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Physician shares skills through medical missions
By: ROCHELLE A. SHENK Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
Dr. Scott Jackson is passionate about his career in medicine. He not only practices family medicine at Crossroads Family Medical Center in Brownstown, but for the past 14 years he’s also shared his medical skills with people in emerging nations through short-term medical missions.
His wife, Karen, and his family have been part of the medical missions. Their first mission was to Haiti, and they’ve made an annual visit to Haiti every since.
“Family friends and fellow DOVE Christian Fellowship Church members, Tim and Barb Aument, were doing mission work in Haiti, and invited us to visit. There was a real need for medical care, and we provided care during the time we were there,” he said.
Dr. Jackson and a medical team provided aid in Garissa, Kenya four or five years ago after a major flood hit the area. That experience prompted him to further action.
“While flying home and reflecting on what I had seen, God spoke to my heart. I realized that it was imperative to take medical teams where there was a need,” he said.
When he came home from that trip, he shifted his work schedule with the medical practice to part-time allow for more medical mission work, and he worked with DOVE Mission International to establish DOVE Medical Mission for outreach to those in other cultures.
“It made sense to affiliate with DOVE — they’re established in 20 countries, and I’m familiar with them,” he said.
Dr. Jackson serves as director of this branch of the DOVE organization, which does approximately four short-term (seven to 10- day) medical missions per year. He said that generally a medical team consists of one or two doctors, one or two pharmacists and several nurses as well as some non-medical personnel who may provide clerical/administrative assistance, organize activities for children and coordinate activities in prayer tents. He said that some of the other physicians and staff at Crossroads Family Medical Center have participated in the medical missions.
The medical mission team also takes its own medical supplies, which are acquired through various organizations that provide discounted supplies. Lions Club International provides eyeglasses, which are repaired by a local ophthalmologist, who Dr. Jackson said has also taught medical mission team members to do repairs and create basic eyeglass prescriptions in the field. The team may also be periodically augmented by a dentist.
This year, Dr. Jackson has led medical missions to Peru, Uganda, Northern Iraq and Haiti, where the Aument family has started a school.
“Since we’ve been going back every year to Haiti, we’ve established relationships with the people there. We have a long-term presence even though we’re only there for a short-term,” Dr. Jackson said.
One of DOVE’s medical mission teams was in Haiti in October 2010 a day after the cholera outbreak occurred. “I wasn’t there, but I was glad that we had a team that could provide some help. The sad part about some of the issues we face in countries like Haiti is that with proper care they can be prevented,” he said.
Dr. Jackson has traveled to Northern Iraq three times and has worked with another area physician, Dr. Robert Doe, who has worked with the Kurdish military. Dr. Jackson explained that on his most recent trip to Northern Iraq in March, there were six physicians including three surgeons. This team worked in a hospital teaching physicians through a family practice training program.
“The doctors there are trained in English, so there was no language barrier. When I’ve visited Northern Iraq, we’ve been welcomed with open arms-there was no hostility toward us as Americans,” he said.
Dr. Jackson and a medical team of 11 members including three physicians, five nurses and one pharmacist traveled to Huánuco, Peru, Sept. 6 to 15. They partnered with the Peruvian Evangelical Church to establish a clinic that served 900 patients in four days.
“I’ve never seen a local church work so closely with a mission team. They had prayed for three months, organized translators, native nurses, several prayer partners, counselors, medical specialists to help and optimized the church facilities to a wonderful God-ordained experience,” he said on his Facebook page.
Future DOVE Medical Mission trips may include travel to India and Southern Sudan. For Dr. Jackson medical mission trips are enriching a number of ways.
“On a trip we’re blessed more than what we give. Plus, it’s good to be exposed to other cultures — you get a different perspective on world events,” he said. And, he adds that you always come back appreciative for what we have in America.
He encourages anyone with medical or non-medical skills who would like to serve on a team to contact DOVE Medical Mission via e-mail at MedicalMissions@dcfi.org. More MISSION, page A3