The Physician Outreach Network is a group of medical professionals who meet in Indianapolis, Indiana to share experiences and collaborate on local, regional and international medical mission outreach initiatives. Projects include providing charity medical care and relief efforts in impoverished communities around the country and around the world.
Natural disasters, widespread hunger, epidemics and disease are unfortunate byproducts of the world in which we live. The Physician Outreach Network, under the leadership of Dr. Curt Ward, firstname.lastname@example.org, seeks to serve the needs of individuals affected by these tragedies.
Other goals and objectives include:
St. Vincent Physician Outreach Network (PON) partners with numerous local medical mission teams in volunteering to support areas around the world. Please continue to check back periodically, as trips are added frequently.
Timmy Global Health, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based out of Indianapolis, provides medical relief in underserved areas. Physicians and pharmacists are needed.
Several Timmy Foundation university chapters are planning upcoming trips. Please see the schedule below.
Contact Timmy Global Health’s US Programs Coordinator Ali Campbell at email@example.com for more information about any of these upcoming trips. We’d love to have you join us!
||July 22-29, 2017
|Monte Christi, Dominican Republic
||July 18-August 6, 2017
||July 28-August 6, 2017
||August 11-20, 2017
|Mao, Dominican Republic||August 19–27, 2017
|Las Canas, Dominican Republic
||August 5-13, 2017
|Misa, Ecuador||November 10-19, 2017
|Santa Domingo & Guangaje, Ecuador
||September 30-October 15, 2017
|Xela, Guatemala||October 14-22, 2017
||October 14-22, 2017
|Monte Christi, Dominican Republic
||October 14-22, 2017
|Las Canas, Dominican Republic
||October 14-22, 2017
Connect to the FAME website for a complete list of mission trip opportunities: www.fameworld.org/home.aspx.
||August 19 - August 31, 2017|
|Brazil||August 23 - September 2, 2017|
|Myanmar||September 22 - October 7, 2017|
|Haiti||October 27 - November 4, 2017|
Individuals interested in FAME trips must fill out an application.
Nehemiah Vision Ministries (NVM) is a non-profit organization that ministers to people living in the Haitian communities of Chambrun and Onaville along with smaller villages within a 10-mile radius of its 18-acre ministry campus.
In 2016 NVM will have two ‘Medical Teams.’ These teams will be led by Gary and Sylvia, who have led over 100 teams to many parts of the world as long-time NVM partners. To learn more, contact Gary & Sylvia at OpenTeams@nvm.org.
For more information contact Angie Mollenkopf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dr. Steve Zentner, medical director of volunteer clinics
Twenty-five years ago, cardiologist Jim Trippi, MD, had a vision to provide health care for the homeless. Dr. Trippi was handing out food to some homeless people in a soup kitchen when he asked one man where he got his health care. The man said he didn't get any health care. So Dr. Trippi began treating the homeless in the back of a church. Since that time, his vision has grown to multiple clinics around the Indianapolis area, in food pantries, adult and family shelters, and a mobile medical van. The clinics care for those who are uninsured or underinsured, and are able to dispense some medications on-site.
There is also a wellness clinic, a dental clinic, a women's health initiative, and a health recovery program for homeless men who were recently hospitalized and have nowhere to go after discharge. Coming this summer will be a similar health recovery program for women.
In October 2014, several residents and attending physicians from the St.Vincent residency program learned more about the clinics. After an introductory talk over dinner with Dr. Trippi, a tour of the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry and the Gennesaret Clinic within the pantry followed. This clinic is the busiest of the Gennesaret clinics and is the one always in need of most volunteers. After this, they drove over to the Salvation Army shelter where they received information about the shelter and saw the much smaller Gennesaret Clinic housed there.
Most of the clinics are run by volunteers, with a minimal commitment of 3-4 hours every 1-2 months. Clinic hours vary with some being open weekdays, some in the evenings, and some on weekends. We are always in need of volunteer physicians, NPs, PAs, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and anyone interested in serving as a clerk. To learn more about Gennesaret, check out our website at www.gennesaret.org. Those interested in volunteering should contact our volunteer coordinator Brenda Warren at email@example.com or 317-639-5645.
By Robert Love, MD
Associate Director of Internal Medicine Residency
St. Vincent Indianapolis
Good Samaritan Health Clinic is the medical arm of Good News Ministries, which is a Christian organization that also includes a rescue mission for homeless men, a transitional housing program for homeless families, a child development program for poor and single-parent families, and a summer camping program for inner-city boys ages 13 to 17. Good News Ministries is nondenominational and has as its ultimate goal to help needy individuals and families achieve independent living with a reliance on God.
Good Samaritan Health Clinic provides preventive and primary care services to poor and uninsured children and adults. There is a clinic manager and a receptionist but all other professional services are provided by volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists at no cost to patients. Subsidized laboratory services are available and a simple pharmacy is stocked with donated products and a core formulary of subsidized, purchased medications. In partnership with local organizations (Indiana Department of Health, Immunization Registry Program, Marian University and IUPUI nursing programs, Little Red Door Cancer Agency, and many more), a wide range of services are available to patients.
I have been volunteering at Good Samaritan Health Clinic for about four years and have found it an important way to help patients who cannot afford primary health care elsewhere. Patricia Camano is a skilled clinic manager with a heart for service, and our patients are consistently thankful for the compassionate care they receive from the volunteer medical staff.
Those interested in volunteering at Good Samaritan Health Clinic should contact Patricia Camano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or one can call Good News Ministries at 317-638-2862 and the operator can transfer calls to the Clinic receptionist. There is a special need for physicians to see adult patients and Ms. Camano can be flexible in scheduling appointments to accommodate volunteer availability. Even if potential volunteers are unsure whether Good Samaritan Health Clinic is the place for them, they are welcome to visit and explore the options without commitment.
Good Samaritan Health Clinic
11 Eastern Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46201
By Missy Tuck, Outreach and Education Coordinator
St. Vincent Bariatric Center of Excellence
My Global Orphan Foundation trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was life-changing. While I have traveled to more than 30 countries, the energy and the people of the Congo were different than anything that I had ever experienced in this world.
I was asked to travel to help implement a medical nutrition program for orphans in a slum in Kinshasa. The pilot location was in an orphanage called COLK, the home for approximately 120 orphans ranging from 1 month to 19 years.
The travel team included the director of the Global Orphan Foundation (GOF), a GOF board member/ adoptive mom with twins from the Congo, a physician and me…a public health worker. I had helped create a program that would not only treat malnutrition, but also prevent malnutrition. This included not only food resources, but also educational resources and micronutrient resources to combat the many precursors to malnutrition. Because childhood illness is a contributing cause to acute malnutrition, our goal was to provide aggressive and early management of sanitation, hygiene and health programs (i.e. diarrhea, malaria prevention). This was to augment the management of acute malnutrition in the orphans we served.
Our days were spent “in clinic,” screening all the orphans. We used Doctors Without Borders Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC), height, weight and other biometric indicators to access all the orphans. From there, we categorized those with severe and moderate acute malnutrition and put them on a “treatment plan.” This includes the utilization of high nutrient dense food products called Plumpy Nut for older kids and F-100 formula for infants. There were four orphans we screened who were taken to the hospital due to the severity of their condition. Two of the orphans had arm circumferences of only 112 mm! Another nine had acute infections that required antibiotic treatment.
From here, we met with the orphanage workers, the local Congolese pediatrician and nurse. We asked for their input…what would work, what was a reasonable expectation, what they saw daily, where the most need was, etc. Our goal was to create a successful partnership and establish trust for the best long-term outcomes. We wanted to make sure they knew we were their partners and that together, we could improve the lives of the orphans we were serving.
From here, all of the orphans were provided a de-worming pill and education on hand washing and the utilization of the boxes of hand sanitizer we had brought. None of them had used or seen hand sanitizer before.
Thanks to the St.Vincent grant, we were able to provide antibiotics and multi-vitamins with iron to all orphans…for an entire year. These multi-vitamins will prevent Vitamin A deficiency in the orphans, which is linked to preventing blindness and protecting against death from measles and diarrhea; preventing zinc deficiency, which helps decrease the risk of pneumonia and the length and severity of diarrhea; and preventing iron deficiency, which is the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world affecting about half of all children under age 5.
Without iron, physical and mental capacities of a population are lowered…immune defense is lowered…and cognitive ability is reduced. In addition, we brought and hung 20 insecticide-treated bednets, which were being used to help prevent malaria.
On our final night, there was a spontaneous singing and dancing celebration. I danced and sang while holding three kiddos. Another five kids held on to my shirt as we danced, smiled and sang together. After much dancing, I sat down on a concrete step and another 10-15 kids ran over for some love and affection. We hugged, laughed and hugged some more. These kids are so full of love, so full of life, so full of hope. I feel fortunate that I could serve them and look forward to going back to see their beautiful faces and measure their improvement. We have so much to learn from the energy and love of these kids. So much to learn. So much love to give.
By Dr. Alan Bercovitz, Family Medicine
Last March, I was part of a medical team that traveled to Guatemala. This trip was remarkable on many levels.
On a professional level, this was an opportunity to practice pure medicine, using my mind, my hands and my heart to do what was best.
On a teaching level, what a wonderful experience to share with about 15 college age pre-medical profession students. I was able to give them hands-on experience, while also showing them and explaining to them various aspects of what it is like to care for people.
