO monthly over Zoom and conducts fundraising events every semester for the organization, according to Chalker.

The club also sends summer interns to Rwanda, which Vaughan said the club has already picked for this year. Interns and fundraising support the NGO’s activities, which include educating local youth on good health practices, providing sanitation services and promoting conservation through replanting and protection of the nearby Volcanoes National Park.

Chalker and Co-president Chris Donohue ’24 have worked to continue to draw new members to the club and create quality programming.

The overall structure of the club and its meetings have remained consistent throughout the rebranding. 

“​​Our activities and mission have not changed since the switch. We loved the partnership model of GlobeMed and its goals, we just wanted a name that was more appropriate,” Vaughan wrote.

The organization meets every Sunday, where two members of the executive board lead presentations. Some weeks feature guest speakers, who range from faculty, alumni and professionals in health fields, and discuss diverse topics such as migrant health, discrimination in medicine, reproductive justice in the United States, the HIV and AIDs pandemic, and other intersections of health and social issues.

The GHEM club is now aiming to preserve its global focus while also expanding local outreach and engagement.

“A goal we’ve had for a while that we’re really trying to establish this year is a local community partner in Vermont — perhaps that we could volunteer at during the school year and send interns to during the summer or J-Term,” Chalker wrote.

Despite the recent rebranding and associated challenges, the club’s presence on campus and its tight-knit community will remain largely unchanged. Chalker has been a part of the club since her first semester at Middlebury and said she has treasured the learning and connections she has made.

“My favorite part is the people; GlobeMed has been like a family to me for the past four years. It has entirely shaped my Middlebury experience and future interests. Through the club, I've met some of my best friends and the people who I look up to the most,” Chalker wrote.

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Olivia Mueller

Olivia Mueller '24 (she/her) is a News Editor.

Previously an Arts and Culture editor, Olivia is an International Politics and Economics major with a Spanish minor. Outside of the Campus, she is a spin instructor for YouPower, an avid runner and hiker, and a member of the Middlebury Mischords a cappella group.