During this holiday season, and as 2015 comes to a close, many are searching for meaningful “alternative” gifts to give. While my expertise is in healthcare, let me suggest a few reputable organizations that are doing good in my hometown and around the world.
Hope Medical Clinic offers healthcare to political refugees settled in Austin through the United Nations’ resettlement program. Unfortunately, their initial health coverage in the form of Medicaid lasts only eight months. Then, most of these refugees from Bhutan, Nepal, and Iraq are left uninsured, yet needing the same preventive, chronic, women’s, physical therapy, and dental care that we all need. Hope runs purely on volunteer support and is a way to help refugees here in our own backyard.
The Austin PrEP Access Project evaluates patients for Truvada, to be taken as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis against HIV. High-risk patients are evaluated by volunteer medical providers and monitored through regular blood draws funded by private donors. PrEP has proven wildly successfulin lowering HIV incidence in San Francisco, saving lives and saving costs for the local community.
Samaritan’s Purse through its World Medical Mission funds short-term medical missionaries in settings requesting assistance around the world. This faith-based organization places physicians, dentists, and other personnel and supplies into resource-poor settings. I will be teaching as volunteer faculty at PCEA Chogoria Hospital’s new Family Medicine residency program through Kabarak University from February through June 2016. Samaritan’s Purse’s World Medical Mission is assisting in coordinating my documentation, travel, and funding. Follow this link, search for my name, and be assured your tax-deductible funds will go to essentials such as travel, food, visas, and my Kenyan medical license.
Medic to Medic funds education for physicians in low-income areas. The US has 2.5 physicians per 1,000 people; Malawi has less than 0.1 physicians per 1,000. This is a sustainable way to fund the education of health workers where they are needed most. You could fund a medical student’s tuition and all supplies for just $750 per year. A close UK-based physician friend of mine is an organizational leader.
SEED Global Health is a public-private partnership with the US Peace Corps designed to place American physicians and nurses in medical/nursing school and residency training settings as faculty to assist in educating physicians, nurses, and clinical officers in low-income countries. Being a uniquely American NGO, this organization funds some educational debt repayment for each year of service. I will be teaching with SEED from July 2016 through June 2017.
In my opinion, these three global options all represent sustainable steps towards universal health coverage in some of the poorest areas on the globe. Please join me in supporting these servant organizations. Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!