Our Vigilante 2019 BISBY Award recipient is Project Embrace! Started as a small donation campaign out of a dorm room at the University of Utah, Project Embrace has grown into an international medical nonprofit organization.
Still student-run, Project Embrace connects people in need with medical supplies all around the world. Mohan Sudabattula began the startup during his junior year at the U, between balancing his triple majors and involvement in student government and other campus and community organizations. A family trip to an orphanage in India when Sudabattula was 12 showed the biology, philosophy and health, society and policy student the incredible lack of medical devices and services on a global scale. When he began volunteering in the orthotics and prosthetics department at Shriners Hospital for Children, this lack was again brought to his attention. This time, he realized he could do something about it.
Project Embrace collects slightly used medical devices mislabeled as “medical waste” in the United States to be sent to healthcare facilities in low and middle-income countries. These devices, like wheelchairs and crutches, are then reused and repurposed for patients with little access to adequate healthcare, locally and abroad.
The nonprofit has traveled to India, Eswatini (Swaziland), and the Navajo Nation in Utah, as well as local organizations in the Salt Lake Valley, and they’re still growing. Sudabattula credits it all to passion and a love of global good.
“That’s the only way this was possible," Sudabattula said. "Inevitably, there were a ton of late nights. But, if you’re excited about the dreaded hours staying up in the morning, then you know you’re doing the right thing.”
Watch this video submitted by their team to learn more about what they do and how you can help, and visit their website projectembrace.org.