We are thrilled to announce the new class of Global Health Service Partnership Volunteers has arrived in Washington DC for orientation. This class of 42 volunteers is made up of a remarkable group of US physicians and nurses. They come from 22 states from around the US, range in age from their late twenties to late sixties, represent myriad specialties including obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesia, surgery, and mental health, and eight are returned Peace Corps Volunteers eager to apply their clinical experience in service. They are made up of 19 physicians and 23 nurses who will return to our partner sites in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. We are proud that three are first year GHSP volunteers who have decided to continue for a second year.
These 42 volunteers will build on our extraordinary first year. We just returned from our Close of Service conference and were thrilled by the impact our first class had. Volunteers reported improving education, patient care and making a lasting impact on their professions. A few stories:
Matt Robinson, a physician volunteer in northern Uganda, shared how on his departure he was told by the head of his department that the mortality rate drastically reduced after his co-volunteer and he started. Further, they impacted retention. Most students do not choose generally to stay in government hospitals to work. This year, Matt overheard five graduating students ask if they could be taken up as interns at the hospital. Before, people only stayed because it was required. Now, they stay because they are choosing to.
Kelly Lippi, a nurse volunteer, worked at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in southwest Uganda in the Bachelor’s of Nursing program. Of her 150 students, less than two had chosen nursing as their profession. Most students wanted to go into medicine, veterinary medicine, or pharmacy. Nursing was a last choice, but none of these nurses knew what being a nurse could be. Kelly was determined to show them this. Every day, she would come with stories about how nurses could change lives and make a difference. At the end of her year, she asked for evaluations. One student wrote “you have made me feel that I have chosen the best profession in the world.” The student further elaborated she was excited to share this with her future students. Kelly achieved her goal.
Maureen Ries, a obstetrician working in northern Tanzania, held a conference for the labor nurses at her hospital. She taught 45 new nurses skills and protocols to make them feel more comfortable about the tasks about which they were responsible. After the conference, Maureen was presenting to her fellow physicians and was asked if all the nurses in the rural communities had attended Maureen’s conference too. Maureen learned that the 45 nurses had all spread the updates Maureen had taught to the outside communities and the nurses were now updating the doctors there. Maureen provided essential education for the hospital staff, but its impact was far larger.
We are excited to see this same energy and impact build over this next year. None of this success is possible without support from countless individuals and organizations. We want to thank them for their commitment to Seed’s mission of building sustainable workforces and welcome new supporters to join us in this exciting initiative.
Vanessa and the Seed team
Dr. Kerry is the co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health. She is also a critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Associate Director of Partnerships and Global Initiatives at MGH’s Center for Global Health. Academically, Dr. Kerry spearheads Harvard Medical School’s program in Global Public Policy and Social Change. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and went on to complete her Internal Medicine residency and Critical Care fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She also earned a Master’s in Health Policy, Planning, and Financing from the London Schools of Economics and of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.