By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer
Baylor Build, a new organization at Baylor, will serve those in need overseas by transforming shipping containers into fully functional medical clinics.
The organization is an extension of Texas A&M Build, which began in 2013. The group has since built 22 medical clinics that have been shipped to 14 different countries in need.
Baylor Build will work alongside Medical Bridges, a nonprofit medical supply store based out of Houston, which will help them send the medical clinics overseas.
Austin senior Nick Von Waaden, chief executive officer of Baylor Build, said he was inspired to create the organization after returning from a medical mission trip in El Salvador.
“It started after I went on a mission trip after my sophomore year to El Salvador,” Von Waaden said. “When I was there, I couldn’t help but think about the impact a standalone medical facility would have in El Salvador. By luck of the draw, one of my high school friends that I played baseball with was the CEO of Texas A&M Build. I reached out to him about how I could bring this [organization] to Baylor, got a good group around me and have been moving along ever since.”
Georgetown senior Nathan Jones, chief operations officer for Baylor Build, said they created the organization to provide an opportunity for Baylor students to dedicate themselves to service.
“There’s really nothing like it on campus. As pre-med students, we revolve around service,” Jones said. “I was raised in a family that revolves around service, and I know both Nick and I have a heart for those in need, especially medical need. It’s easy for Baylor students to be a part of this organization and they can help those in need overseas.”
Von Waaden said the purpose of the organization is to unite the Baylor community through service to create a global impact.
“I think it’s twofold. The purpose is to unite the student body through combined service acts. I think it’s just a great idea to get every college involved and bring the Baylor community together with a huge project that can benefit many people,” Von Waaden said. “Second is, of course, the medical clinics and the amount of people that will be affected in these third world countries that are in medical need.”
Von Waaden said the organization is an opportunity for students to further Baylor’s mission of service.
“The people [at Baylor] are so willing to give their time to volunteering, especially for a great cause like this, and I felt that it would fit well with the Baylor [mission],” Von Waaden said.
The group will begin building their first medical clinic in February and expects construction to take around six to eight weeks. They will complete one clinic this spring and hope to expand in numbers over the years.
Once construction is complete, they will send the container to Medical Bridges, which will stock the clinics with medical supplies and send them to developing countries.
“We will [install] an AC unit, fans, cabinets, flooring, walls and partitions. Medical Bridges will put in the beds, the blood pressure cuffs, scopes and other [medical supplies],” Von Waaden said. “The first section will be for triage, patient intake and getting everyone checked in. Next is the examination room with a wet lab to run urine or blood tests. In the back, there will be a minor procedure room where there is a larger bed to perform minor procedures.”
Jones said his favorite aspect of the organization is its ability to make an impact on a global community, and that he encourages all students to join.
“I think overall just helping people—helping people overseas, helping people here. If students are looking for an organization that revolves completely around service and will help people in desperate need, this is the place to be. It’s a super cool project,” Jones said.
Von Waaden said this organization will not only provide new medical access to developing countries, but will also bring the Baylor community together through acts of service.
“There are people who are lacking basic medical care— there are instances where they can’t get medical care. But we can get closer [with] these standing medical facilities,” Von Waaden said. “That’s really my inspiration. It’s a great opportunity to provide health care to people who don’t normally get health care. It’s an opportunity to come together as a Baylor community and do something bigger than ourselves.”