Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet the Project HOPE Volunteers in Haiti and Colombia

As Project HOPE volunteers continue their mission in Indonesia aboard the USNS Mercy, another group of volunteers is partnering with the U.S. Navy to provide health care and education to people on the opposite side of the world, in eight counties in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Participating in Continuing Promise 2010, HOPE volunteers are currently working aboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Haiti and Colombia during their one-month mission. Three more rotations of HOPE volunteers will serve Continuing Promise 2010 alongside their Navy counterparts as the ship continues through Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname.

Since partnering with the U.S. Navy in early 2005 to provide tsunami relief, Project HOPE has participated in 18 humanitarian assistance and health education missions with nearly 1,000 HOPE volunteers. These missions have provided care to more than 400,000 people, offered health education to more than 100,000 and delivered $33 million in donated medicines and medical supplies.

Currently in Haiti and Colombia:

Vanessa Bernard is a first time HOPE volunteer, serving as a translator in Haiti and Colombia and aboard the USS Iwo Jima.

Marty Cacioppo is a first time volunteer serving as Project HOPE’s Operations Officer onboard the USS Iwo Jima, and ashore in Haiti and Colombia.

Eric Campbell, from Clarke County, Virginia is a recent graduate from Guilford College with a degree in French. A writer and photographer, Eric is volunteering as the Public Affairs Officer during his first mission with Project HOPE to Haiti and Colombia.

Matya Cooksey, a California native, works as a Nurse Practitioner in community health. Matya has travelled around the world and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. A first-time volunteer for HOPE, Matya will be serving as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Haiti and Colombia.

Susan Eilermann, a Nurse from Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee works in pediatric urgent care, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric allergy and immunology. While onboard the USS Iwo Jima, Susan is volunteering as a Women and Children’s Nurse.

Jenny Jean-Baptiste, a first time volunteer for Project HOPE is serving as a translator during Continuing Promise 2010.

Sandi McCormack is a Nurse Practitioner from Portsmouth Primary Care and Rochester Pediatrics in the state of New Hampshire. Although she is a first-time volunteer for Project HOPE, Sandi’s volunteer experience includes work in the aftermath of both hurricane Katrina and Rita and she is an active member of the medical reserve unit in the state of Maine. Onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Haiti and Colombia, Sandi is working as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Dr. Melissa Moore is a Pediatrician from Eugene, Oregon. She is a first-time Project HOPE volunteer but has international medical experience from working in Ecuador, India, Nicaragua and Saipan. While onboard the USS Iwo Jima, she is serving as a Pediatrician.

Dr. Manish Oza, an Emergency Room Physician and Medical Director for WellPoint in Silver Spring, Maryland is on his first mission with Project HOPE. Dr. Manish is the proud father of three boys Ishan, Aryan and Zahin and has been married to his wife Neha for 12 years. “I feel lucky to be a part of this mission with Project HOPE,” he said. While onboard the USS Iwo Jima in Haiti and Colombia, Dr. Manish is serving as an Emergency Room Physician.

Dr. Michael Polifka, a seasoned HOPE volunteer, currently works in the North Adams Regional Hospital in North Adams, Massachusetts. During Continuing Promise 2010, Dr. Polifka is working in Internal Medicine.

Marilyn Ringstaff, a midwife from Trion Medical Center in Trion, Georgia has over 20 years of experience providing preventative healthcare to women. On her second mission with HOPE, Marilyn is working as a Certified Nurse Midwife onboard the USS Iwo Jima and ashore in Haiti and Colombia.

Dinah Salnave is a first time HOPE volunteer, serving as a translator in Haiti and Colombia and aboard the USS Iwo Jima.

Susan Kernan Wathen from South Berwick, Maine, brings 20 years of maternal child health experience to her first volunteer mission with Project HOPE. Currently, she works as a school counselor in a building with 1400 teenagers in a high need poverty high school. “I am looking forward to this opportunity very much,” Susan says. She is serving as a Women and Children's Health Nurse during Continuing Promise 2010.

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