Physician and Advanced Practitioner Honored for International Mission Work and Advocacy
Alpharetta, Ga., Oct. 24, 2018—The 2018 MedicalMissions.org Physician and Advanced Practitioner of the Year winners have both devoted their professional lives to caring for those through medical mission work, both in the United States and internationally.
LocumTenens.com announced today that Dr. Theodore Belanger, a spine surgeon from Rockwall, Texas, and physician assistant Nanette Laufik from Hillsboro, Oregon, are the 2018 MedicalMissions.org Physician and Advanced Practitioner of the year, respectively.
Since 2010, Dr. Theodore Belanger has been a driving force behind the Conscience International Ethiopia Project, which he formed with a fellow orthopedic surgeon and through a partnership with local physicians in Ethiopia. The purpose of this mission is to provide complex surgical spine care to the indigent people of Ethiopia. Since its inception, Dr. Belanger’s team performed more than 125 spinal surgeries, free of charge, through this mission.
“Medical mission work brings me back to the purest form of healthcare, providing aid to the suffering without concerns like declining reimbursement, on-call obligations, competition with others, politics, bureaucracy and customer dissatisfaction posts on the internet clouding the joy of providing medical care,” says Dr. Belanger.
Nanette Laufik’s life of mission work began in 1999 in Shkoder, Albania during the Kosavar refugee crisis. She has since served in Honduras, Afghanistan, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, coastal Indonesia on the USS Mercy, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Vietnam. In the U.S., she assisted in Gulfport, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and worked in Inupiaq villages in Alaska in the Arctic Circle.
“My involvement in medical missions is a way to show thanks for what I've been granted in life and to let people in other countries know the world hasn't forgotten them, even if what we can do is so limited,” Nanette reflects.
Nanette is currently employed part-time at Virginia Garcia Memorial Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center, near Portland, Oregon. The clinic serves a low-income population, with special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farmworkers. She also teaches part-time at Pacific University's Physician Assistant program, where she often lectures about international relief work and mentors students with goals of working overseas.
“Dr. Theodore Belanger and Nanette Laufik are true servant leaders,” said Chris Franklin, president of LocumTenens.com. “We are honored and humbled to present these selfless and inspiring clinicians the Physician and Advanced Practitioner of the Year Awards.”
Every day, healthcare volunteers in the United States and around the world help the underserved receive critically-needed care through medical missions work. In 2012, LocumTenens.com began recognizing physicians for their charitable work by presenting the MedicalMissions.org Physician of the Year Award. Two honorees are selected each year, with advanced practitioners now recognized as well. As part of the award, LocumTenens.com will donate to Conscience International Ethiopia Project behalf of Dr. Belanger and to International Rescue Committee on behalf of Nanette Laufik.
LocumTenens.com is committed to supporting medical missions work and increasing healthcare access in underserved areas, sponsoring and recruiting physicians and advanced practitioners for several medical brigades annually, and by operating the website medicalmissions.org, which helps connect trained medical volunteers with organizations sponsoring medical missions all over the world. Organizations who sponsor missions and volunteers seeking volunteer opportunities can register for free at http://medicalmissions.org/.
LocumTenens.com specializes in the temporary placement of physicians, CRNAs, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at healthcare facilities across the U.S. As the industry’s most-visited job board, LocumTenens.com helps healthcare organizations connect with the professionals they need to ensure patients have access to quality care. Founded in 1995, LocumTenens.com is a Jackson Healthcare company, the third largest healthcare staffing company in the U.S., serving more than seven million patients in over 2,400 healthcare facilities. Learn more at http://www.locumtenens.com/about.
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