Posted By: Amy Champagne on June 20, 2013

Labels: Disaster and Health Crisis Missions , Global Health Expertise, Volunteers

Amy Champagne, a recent graduate of the University of New Orleans and former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, is Project HOPE’s Public Affairs Officer for the first rotation of Pacific Partnership 2013, a humanitarian mission to the islands of the South Pacific orchestrated by the U.S. Navy.  Amy also recently served as the Volunteer Operations Coordinator for New Horizons 2013, a humanitarian mission focused on improving obstetric care in Belize.

I continue to be impressed by the Project HOPE volunteers participating in Pacific Partnership 2013 in Samoa.  Dr. Lynn Bemiller and Suzanne Hansen related to me recently some of the activities in which they have been involved.

Lynn Bemiller, MD

Dr. Bemiller plays two key roles for Project HOPE on the Pacific Partnership 2013 mission.  She acts as a civil-military representative, coordinating all of the civilian volunteers.   Her other role is teaching hematology.  Dr. Bemiller informed me that health education is one of Project HOPE’s primary missions.

One of the events Dr. Bemiller attended was a teaching opportunity at Oceania Medical School in Apia, the capital of Samoa.  She described having walked into a classroom filled with wooden benches, flowers blooming outside and eager students.  She was excited to be able to teach a subject she loves and see students’ eyes light up when they understood what was being taught.

The 2nd and 3rd year medical students have a curriculum based on clinical cases.  Dr. Bemiller presented a case-based lecture within her area of expertise - hematology.  She taught the students how to diagnose anemia by looking at slides of their patients’ blood under a microscope.  Her work at Oceania Medical School is in line with Project HOPE’s mission to help people help themselves.  By teaching medical students how to treat patients, we strengthen the medical community and contribute to the overall better health of the Samoan people.

“One of the lessons I learn over and over again is how dedicated physicians around the world are to their patients, and how much they can do with only a fraction of the resources we have at home,” said Dr. Bemiller.

Social Worker Suzanne Hansen

While in Samoa, Suzanne Hansen, a social worker and Project HOPE volunteer, contributed to an event at a Catholic organization called Little Sisters of the Poor.  She was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the nuns and the patients.  Suzanne spent some of her time assisting the certified nursing assistants with passing out food to everyone in need of assistance.

With their love and attention, the organization Little Sisters of the Poor, is allowing elderly Samoans’ lives to be extended, even if for just a short two months.

“Money buys a lot of things, but it cannot buy nurturing, love and care,” said Suzanne.  “I can’t help but think that it is better to be loved and cared for by this organization than to live in the nicest facility and be neglected,” Suzanne said.

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