Friday, September 28, 2012

A Peace Corps For Doctors, Built By A Senator's Daughter

Fifty years ago President Kennedy started the Peace Corps with the promise that it would train doctors in faraway lands. But, you may be surprised to know, the Peace Corps has never actually recruited doctors and nurses as mentors and medical educators.
Dr. Vanessa Kerry wants to fulfill that promise.
The 35-year-old physician — a daughter of Sen. John Kerry — has created a partnership with the Peace Corps to send doctors and nurses abroad. In return a non-profit pays off part of school loans.
"It's a Peace Corps for doctors and nurses," Kerry tells Shots. The goal of the Global Health Service Partnership, as it is tentatively called, is to reduce the severe shortage of medical workers in developing countries.
The Global Health Service Partnership volunteers won't just provide on-the-spot medical care. Kerry says they'll be teachers and mentors to local doctors, augmenting faculties of medicine and nursing.
"We've been very clear that these people are there to provide faculty support and integrate with faculty in these institutions," Kerry says. This way, they can grow local health systems in a sustainable way.
She thinks that might eventually help reverse the medical brain drain that plagues many developing countries. "If we can build up opportunities and create a better academic environment, that can build up retention [of local doctors]," she says.
Health professionals often migrate not just because they can make more elsewhere but because they can't practice the kind of medicine they want to at home, she says. By raising the standard, they might stay.
"People want to stay in their country, they want to stay with their family," Kerry says. The opportunities just have to be built.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails