The Investigative Medicine Club (I-MED) is a group of students to are dedicated to searching for issues in the science field, and finding ways to solve them. I-MED not only operates on a local scale, but also in places as far as Africa. “What we do is we find scientific causes,” Vice President senior Katina Yong said. “After that, we look for ways that we can change society for the better.”
I-MED President junior Brent Han believes that the club is unique in the sense of its wide range of affairs, as well as its action-taking stance. “Part of what makes the club unique is that it’s so versatile, we have to incorporate so many different areas,” Han said. “We are the only club at Gunn that combines science and activism,”
Currently, the club’s main project is on the containment of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) a chemical that is toxic to humans, in the Bay Area. “[Hewlett-Packard] used to have a factory where they manufactured electronic chips,” Yong said. “As part of the process, they produced TCE, some of which went into the groundwater and underground pockets.”
Their main goal for decreasing the threat of TCE is to make sure people are protected. “First we want the city to implement revised building policies that will better protect existing and future buildings,” Han said. “We have met with a member of city council for quite some time, and have come up with a building plan.”
The club’s next step is to petition the San Francisco Water Board for more comprehensive vapor intrusion assessment and protection, around the area called the HP Superfund Site, which includes local areas.
The interest in solving the TCE problem goes to a personal level for both Han and Yong. “For me it was personal experience with chemicals,” Han said. “There were several times that my family woke up in the night to a burning, acrid stench in the air. I wanted to know where they came from, and what they were.”
Similarly, family reasons are part of what motivates Yong to seek medical change in the community. “Part of it is personal, because of my grandparents,” Yong said. “I want to make sure they’re always healthy.”
As a side project, I-MED is holding a drive to sent sanitation wipes to Burkina Faso, an underdeveloped country in Africa. “We have an annual hand sanitizer drive for my pen pal’s school in Burkina Faso,” Han said. “This year we’ve extended it to include more medical supplies, because we can’t ship prescription drugs or liquid disinfectants.”
Bottles of liquid sanitizer won’t be accepted, as they are illegal to ship because of flammability issues. For those interested in getting involved in the club, I-MED meets Thursdays at lunch in room L-2.