volunteer of the month
Kristen Jogerst is a 28 year-old surgical resident from Dubuque, IA. She began volunteering with CHI on the January 2011 Medical Team, on the anniversary of the 2010 earthquake.
How did you find CHI? Why CHI?
I first heard about CHI through the premedical society at University of Iowa. I was in an undergraduate leadership position in the premedical society and heard about the work that Dr. Chris Buresh was doing in Haiti. I knew I wanted a large part of my medical career to include global health work around the same time I knew I wanted to be a physician. With the 2010 massive earthquake, the publicity surrounding the public health and medical care needs of Haiti substantially increased. After discussing CHI's role in the peri-earthquake Haitian healthcare system with Dr. Buresh, I knew CHI was an organization I wanted to support. As an organization dedicated to longitudinal care and supporting communities by investing in what they want/need, it aligned my reasons for choosing a career in public health and medicine: to dedicate time and resources to helping people and communities achieve a healthier and more prosperous future. CHI understands that healthcare is a human right and the fundamental belief that all human beings should be able to achieve their true potential, regardless of where they are born, is what keeps me coming back to help support CHI. Whether participating in public health research, or helping with perioperative follow-up, I plan to keep dedicating my time to CHI because of this shared vision.
What trip(s) have you gone on with CHI? What was your favorite part of the trip?
Medical Teams: January 2011, January 2012, January 2013, Januay 2014, January 2016
Surgical Teams: January 2017, January 2018
Extended-term Volunteer: January 2016, 2017
Research with Dartmouth Medical School Dept of Infectious Disease: Summer of 2013
Favorite part(s): the people and the renewed perspective
What impact does CHI have on your life?
CHI was my first exposure to global health and deserves credit for inspiring my public health/medical training thus far. Since my initial trip several years ago, the annual trips continue to serve as a helpful reminder during my busy training lifestyle to slow down and remember why I started this journey. Each trip I return with a renewed perspective and sense of purpose to keep working towards the final goal of a career in Global Surgical Training and Research. CHI keeps me focused on that goal during my medical/surgical training. CHI has also supplied me with a family and group of friends that have outlasted the trips. If anyone asks why I keep going back to Haiti, I always say it's because of the people. This includes the CHI Haitian and American staff and the regular volunteers I get to reconnect with on our annual surgical trip.
Why did you choose to donate with your time or money?
In some ways, my donation of time and money serves a selfish motive. The days of medical training, particularly in surgery, can be very long. The patients I have had the privilege of taking care of in Haiti have been so grateful. Seeing patients thankful to have received a surgery they waited months or years for and watching the data and numbers improve in the community, make the long days worth it. The other underlying reason is a sense of necessity. There is a strong sense of injustice that needs to be corrected once one witnesses the juxtaposition of our daily lives in the US and the daily lives of individuals in developing countries. Accessing basic human needs, including medical care, should not be based on whether one was lucky enough to grow up in Dubuque, IA vs Arcahaie, Haiti. Since I was lucky enough to win the jackpot and be born in the former, it feels necessary to undo this imbalance so future generations don't have to suffer just because they happened to be born in the latter.