On March 26, 2012, Aaron J. Michelfelder, MD, FAAFP, FAAMA, visited the NUHS campus to talk about the benefits of international medical missions.
In his presentation,”International Service and the Soul: Finding Your Way Through Humanity,” guest speaker Dr. Michelfelder shared his personal experience from completing over 15 international medical service trips in 14 years. Dr. Michelfelder presented examples from the countries he served, including Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica, Bolivia, Panama, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
NUHS students who attended the talk explored the psychological, physical and spiritual demands physicians and interns face when bringing their skills to other cultures. More importantly, they learned that there are deep personal rewards and internal growth for those who choose to embark on this special form of life-altering service.
Through poignant photos and life lessons, Dr. Michelfelder exhorted students that international service makes you not only a better doctor, but a better person as well. It can change how you act and view your patients when you return home. Most of all, he stressed that those who embark on international service will usually receive much more than they are able to give.
Dr. Michelfelder is an associate professor at Loyola Medical School, and an advocate for integrative medicine, and an expert in family medicine, bioethics and health policy.