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OUR VISION
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While we are focused on serving the poor, sick and hungry, it has been overwhelming to see the changes that occur in our volunteers as they develop a greater global consciousness and desire to serve others. It is our belief that selfless acts of service will yield more humanistic doctors and altruistic members of the global community.

The success of our organization depends on active participation by both our student and alumni members. This aspect is what makes us different from most large international medical service organizations. We openly search for volunteers who have a desire to pursue service in their lives. Medical students often say, “I want to help people.” Physicians for Humanity provides opportunities for students and doctors to truly fulfill this goal.

We have made our vision clear to our new members. Our desire to continue giving back as professionals is well understood by participants (though not mandatory).

OUR STORY

Physicians for humanity, simply stated, is a community of socially and globally concerned individuals dedicated to a just practice of medicine that serves those most in need with love and compassion. As an evolving entity, we are currently most committed to raising the awareness of medical students to the plights of poverty both here in the U.S. and abroad. It is our hope that through service and direct witness to the various forms of suffering that exist in our world, future physicians for humanity will be molded.

As of 2004, it has been estimated that more than ½ of the world’s population, greater than 3 billion people, live on less than $2.00 per day. In the United States, anywhere from 13- 22% of the population live in poverty and it is here that the world’s wealth is most concentrated. Glancing at such statistics, perhaps our challenge is not at first clear. Who are these millions and billions of people? Do we care about these figures as future physicians? Those committed to PFH believe that the most important task in fulfilling our vocation to medicine is to first see the people behind these statistics and to hear and learn from their stories. It is in building relationships with the one or two who represent these millions and billions that we understand a career of service beginning with mutual understanding, conversation and reciprocity.

In places like Duran, Ecuador these statistics are made very real. In a city of nearly 500,000, most roads are unpaved, most homes are one room cane shacks, and running water does not exist. Daily meals consist of rice, vegetables and meat purchased at open air markets and corner stores. Electricity is stolen and telephone lines are virtually non-existent. There are too few jobs and too many people, and the numbers are consistently growing. There is Dengue fever, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, Malaria and AIDS. There are too many children with diarrhea and respiratory problems with too few hospitals and clinics to treat them. And across the bridge from Duran, there are million dollar homes, gated communities, shopping malls and well-equipped hospitals.

Our hope is that a trip to a place like Duran, Ecuador will challenge a student to ask many questions. Why do people live in poverty? How can such poverty coexist in a world with extreme wealth? How does poverty contribute to illness? How do I live and work in this same world? What will be my role as a physician for humanity and how will I use my experience to best serve others? We believe that the answers to these life-long questions can best be discovered while walking with others, immersed in the lives we are learning to heal.

Physicians for humanity began with one person asking these questions. It has now blossomed because these questions were voiced aloud and people began to listen. As future physicians, it is our responsibility to accept the gifts that we have been given and to lead lives that will be examples for others. Commitment to physicians for humanity is not about preparing for a summer trip or rotation, but rather a life-long journey of service beginning, perhaps, with an experience abroad. It is our expectation that any student part of the PFH community will commit to our mission and become an example to others as stories, experiences and new passions are shared.


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