Project HOPE medical volunteers completed the four-month Pacific Partnership 2011 health care and humanitarian assistance mission on the USS Cleveland helping to treat 38,696 people in Tonga, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.
As the final rotation of volunteers departed the USS Cleveland, sad goodbyes were heard and a few tears fell as the team made their final shore landing with the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1665.
The final leg of the mission, in the Federated States of Micronesia proved successful as the medical team was able to see 6,235 people in the eight days the medical sites where open. Volunteers Dr. Alan Jamison, Dr. Lynn Bemiller, and Dr. Joyce Cleavenger treated 1,897 Adult patients and 1,451 pediatric patients. With help from volunteer Pharmacist Lance Sateren and volunteer pharmacy students Andrew Siler and Andrea Tanzella, the pharmacy team handed out 5,820 prescriptions to people that needed it.
"I loved my time here, I can't wait to do this again. The experience allowed me to realize I could work with what I had available, and was able to improvise to offer the best care," says Siler.
Tanzella says she will definitely miss all the people she has met and treated in Micronesia and that she is very grateful for the opportunity for professional growth the experience gave her. "This experience taught me how to take charge when I needed to, and follow when the situation required. I really grew as a person."
Dr. Cleavenger talked highly about her time with Project HOPE. "I am going to miss the people I have worked with and the bonds that I have created," she says. "Our time here went by so fast, but I am sure the experience will last a lifetime.”
Volunteer Anina Terry, also on her first mission with Project HOPE adds, "I came into this volunteer experience without expectations, and left with everything…new ideas, new ways to grow with my career. I thought I was flexible before, but I really had my eyes opened.”
HOPE’s volunteer veteran, Dr. Bemiller sums up the experience with a hope that this mission to the South Pacific will accomplish more that providing care to tens of thousands. “I really hope the people we treated in these countries, when they think about Americans, they see our faces, ready to help," she says.
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