Summer 2011

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A Helping Hand in a Foreign Land

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Laura WongLast summer Laura Wong, a student at the Feinberg School of Medicine, set sail aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship to the Western Pacific. She served as a civilian volunteer in East Timor for the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Partnership 2010, a humanitarian and civic assistance mission that also visited Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.  (The mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2010 was Capt. Lisa Franchetti [J85, Nav85]. Capt. Kirk Morledge [WCAS78] served as lead chaplain, and Steven Grover [GFSM88] served as a civilian volunteer.) On the outskirts of Dili, the capital of East Timor, Wong worked in a temporary clinic where families and the elderly came for medical, dental and eye care. Wong, who has a background in public health, also gave a presentation on infectious diseases and visited a local orphanage. “It was very rewarding to meet the Timorese locals, who were very kind,” Wong said. “And as a medical student-in-training it was inspiring to watch Timorese, Canadian, Australian, Portuguese and South Korean health care professionals work side by side despite the unforeseen challenges that inevitably occur in a foreign land.”