Can You Do Medical Missions At Home?
September 1st, 2012 by INMED
Can you do medical missions at home? Is it possible, even healthier, to fulfill your visions via service to people in your midst? “Yes absolutely,” responds Colette Fleming, pediatrician at Samuel Rogers Health Center. “I want to do a medical mission trip to Haiti. Here, on the other hand, I immerse myself everyday among internationals. Many are malnourished and suffer from diseases that are far advanced. As I care for these precious people month by month we develop relationships of trust and dignity, and soft spot for them continues to grow in my heart.”
Her clinic is not located in a developing country. Rather, this is the Samuel Rogers Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Like most urban areas, KC is home to thousands of legal refugees resettled from Bhutan, Somalia, Mongolia, Iraq, Burma, Afghanistan… The challenges they face are immense: language acquisition, employment, children’s education, healthcare – all compounded by mammoth cultural barriers.
Medical missions is in essence a calling of devotion to people who are most disadvantaged – regardless of where they are located. Refugee care clinics throughout our metro areas are locales of compassion and sanctuary where professionals of such high calling live out their convictions every day. But the number of those like Dr. Fleming is wholly inadequate.
Every day she faces ailing children, worried parents, and anxious elderly. To arrive at the clinic some walk for miles, others wait in blazing heat to catch a bus. The reception area is filled with a plethora of languages: a mom softly speaking in Hindi to her sick baby, a disabled man checks in with the help of a Somali interpreter, a young couple question in Thai whether they are pregnant.
How can you start doing medical missions at home? Become connected with a mentor like Dr. Fleming from whom you can learn the nuances of providing refugee care. Samuel Rogers Health Center is now an INMED Training Site. Whether you are a student, resident, or practicing professional, INMED can arrange a quality international service-learning opportunity, without requiring passport or yellow fever vaccination. “I thrive in the fascination of medical missions everyday,” sums up Dr. Fleming. “Come join me!”