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What People Group Is Most Distressed?



In our era of natural disasters, social unrest, and economic turmoil, this question is more than academic. We want our personal lives and our organized efforts to be significant, even virtuous. A first step is to identify with whom to invest our good will, and so the question: What people group is most distressed?


A people group, or ethnic group, is a cluster of individuals whose members identify with each other through a common heritage, language, culture, and/or ideology. Why address people groups and not simply nations? For one, nations contain a broad mix of both advantaged people and disadvantaged ones. Effectively addressing the plight of the latter requires an understanding of their particular culture.


Who is taking advantage of this insight on behalf the worlds’ most poor? Let me introduce you to Doug Blackall. A former professor of pathology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, I met Doug when he participated in an INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course – one that’s now offered each spring, summer, and fall. Doug explained following that training experience, “Because I now better understood the diseases of poverty my naturally hard heart softened a bit, and I was in a much better place to effectively serve those in need.”


Shortly thereafter, Doug and his family moved to the United Arab Emirates, where he today serves at Oasis Hospital. The UAE is known outwardly as a relatively wealthy nation. But like all well-to-do countries, including China from where I’m writing now, the UAE also hosts many foreign workers and people groups of lesser economic status like Iranians, Palestinians, and Jordanians. Such people receive quality care from Doug and his colleagues.


What people group is most distressed? Many are in peril: the Berbers of northern Africa, Kurdish of western Asia, and Miskito of Central America. Observing the lifestyle of Doug Blackall, we may do better to ask ourselves, “What will I do on behalf of people in distress?” and “How can I equip myself for this challenge?” How would you respond to such questions? I invite you to correspond with me on this subject. Please contact me via email to [email protected] or via Facebook.

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