Gonzalo Bearman MD, MPH, FACP, FSHEA
Professor of Medicine
Hospital Epidemiologist
Virginia Commonwealth University
PO Box 980019
Richmond VA, 23298-0019

gbearman@mcvh-vcu.edu

VCU Global Health and Health Disparities Program:

 

 

It is not uncommon that we are asked why we go on medical relief trips to Honduras? Of course, we could launch into platitudes about doing good deeds for the sake of humanity, but that would give an oversimplified and false sense of purpose. Of course, there is an element of medical and humanistic goodwill that drives our collaborative effort with local Honduran medical officials. Treating patients who live in extreme poverty for common illnesses that are easily addressed by primary care doctors and urgent care centers in the USA is gratifying. Providing clean water filtration systems, mass de-worming of rural populations and offering rudimentary dental care in areas devoid of both lasting health services and basic sanitation add to the mission’s humanistic appeal. The opportunity to expose medical students and residents to medical relief work and its inherent rewards and challenges is stimulating and serves to train future leaders in global health. Last, our Honduran trips are accurately characterized as humid, dirty and uncomfortable. Perhaps that is part of the attraction, that is, it challenges us to display some fortitude, away from our comfortable stateside lives. All are noble goals. Most importantly, during an intense 10 days in June, our yearly ‘Honduran Sessions’, lead us to an exploration and reaffirmation of what it means to be human, to witness suffering and need alongside survival and resilience. In doing so, we are inspired to collaborate and help, albeit on a limited scale, and are forced to reflect, individually, on what is truly meaningful in a world of growing disparity, tremendous wealth and immense potential.

Please visit this website for more information on the program:

http://www.vcuimglobalhealth.vcu.edu/Home.html

   

 


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