Medical Missions: Open Your World Barbara J. Connor, MD June 13, 2014
Objectives • Describe what a Medical Mission is • Provide anecdotal experiences • Describe opportunities for Medical Mission
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead
Historical Context • Traveled world as a young girl: Central America, Europe, and Asia • Grew up surrounded by philanthropy and volunteerism: Parents • Attended girls boarding school: friends from around the world • How I came to do Medical Missions: the opportunity in El Salvador
Types of Medical Missions Providers going to the people Clinic exists so people travel to see providers Surgical EENT Smile Ophthalmologic Medical Doctors without Borders Cruise ships • Locum Tenens
Characteristics of Effective Missions • Don’t superimpose American model of Medicine • Honor their values • Meet them where they are • Respect their physicians and the limited resources they have • Allow yourself to be a student of what can be learned from their way of life • The meaning of “happiness” is something to be witnessed • What you don’t want is medical tourisms; dumping medicine and/or supplies on them; medical experimentation
El Salvador • We always need volunteers • Respect their normal • Recognize our riches • World is our neighborhood • Accept responsibility for being a student for the rest of our life; patients are our best teachers • Going back year after year to see progress and that we’ve made a difference; • Furthered honed ability to know when to worry!
El Salvador • Worked to bring all possible aspects of care: • Medicine • Dental • Ophthalmologic • Psychiatric • Patient Education • Domestic violence • Birth control • Nutrition • Care can only be as good as your cultural sensitivity and the skill of your translators • PTSD/mental health
New Zealand • “Place holder” • Loved working in a different health care system/framework to understand policy and administration • Gained appreciation for changes being made in U.S. – especially universal coverage • Loved seeing how another well to do culture deals with disease and illness • “She’ll be right” vs. entitled, dependent care • Used physical exam as diagnostic tool vs. CT
South Sudan • Resilience: • never give up and impossible is what you choose not to do • Four hours for me to fly where the boys walked • Volume of suffering and poverty • Telemedicine • Reaffirmation of the privilege of our vocation and avocation
0pportunities for Medical Missions Private Organizations • Religious Affiliations • Mission of Miracles • Hands at Work • Community Organizations • Doctors without Borders • Nurses for Africa • Unite for Sight • Academic Organizations • Medical Schools • Crouse
Opportunities for Medical Missions Public Organizations • Government • CDC • International • WHO
Local Opportunities to Help Global Efforts • www.missionofmiracles.org • www.johndaufoundation.org • June 22, 2014: Fund raiser for John Dau Foundation at Allyn Arena, Skaneateles, NY
Grass Root Efforts • Remain humble to find the help and resources • Be content with what you can do but give of your gifts • Partner, collaborate • Listen • Allow • Always trying to support what’s already there and don’t need to reinvent the wheel • World Food Program (WFP) • Johnson and Johnson • United Nations
Conclusion • Nike: Just Do It! • “Done is better than perfect” • If you think of it, do it! • Impossible is what you choose not to do!
Thank You • Questions?