On a social level, traveling with and working alongside other medical professionals added to this experience, as did spending time with the students. The entire group grew close over the 10 days we spent together.
On a personal level, experiencing another culture, most of whose people live in extreme poverty, was extremely rewarding. Despite their living conditions, the Guatemalan people were happy. Some traveled hours by foot to see the doctor, and they were truly appreciative of our being there. What remains most special is that I shared this entire wonderful journey with my then 21-year-old daughter, who is aspiring to become a registered nurse.
Being able to share my time and talents with this community of people, building friendships with colleagues, teaching young minds, and being with my daughter made this medical mission trip remarkable and unforgettable.
By Ginny Maher, RN, CNM
St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital
In all settings, we can do small things with great love! Our University of Indianapolis team provided 17 surgeries, 85 exams, and health education to many on our 2013 mission trip, and St. Vincent provided medical supplies. On location, our team converted a church hall, a classroom and bus into exam rooms (sheets for privacy) . . . that’s ingenuity!
Some observations upon my return:
Love is the universal language! We experienced love from those we served. We hope our care spoke love to them, in return.
Your eye doctor is several days away and you have to get there on foot, then take a bus. And even if you could make the walk, your vision is so poor the only things you could see are light and a hand moving in front of your face.
These are some of the challenges facing the Guaymi (GWYE-MEE) Indians in Panama, many of whom suffer from cataracts. For the past five years, St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital ophthalmologist Dr. Elizabeth Groves and her colleagues Drs. Dan Robinson and Mark Henry have given the gift of sight to hundreds of Guaymi.
While typical cataract surgeries in developed countries often take less than 15 minutes, many of these surgeries among the Guaymi were taking 1.5 hours due to the advanced state of their cataracts. Most of the blind patients are now able to see for the first time in many years. Some are even seeing their own grandchildren for the first time. Dr. Groves is not the first physician with St.Vincent ties to come to Panama. Retired physician Alan Handt, MD, Nephrology/Internal Medicine, began taking mission trips to treat the Guaymi and built a medical clinic for the poor after he and his wife retired to Panama. He built the church, the buildings, and the new ORs. Before Dr. Groves and her team arrive, Dr. Handt visits the Guaymi to screen the patients.
Dr. Robinson leads the team that enables Dr. Groves to spend one week each year with the Guaymi, performing as many as 20 cataract surgeries each day. This year, Dr. Groves took 17 people with her, including the doctors, six surgical techs and seven assistants. At the end of their week-long mission trip, more than 110 cataract and other eye operations were performed. Approximately one-third of these patients were blind. Dr. Groves and her team have lost count on the number of success stories they have recorded.
“The best moment for the team was when we had an elderly patient who was blind in both eyes,” said Dr. Groves. “One patient had horrible cataracts; we weren't sure even after doing surgery how well he would see. I held out my hand on post-op day one and he told me how many fingers I was holding up. We both looked at each other with tears in our eyes. It was pretty amazing.”
Dr. Groves sees people coming in with a walking stick and two people helping them move. One of her best memories is seeing them actually get up off of the operating table and walking on their own. “The other thing I love about the experience is the way the team works together,” said Dr. Groves. “The surgical scrub nurses, doctors and engineers got all of our equipment and the OR set up in one day so that the three doctors were ready to operate. It's a pretty spectacular thing.”
When Dr. Lori Buzzetti discovered that as many as 125 pregnant mothers were in shelters over a year's period, she began to think about ways to develop a program for expectant women in need. Social workers at the St. Vincent Joshua Max Simon Primary Care Center also reported seeing several patients each month who were in need of a place to live.
So Dr. Buzzetti, a member of the teaching faculty at St. Vincent Women's Hospital’s OB/GYN Residency Program, joined with two friends in 2012 to create So Big. "The name really resonated with us," said Dr. Buzzetti. "My co-founders and I felt that the vision laid out before us was So Big that it was beyond ourselves and would be possible only through God. We also knew that God was So Big that He had His arms wrapped around our mission. So Big is also a universal phrase that most parents say to their children as they are raising them, and because our mission involves mothers and children we felt that it was a name that would help others remember us."
The So Big role includes:
Dr. Buzzetti and her co-founders have felt the Holy Spirit guiding them with each step as they lay the groundwork for their movement. “One of our awestruck moments was that we were told not to expect to hear anything from the IRS until August 2013 regarding our not-for-profit application and then in January 2013, less than three months after submitting our application, we were approved,” she said.
Because So Big is a new corporation they have many needs. The next step for So Big is a maternity home called Mountain House (coming in 2013) on the Indianapolis Northside, where mother and child can thrive, where families are strengthened, and where God’s love is allowed to transform lives. Once they have a home they will more clearly know their needs for updating and furnishing the home and staffing it. They will also need guidance in fund raising to help sustain their mission.
