volunteer of the month

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Jodi Cattich is a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse originally from Calgary, Canada and now residing in Littleton, Colorado. She is a mother to two amazing young adults and a wife to Paul, who supports her immensely in her quests to use nursing skills beyond the hospital.


How did you find CHI? Why CHI?


I know you hear time and time again how a trip to Haiti with CHI, Haiti has changed someone's life. Well, it changed mine too.


I had been looking for an opportunity to reach out and extend myself from my first engagement in medical mission work. I have been privileged, as a nurse in Littleton, Colorado, to be involved for nearly 9 years with Global Health Initiatives, the mission arm of the Centura Health System.  I have been working in Iquitos, Peru as a community health team leader for several trips, and this has sparked my desire to reach out and engage with other NGOs.


My friend and mentor, Dr. Richard Anstett (Boise, ID) convinced me to branch out of the work in Peru and come to a place where he has worked before: Haiti. I found myself among several of Dr. Anstett’s recruits from Idaho State University when I joined the CHI August 2017 Medical team.


What trip(s) have you gone on with CHI? What was your favorite part of the trip?


Through our August 2017 Medical Team, I was thrilled to connect with people who share a desire to make an impact in community health, save lives, come together to solve problems, and work in partnership with community members and CHI staff to address the needs of the communities there. I am in absolute awe at what CHI has accomplished in 5 years! It was a thrill to meet Casey Panko and Holly Senn and see them in action, personifying compassion and efficiency. Each team member was encouraged to stretch, reach, and lean on one another to learn. In the process, over 1600 people were served in Do Digue and Fondol. I am amazed by the leadership, logistics, and work that was done, and at the personal changes that people shared they had experienced! It’s more than amazing, actually!


But, I would be remiss if I didn't say that another favorite part of the trip was tending to people in the treatment center of the clinic. I was way outside of my comfort zone; I have never worked in the ER or similar location. I quickly recognized the support I had from Casey and Holly and the other volunteer providers. I loved teaching the student nurses and those young adult volunteers who had signed on as they consider careers in health care. What a team! I really stretched and grew from my NICU nurse role! Who do I THANK for that??


What impact does CHI have on your life?


I am definitely more compassionate and more desirous to study public health and the myriad factors that impact wellness around the globe. I am glad that the experience with CHI, Haiti was not my first foray into global medical mission work. The situation in Haiti is so complex and emotionally trying; I am glad I had another frame of reference as to how a group of like-minded medical and non-medical volunteers can care for, treat, and educate others to impact the health of their community. I want to teach and empower people to improve their own health.


Why did you choose to donate with your time or money?



I had the opportunity to meet Nola Fenelon, CHI Community Health Worker Supervisor. I so wish I had had more time with her (with a translator!) to review principles of Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) and safe transition of a newborn to life. I know I could have learned so much from her about the culture of birth in Haiti. Instead, I was able to support the birthing education and outreach she does by providing approximately 65 Clean Birthing Kits (CBKs) to be disseminated to expectant mothers. I immediately saw that 165 kits could have been used, and that I needed to do something about this. I have committed to provide, with the help of friends, 80-100 CBKs for each of the 5 medical teams in 2018.


In late August, we had a "back-to-school" event to gather supplies for CBKs on a friend's driveway. Megan McCarty (CHI Clinic Volunteer Coordinator) came for support. Since then, I have shared with many friends articles about CHI from Des Moines newspapers in April 2013. As a result, a group of 20-25 youth, seeking a service project in my church, came together to assemble about 100 kits. Then, in December, another 100 kits were assembled. About 150 more kits will be assembled for the 2018 March and June Medical Teams. I may have organized these events, but many people donated blankets and supplies. It thrills me to see the enthusiasm of these donors and volunteers. It is kind of addictive and energizing when someone asks when the next "assembly party" will be! Every kit assembled is potentially a life saved with just nine simple items!


I chose to donate my time and money because I know how simple it can be to impact change, show love for people in another part of the world, and gather a group of enthusiastic volunteers who are eager to make a difference. The CBK assembly parties are a way for people of all ages to gather and recognize that many hands and hearts can benefit others. I see this as an extension of the healing ministry of Christ, but it is also engaging in work to bring others hope and letting them (mothers, specifically) know they are loved. The teenagers I work with are learning through school and similar volunteer opportunities that they have a role, and even an obligation, to share time, talent, and energies to actively help others and engage in the global community. These CBK assembly parties may be a small way to foster community development and empower moms to improve their own and their babies’ health outcomes, but if I have learned anything from these assembly parties it is that no effort is too small.