Catherine Custalow MD PhD
Liberia, West Africa:
I grew up in Liberia, West Africa, on the campus of Cuttington College where my dad was an English Professor. When I was ten we took a trip to the Sahara Desert, Mali, and Ivory Coast, and I contracted meningitis during a deadly epidemic of Meningococcal Meningitis in West Africa. A Lutheran physician, Dr. Stull saved my life, hospitalized me at Phebe Hospital, and brought me back from a nearly vegetative state. Now I am an MD/PhD and I write and edit textbooks on Emergency Department Procedures. In addition to providing good medical care for all, I believe that good books and education are among the best gifts we can give to the generations that will follow us.
As Liberia recovers from 14 years of civil war, there are only 122 doctors to treat the 3.5 million people living there. This shortage mirrors the larger challenges facing this West African country, Africa's oldest republic, which was founded by the freed American slaves. As it emerges from successive bouts of civil war, Liberia faces a dearth of everything from electricity, clean water, basic sanitation, and medical care to roads and bridges for basic transportation. The country is slowly recovering, thanks to many charities and to people like my grade school classmate, Walker Richards, of Richards Engineering who are slowly rebuilding Liberia to make her a great nation once again. We celebrate that, in the 2005 presidential election, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected Africa's first woman president.
Friends of Liberia is a non-profit organization that seeks to assist Liberia through the recovery process by supporting education, social, economic and humanitarian programs.
The Africa Mercy, run by Mercy Ships International is the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship, providing free health care, community development, agriculture and water projects, mental health programs, AIDS/HIV prevention and care to terminally ill patients in developing nations around the world, with a focus on West Africa. Since it was founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has performed more than 1.7 million services valued in excess of US $670 million and affecting more than 1.9 million people. The ship has docked at 550 ports in 70 nations, including Liberia.
Sichuan Province, China:
In 1984-85, before I went to med school, I taught English at the Chongqing Institute of Architecture and Engineering in Chongqing, China, which is in Sichuan Province. I worked with China Educational Exchange as part of a teacher exchange program between the US and China. You can read more about this program in my project description.
Please join me in supporting the charities of Friends of Liberia, Mercy Ships International and China Educational Exchange.
Thanks for your support.
Catherine B. Custalow MD PhD
Custalow MD PhD
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