Danielle Piquette 2015-07-31 00:22:18
”As President Obama said, we have to stop the epidemic of Ebola in West Africa so that we ourselves are protected” said Boris Lushniak, MD, a prominent dermatologist and the current Deputy Surgeon General of the United States. Last October, the U.S. Public Health Service Commissions Corps. set up a mission to assist patients and health care workers with Ebola in the West African country of Liberia. Dr. Lushniak recently granted an exclusive interview to Aspire to share his experience there, and how the progress made in Liberia affects the health of Americans, and the world around. “When I transitioned out of being the Acting Surgeon General and back to the Deputy Surgeon General role, I actually requested to be sent so I could be part of it, and contribute to the public health mission.” When Dr. Lushniak (third from right in above photo) first arrived in Liberia, he said there was no doubt that the epidemic was still in full force. Some progress had been made by the time he got there at the end of January, but there was still much to be done during his command, which was completed on March 6. Overall, the most impactful initiations, he said, were the many progressive steps being taken to prevent the virus from spreading any farther. Washing stations were set up at nearly every public facility, and surveillance measures had been established to take the temperature of every person who entered those facilities. By the time Dr. Lushniak completed his two month rotation there, he said there were no more patients in the hospital unit he had initially been working at in Liberia’s capital (Monrovia). One of the most crucial aspects that Dr. Lushniak emphasized was the universal importance of volunteering. “I was one of the responders at the World Trade Center, the anthrax investigations in Washington, D.C., and one of the lead responders in Hurricane Katrina, but for me, this was the culmination of my career path—to be a part of the effort to stop a major epidemic in West Africa. What I realized, first and foremost, was how important it is to help out others and help out the world. President Obama made it very apparent from the get-go that we were there to assist and protect our homeland by first tackling the battle in West Africa, and I was honored to be a part of that response.” He went on to say that “…the world needs a lot of help, and whether we’re talking about chronic diseases that exist across the planet, or disease outbreaks such as this, we have a lot of expertise in the United States, and there are many parts of the world where that expertise is not readily available.” When asked why others should get involved, he stated: “There has to be reliance on us to think of our community as a global community, and what happens in West Africa ultimately affects us here. Therefore, I encourage others to always think about volunteerism, and to take on the challenges of helping people in different countries, because ultimately, that help extends to you and me.”
Published by American Academy Of Dermatology. View All Articles.