Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Get to Know WWFF Founder: Steve Weinberg

Steven Weinberg

Why did you decide to start WWFF?
We wanted to give students a way to address the international crisis of childhood malnutrition while still encouraging them to be involved in their local communities.

How has WWFF changed since you started it?
Our leadership team was much smaller when we started WWFF. I'm excited to see that it has expanded and we've pulled in a lot of talented leaders taking on challenging roles.

Can you describe what work you did in Ethiopia.  Who you worked with, how you found it, etc.
I worked with Dr. Rick Hodes (www.rickhodes.org) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Most of our work was at Mother Teresa's Mission where we ran a safety net clinic taking care of patients who had been turned away from many other hospitals. Dr. Hodes is on the Board of WWFF so when I had some time before starting medical school I knew that I wanted to spend it with him.

How can students who are interested in doing work abroad like you find out about opportunities like this?
Most major colleges and universities will have an international office these days. I think that going through established programs is always a good idea since the roles are defined and infrastructure is in place already. I would be happy to try to set people up with a position at one of the organizations I worked with in Ethiopia.

I know you're in Medical School, what are you studying and planning to do in the future?
So far I am really interested in pediatrics. Perhaps pediatric cardiology. I saw a lot of really sick kids with heart problems in Ethiopia and this definitely sparked my interest.

What advice do you have for University of Michigan students?
There was a Mark Twain quote that I tried to live by while in undergrad - "don't let school interfere with your education." College is unique because you actually have time and resources to explore the things you're interested in. Take advantage of it! Whether it is going to an art museum, working for a nonprofit, or traveling you'll be happy you took the time to do it.

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