Students from the DMU Global Health Club partnered with refugee placement and support service organizations to provide first aid services at a refugee soccer tournament, which was held as part of the local observation of International World Refugee Day.
Although the Des Moines community has celebrated World Refugee Day for many years, this was the first year that DMU has participated in the event. A combination of student-driven efforts, coordination by refugee community services and carefully guided implementation strategies by Noreen O’Shea, D.O.’84, assistant professor of family medicine, facilitated the inaugural year of DMU’s involvement in the refugee soccer tournament.
According to the UN, every minute eight people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
“[What] I learned from having such mentors was to look at an event from as many perspectives as possible so that we may be best prepared for any situation that arises,” says Iaswarya “Ice” Ganapathiraju, D.O.‘18, Global Health Club vice president.
Prepared for scenarios ranging from bug bites to torn ACLs, students were well-equipped to provide basic medical care to athletes, many of whom presented with muscle aches, sprains, strains and abrasions. Players expressed relief and gratitude for services provided to get them back into the games.
Sixteen soccer teams from 15 countries played for the cup, with teams representing countries ranging from Bhutan to Sudan to Iraq.
“I learned how truly diverse our communities in Des Moines are, and how much pride and cohesiveness different groups of folks have,” says Dan Kinker, D.O. ‘18, who volunteered for the event. “Soccer is the world’s sport, and it was a great way to bring people together who come from difficult situations so far away.”