What if you needed surgery - and there were only two surgeons for your entire state? In many African countries, this degree of critical shortage of trained surgeons is the painful reality. I serve primarily with PAACS - the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons.
PAACS is a strategic response to the need for surgeons in Africa - a non-denominational, multinational service organization training African physicians to become general surgeons who are willing to remain in Africa to meet that need. My role is first to teach the core elements of ENT to the PAACS resident surgeons. I see patients with them in clinic and teach surgery in the operating room. When these young men and women graduate from PAACS as general surgeons, they will likely be the only surgeon of any type in their region. Knowledge of ENT surgical basics becomes critical to serving their community. I also serve on the PAACS ENT taskforce to plan for ENT surgical education in Africa and recruit other American ENT's to serve. This work has been among the most rewarding of my professional career. My personal blog helps illustrate that.
In January, 2011 I joined other Louisville and Southern Indiana physicians on a mission to Ecuador. We served in Manta with Healing the Children. During our week we screened over 500 patients and operated on 161 children. I spent most of my operative time repairing cleft lips. Others on our team addressed basic ENT needs, orthopedic problems, and general surgical problems. In March, 2012 my daughter Megan and I served on a team of 60 doctors and medical students on a medical mission to Nicaragua.
The Global Health Missions Conference is also a terrific conference for anyone interested in missions. I will be attending again this year with my wife, Sue and our daughter Allegra.