"The establishment of So Big is our response of gratitude for Jesus’ love and sacrifice,” said Dr. Buzzetti. “Through our relationship with Christ, we know children are a gift from God to be treasured and cared for in a loving manner."
For more information on So Big, visit their website at SoBig.org
By Maurice Henein, MD
Family Medicine faculty
More than three years after the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, signs of recovery were more noticeable during my visit to the troubled country last March. The rubble of the collapsed presidential palace has been hauled away, fewer people are living in tent cities, and more people are being relocated to new planned communities.
In the midst of this slowly recovering nation, OB/GYN Melinda Mumford and I returned to the Haitian Christian Mission this year with a group of St. Vincent Family Medicine residents and Marian University nursing students, in collaboration with the medical mission organization FAME. As we consulted, collaborated and treated, the most fulfilling part of our visit this year was in the classroom and seeing the looks on the faces of the Haitian OB/GYNs, midwives and nurses. There we trained them in a series of hands-on workshops, teaching proper techniques and procedures for OB/GYN care. We were pleased with the attendance of 25 Haitian medical personnel, many of whom did not speak English. The group was very engaged throughout the seven-hour workshop.
We were able to partner with Haitian Christian Mission to provide care at their clinic in Fond Parisien, as well as many of their partner sites around the region. The joy of praying with our patients inspired us to continue using our gifts to provide medical treatment and spiritual encouragement. Prior to our travel, we read the book When Healthcare Hurts by Greg Seager. We discussed best practice recommendations in short-term missions. Two of the main points of emphasis were to ensure patient safety as well as tapping into the local resources of the community we were serving for solutions (instead of coming up with solutions from our American perspective).
As we returned home from Haiti, tired but with a great feeling of accomplishment, the experience reinforced our desire to help connect those who want to serve the people of Haiti, and encourage our physicians and nurses to volunteer and donate their time for these patients in need.
The St. Vincent Physician Outreach Network (PON) recently received Ascension Health’s Organizational Component Award during the annual Leadership Convocation in St. Louis, Mo.
The St. Vincent PON is a unique group of medical providers led by Drs. Ingrid Mason (Internal Medicine) and Joseph Fraiz (Infectious Disease), who have brought St.Vincent physicians together around their common interest in sharing their skills with the poorest of the poor, both locally and around the world. The PON was initiated in 2006 by Dr. Malcolm Herring, a retired St. Vincent physician, in his work as the St.Vincent Health Physician Formation Leader. Today, nearly 100 doctors and medical professionals participate in this effort.
PON has collected supplies, medicines and donations for earthquake relief in Haiti and has sponsored 10 mission teams to travel there to provide medical care. It has also encouraged frequent mission trips to other countries, working with nearly 20 international relief organizations.
Volunteer efforts by these extraordinary groups of clinicians have a broad range. Key activities include: providing clinical assessments and physicals; prescribing medications; educating individuals and groups; and working alongside physicians in local communities and countries to support their needs. A particular strategy that is being explored is connecting international physicians in hospitals with St. Vincent physicians through teleconferencing technology.
Ascension Health’s Living the Mission and Values Awards were established to recognize and honor people and programs recommended by associates of Ascension Health for their dedication and commitment to our Mission and Values. Nominees are recognized those who:
St. Vincent physicians participate in many of these partnerships. Please visit these websites or contact the physician for more information.
In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah, now 26 years old, tells a powerfully gripping story. At the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By 13, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. At 16, he was removed from fighting by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at his rehabilitation center, he learned how to forgive himself, to regain his humanity, and, finally, to heal.
Dr. Cheatham is a neurosurgeon who worked at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. This is a great book about his story of how he ended up going on a mission trip and then how he fell in love with the mission field. In addition, there is also a poignant parallel story about the influence that a local Kenyan had on his life.
Dr. Stevens shares the insights he has gained into the character, power, and purposes of the Great Physician and what it means for you to follow in his footsteps.
William Easterly gives a history of the global efforts of attacking poverty.
To learn more about the Physician Outreach Network, please contact a member of our group:
Executive Director, Mission Integration
Traveled to: Haiti
Executive Administative Assistant
Suzanne Montgomery, MD
Specialty - Family Medicine
Traveled to: Haiti and Ecuador on mission trips
Ingrid Mason, MD
Specialty - Internal Medicine
Traveled to: Ecuador, Kenya, Pakistan
Traveled to: Africa and Haiti
System Communications Consultant
Marketing and Communications
Lytitia Shea, MD
Traveled to: Haiti, Louisiana Hurricane medical relief
Curt R. Ward, MD, MBA
Specialty: Family Medicine
Traveled to: Tenwek Hospital in Kenya and Lake Yojoa in Honduras
Joseph Fraiz, MD
Specialty - Infectious Disease
Traveled to: Ukraine