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Medical student wins Welch Allyn's Ripple Effect Award; will travel to Haiti on humanitarian medical mission this summer

Medical student wins Welch Allyn's Ripple Effect Award; will travel to Haiti on humanitarian medical mission this summer

Syracuse, NY, March 17, 2015-- Kathleen Iles, a first-year medical student at Upstate Medical University, won’t have to wait to finish medical school before she will start making a difference in the lives of real people. Iles was announced as the second winner of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest, a joint initiative created by Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn designed to inspire medical students to “change the world by giving back to their communities.” Iles is a 2009 graduate of Skaneateles High School, and she received her bachelor of science degree in biological sciences from Le Moyne College while claiming summa cum laude honors.

Iles, along with three other medical students to win the humanitarian service trip, will work alongside physicians and aid workers in impoverished communities in Haiti this summer. She will join inaugural 2013 Ripple Effect winners Oluwatoni Aluko, from Meharry Medical College, and Meghan Meghpara, from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine on the trip, as well as the other 2014 winner Matthew Schilling, from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. A panel of judges from Heart to Heart International, Welch Allyn and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) evaluated Iles’ short video and tabbed it superior for its personality, passion, creativity, sincerity and quality of expression.

“We are pleased that Ms. Iles will be joining the Welch Allyn team to volunteer in Haiti with us this summer,” said Jim Mitchum, CEO, Heart to Heart International. “Her moving video exemplifies what the Ripple Effect Contest is all about. Volunteering is a necessity for us if we want to fulfill our mission to improve global health and we hope her volunteer experience will inspire and encourage others to share their time and talents with those in need. She is well on her way to creating her own ripple effect in the world today.”

The Ripple Effect Contest encourages medical students to use social media to share how they will create their own “ripple effect” of good in their community or globally. Entrants were asked to ‘like’ the Ripple Effect program page on Facebook and share a picture with a short essay or a short video showcasing their “ripple effect” -- a brief narrative about how they would “change the world” by using their training to help those in greatest need.

“We are privileged that our very own Kathleen Iles has been selected as a 2014 Ripple Effect Contest winner,” said David Duggan, MD, dean of the College of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “Ms. Iles entered an engaging and heartening video that describes giving back to others the type of care she received in keeping with our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve through of education, research and compassionate health care.”

Under Ripple Effect, Welch Allyn, a leading medical diagnostic device company that delivers pragmatic innovation at the point of care, provides up to $125 in merchandise credits to Heart to Heart International when a student purchases select Welch Allyn diagnostic instruments. Heart to Heart International, a nonprofit medical aid organization, uses the credits to acquire Welch Allyn devices for use in its global humanitarian programs, disaster relief, and health professional training for underserved populations. In 2014, the program raised credits valued at more than $1 million that Heart to Heart International applied to purchases of medical equipment from Welch Allyn for use in its worldwide humanitarian programs.

Reliable medical instruments play a critical role in helping physicians make key assessments, which informs diagnosis and helps improve care for patients. When physicians are equipped with the proper medical instruments, their ability to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage a wide variety of illnesses and diseases, and care for more patients, increases. In many places, medical providers do not have access to even basic diagnostic equipment, limiting their ability to provide quality care.

“Welch Allyn is proud to partner with Heart to Heart International to offer a way for medical students to start making a difference in people’s lives long before their first residency,” said David Allyn, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Welch Allyn. “By simply participating in the Ripple Effect Contest four lucky med students have been given the opportunity to participate in a life-changing humanitarian service trip to support people in need. As we celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2015, it is only fitting that we continue to uphold our core value--‘be always kind and true’, as W.G. Allyn, the son of our founder, embraced, by sending four reputable students on a humanitarian trip of a lifetime. Further, Welch Allyn is honored to be able to provide some of the equipment the students, physicians and aid workers will use on the trip to improve care in places where it is needed most.”

Since the establishment of the Welch Allyn and Heart to Heart International relationship back in 1998, Welch Allyn has provided more than $12 million worth of medical equipment to Heart to Heart International to help clinicians deliver vital patient care in the places that need it most. Welch Allyn employees have also contributed many hours of volunteer time both at home and abroad.

Caption: First-year medical student Kathleen Iles displays the giant boarding pass for her travels to Haiti on a medical outreach visit. Iles won the Ripple Effect Award in a national competition sponsored by Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn. Looking on in is Heart to Heart's Corporate Relations Director Steve Hower.