Danielle Tokarz 2017-08-11 00:31:33
The Academy’s Members Making a Difference Award honors outstanding volunteer commitments by dermatologists. Each issue, Aspire highlights quarterly winners of this prestigious award. Gail Goldstein, MD Dermatologists help people in so many different ways. As medical doctors, they deal with the clinical side of providing medicine, but they also deal with the personal side. It takes a special person to not only provide the medical care that a patient requires, but also give the support and encouragement that human beings need to get through difficult times. This is especially important for patients who lack the means to accessible treatment, as their battles to overcome disease are much harder without the essential resources that so many others have. Gail Goldstein, MD, winner of the AAD’s Members Making a Difference Award, encapsulates these qualities and more as an avid volunteer and physician at the Annapolis Dermatology Center in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Goldstein feels that, “Volunteering my medical knowledge is one of my favorite parts of being a doctor.” And that is no understatement. During recent years, Dr. Goldstein has participated extensively in various philanthropic missions so she can dedicate her time and experience to those who need it most around the globe. In 2014, Dr. Goldstein was the first dermatologist in 22 years to volunteer in rural Nepal for over three weeks with Himalayan Healthcare. Shortly after that, she — along with her husband Andrew, a gynecologist, and their three daughters — took off for a 10-month volunteer trip to provide medical volunteer work with nine different international NGOs and charities. Throughout that time, they spent over 600 hours (each) dedicated to giving quality patient care to underserved communities. They delivered dermatological care, cervical cancer screenings, and primary medical services to low-income communities in Ecuador, Peru, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Dr. Goldstein specified that, “We served the marginalized populations of the Ecuadorian Amazon basin, the Peruvian mountainous villages, the Belen area of Iquitos, the Burmese refugees in Northern Thailand, school children and orphanages in Vietnam and Cambodia, and Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) in Hue, Vietnam….and sponsored the first-ever CME event for dermatology at the Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacology.” At times, the areas they volunteered in were so remote that they had to travel by canoe and carry generators and tarps to construct a clinic. Although they all spoke Spanish fluently, they often needed translators to help between Amazonian and Quetchua dialects. In other areas, they worked in city hospitals, often in conditions that were very different from home, but continued to give lectures and train other physicians and health care providers. Dr. Goldstein went on to say, “Our work was focused on the underserved. Often, ethnic minorities are marginalized and unable to access government services. We self-funded all of our volunteer missions (with the exception of an AAD travel grant for HVO) and we continue to support many of the charities we worked with.” Since then, Dr. Goldstein and her family have carried on their philanthropic work with an organization called Timmy Global to travel to the Dominican Republic and volunteer their time with Haitian refugees, as well as planned medical brigades to China and Peru later this year. As Dr. Goldstein knows, volunteering can be an extremely rewarding experience. “Particularly as a dermatologist, I am often able to help patients that have never had the benefits of specialist consultation. Many useful dermatology medications are available at low cost internationally, and it was particularly rewarding to be able to diagnose patients and immediately give them the necessary medication they so desperately needed. Engaging my entire family in the experience was immensely rewarding for me as a parent, and my daughters have used their experience to engage their classmates in a new chapter of Timmy Global health at their schools. We continue to look for ways to help, both in our community and internationally.” For more information about the Members Making a Difference award, please visit: www.aad.org/makeadifference
Published by American Academy Of Dermatology. View All Articles.