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St. Joseph Hospital physicians go beyond borders to help medical students

01/17/2013

Eight physicians from St. Joseph Hospital are honoring several Afghan colleagues by donating to help fund medical education in Afghanistan, including three young women in Helmand Province. The ultimate goal is for the students to return to their home village to practice as the first female physicians.

For $150 per month, a student can attend medical school in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Helmand Province is a very conservative part of Afghanistan that has seen a great deal of fighting over the years. Many young men and women wish to pursue medical careers in Afghanistan as doctors and nurses but lack the educational opportunities and financial means. The donation by eight physicians from St. Joseph Hospital will allow these students to provide care where it's most needed – addressing issues such as high maternal and infant mortality rates (the infant mortality rate in Helmand Province is reportedly the highest in the world).

There are several current and/or past physicians at St. Joseph Hospital who are from Afghanistan. The donating physicians believed this was a way to recognize their Afghan colleagues while also helping to give others a chance at the same future. It also aligns with St. Joseph Health's mission of improving the health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve.

"We were directly inspired by working with colleagues at St. Joseph Hospital that were from Afghanistan. We thought, what better way to express our gratitude for their service than to contribute to ongoing medical education in this area with dire need," said Dr. Allison Burton, a hospitalist at St. Joseph Hospital. The donations are being made through Green Village Schools, a Portland, Oregon based organization that promotes education in Afghanistan.

For more information on physicians at St. Joseph Hospital, visit www.stjosepheureka.org.

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