Greg Dunham, M.D., Shannon Clinic OB/GYN, received the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Award for International Service at the College’s annual meeting.
The award is given to a fellow of the college who is currently, or was currently, involved in a community program designed to help underserved patient populations outside the geographical confines of the college. Nominations for the award were sent in from all over the country.
Since 2007, Dr. Dunham and a team of volunteers have helped meet the physical and psychological needs of the people of Itu, Brazil. He helped establish CURA (Cuidado, Respeito, Amor, or Care, Respect, Love) Campanha Médica (Medical Campaign). His collaborative efforts with local officials and healthcare providers have resulted in recognition as a primary care clinic within the Brazilian Health Care System of Itu.
“This campaign started like any other mission— to help those that need help,” Dr. Dunham said. “There is nowhere near enough money or medical personnel in the Brazilian healthcare system to assist the need of the people. In the majority of cases, tests are used in place of an actual doctor and the patients wait several months for results. So, we asked what we could do to help and it has grown from there.”
In July, the team administered care to more than 950 patients in the areas of gynecology, psychology and counseling, dentistry, cardiology, internal and family medicine, physical therapy, optometry and ophthalmology, laboratory and ultrasound testing, and otolaryngology. Additionally, patients attending the clinic are taught the relationship between hygiene and health, and information is provided to promote dental health, improvements in nutrition and to better understand all aspects of health. As growth continues, Dr. Dunham anticipates the addition of even more capabilities.
“We are ministering to those who are suffering,” Dr. Dunham said. “All care is provided with the understanding that Jesus Christ is the Great Physician, and it is the intent of our efforts that the relief of physical suffering will show forth the love of God and let the people know that He is the only true source of healing. All participants are expected to be the embodiment of the hands, feet and heart of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Dunham is currently waiting for CURA to be approved for not-for-profit status. With additional fundraising, he also hopes to obtain a bus to increase the ability to see more dental and eye patients. Next summer, CURA we will be moving to a completely new neighborhood with the anticipation of new challenges and opportunities. For more information, visit www.curabrazil.org.