Among the attributes for which Einstein is known are its compassion and the social awareness of its community members. In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Einstein's chapter of Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) teamed with the Global Health Center and Global Health Club to host a weeklong series of events aimed at raising funds to support the relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Through these events the groups raised nearly $3,000 to support relief efforts in the Philippines.
For first-year medical student Eugene Palatulan, the catastrophe was personal; he had lived in the Philippine province of Davao until his family moved to the Bronx when he was 13. In addition, an earthquake the week before Typhoon Haiyan had devastated the town of Bohol, where his parents had grown up.
"When I saw the images showing the devastation that Haiyan had caused in the Visayas region, I felt helpless to do anything," he recalled. "Then I thought, why don't I do something here?"
He spoke with Lindy Zhang, a second-year medical student who is president of Einstein's APAMSA chapter. She helped him develop the idea and to expand the groups taking part in the Einstein relief fundraising.
"We saw amazing kindness and generosity, from people who donated and purchased baked goods at our bake sale to the students who allowed us to auction off photographs they'd taken during their global health fellowship travels," said Ms. Zhang.
"We also got tremendous support from the office of student activities, who provided the Einstein Cafe as the setting for a wonderful music night and assisted us in getting funds we raised to UNICEF and Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), two charities with ongoing relief efforts in the Philippines," noted Mr. Palatulan.
The week's events also included a special fundraiser held at Remedies Lounge, located across from the Jack and Pearl Resnick campus on Eastchester Road. Student Senator Jeff Glicksman served as deejay, spinning tunes that kept the bar hopping.
For Mr. Palatulan, the effort to help his homeland was extremely rewarding. "I was really pleased with what we achieved," he said. "But, for me, it's far from over. I'm planning to spend part of my summer break doing a medical mission there, because I'd really like to pitch in and help with the relief effort that is still underway."
Reflecting on the events and the support they engendered, he summed things up, noting, "We're grateful to all members of the Einstein community. Maraming salamat po! (Thank you very much!)"