Locums for a Small World Blog

Physicians from Global Medical Staffing make a difference in Haiti

Posted by Kari Redfield

This past November, Dr. Maria Chansky went on her fourth medical mission, this time to Haiti. The Haiti mission was made possible through a generous grant from the Making a Difference Foundation in partnership with International Medical Relief, enabling five physicians and several support staff members to travel to and within Haiti for eight days, giving of their time and skills to those most in need of medical and dental care.

Every day, the team set up at a different site in order to treat as many people as possible.

“We had to figure out how to use the site effectively, had to figure out where the dentists were going to be, where the primary care providers were going to be, where the patient education was going to be, where the pharmacy was going to be,” says Dr. Chansky. “Really, we had to work together to organize, lay things out, and move benches and equipment.”

Dr. Chansky says the whole team stepped up wonderfully, making the logistics and delivery of care a smooth process that benefited a lot of Haitians.
Life in Haiti
Even though Dr. Chanksy has seen other places devastated by natural disasters, one thing that struck her about Haiti was how destroyed parts of it still are from the 2010 earthquake.

“There are almost like two Haitis,” says Dr. Chansky. “There’s the group of people in Haiti who still have places to live and still have work, but then there are people whose neighborhoods were completely destroyed by the earthquake — and they’re living in refugee camps, and their neighborhoods haven’t been rebuilt. It’s been eight years and they still have nothing. It seems like the people who were really devastated by the earthquake, their situation hasn’t really changed or improved much, which is heartbreaking.”

Dr. Chansky adds: “The incredibly huge line of patients who were waiting to be seen spoke to the importance of what we were doing.”
Putting medical skills to good use
Dr. Chansky says that she is drawn to these missions in order to give back to those most in need.

“I like working with the disenfranchised populations, learning about them, seeing what life is like in different places, and serving people who need my services. I really enjoy working with people and getting to know them and doing something that hopefully makes a difference in their life,” she explains. “From a purely selfish point of view, I get to travel to places that perhaps I wouldn’t go to otherwise and meet people who I wouldn’t otherwise meet, and I really enjoy that.”

This desire to help those who most need medical care is part of why Dr. Chansky has worked as a locum tenens physician at various times throughout her 21-year career. She worked three years in New Zealand, plus a couple years of full-time locum tenens in the continental U.S.

“The clinics that are hiring locums are the clinics that are probably in the greatest need, and so I’m filling the role and providing a service,” she explains.

She also likes locums because she enjoys traveling and meeting people. The third thing she likes about locum tenens is the flexibility.

“I have a lot of flexibility as far as where I am and when, so if my husband’s parents or my parents had some kind of emergency I could get locums work close to them,” Dr. Chansky explains.

She says that flexibility also meant that when she was working locums, she could be in a certain place at a certain time of the year to experience something unique to that area — or to take time off for a holiday or family gathering. Locums also allowed her to set her own schedule, decide where she wanted to work, and work fewer hours than a long-term position.

Dr. Chansky says that she encourages other physicians to consider locums if they are looking for more flexibility, travel opportunities, and want to use their medical skills where they are most needed.

She also encourages physicians to sign up for a medical mission to see life through others’ eyes and give back.

Inspired to make a difference through a medical mission? The Making a Difference Foundation partners with world-class nonprofits to provide physicians the opportunity to participate in meaningful medical missions to make a difference around the globe. Visit them to learn more about medical mission opportunities.

Topics: Locum Tenens, travel, giving back, Making a Difference Foundation, Medical mission, Haiti, Caribbean

There's an opportunity in every difficulty, says Dr. Francina Hoffman

Posted by Jesse Black

Port-au-Prince, HaitiIt's been said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Nothing could be closer to the truth when you consider the recent difficulties suffered by the citizens of Haiti. Reports from doctors who have given their time and talents to assist those in need have described their experiences as both, "heart-wrenching." and "altogether fulfilling."

Dr. Hoffman Haitian Girl

One of our own doctors, Dr. Francina Hoffman, a Family and Emergency Medicine physician, had the opportunity to lend a hand in the recovery effort just a few weeks ago. The experience she shared with Global Medical has helped to remind us why we do what we do.

"My experience in Haiti has been amazing," Dr. Hoffman says. "As I have worked these many weeks I have had cause to pause and watch as people from all nations have come together and worked for a common purpose."

Many countries have responded with humanitarian aid in Haiti. Dr. Hoffman represents one of several American doctors who traveled to the epicenter of the quake to lend assistance. Among the sick and injured she began to notice something altogether different happening.

Hatian Aid worker with baby"Middle Eastern men and women from warring countries are working together to build shelters and provide water to those in need. Here there are no politics; all differences have been set aside. I've seen nurses in malnutrition tents outside hospitals mixing medications that have labels from several different countries and have watched as they've administered them to each baby. The coming together of countries is literally happening right before my eyes."

Humanitarian Aid workers in HaitiGroups of "extreme teams" were formed in an effort to search out and provide aid for people in the mountainous regions and farther up the river systems. Dr. Hoffman recalls being a member of an extreme team made up of a nurse from Kenya and another from Canada. "Other teams were equally as multi-national," she says.

Through difficulty, rescuers were able to find opportunity. "We are all putting our hearts and souls into the effort of bringing tremendous enthusiasm and skill to the task at hand every day. Men and women giving to themselves and others more than what was asked of them and probably more than we each knew we had in ourselves to give."

Children in HaitiWhile the United Nations, along with the United States formulized and coordinated the relief efforts it was the willingness of those on the ground, working together, that really brought relief to Haiti. Dr. Hoffman describes, "A united nations among the aid workers in Haiti," that contributed to much of the success they witnessed.

We commend Dr. Hoffman and her efforts to provide relief in a devastated country. The dedication to her profession and the willingness she has displayed in helping those in need has caused us to pause and watch what we do. We strive to provide underserviced areas throughout the world with the medical attention they need. We are, as Dr. Hoffman says, "Blessed to be able to participate in this community."

Topics: Haiti, Dr. Francina Hoffman, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Locum Tenens

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