Meeting of 3/26/15: ‘Doctors Without Borders’

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant 593 Columbia Turnpike East Greenbush March 12, 2015

 Attending (14): Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Debbie Rodriguez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martrinez, Carole Spencer, Rommel Tolentino.  

Guests (2): Dr. John Matthews, Ebot Tabe.

PROGRAM: Doctors Without Borders

Dr. John Matthews
Dr. John Matthews

Charlie Foote introduced Dr. John Matthews, a Columbia County anesthesiologist who has been on four assignments for Doctors Without Borders — globally known by its French name, Médecines Sans Frontières (MSF). Dr. Matthews explained that there are more than 30,000 volunteers working with MSF, about 6,000 of them doctors, the rest psychologists, specialists in water purification, pharmacists and people with many other skills. He showed a short film about the program and its beginnings. It described the variety of people and places they are trying to help in the face of civil war, natural disasters, medical epidemics, human trafficking, and wholesale human displacements. MSF has pushed pharmaceutical companies to provide needed medicines. It also is strictly non-partisan, and will treat people on both sides of armed conflicts. It also does not accept financial aid from any national government with the single exception of Ireland, and accepts organization financing only if grants are unrestricted. MSF divides the globe into five areas for staging operations. Dr. Matthews himself has served in the Middle East, Nigeria, the Gaza Strip, eastern Congo and South Sudan. He said MSF covers all expenses for travel, lodging and food for its volunteers. He will embark on a fifth assignment in the fall, but does not know at this point where he will be sent. He said he plans to retire in about four years and increase his MSF work.


“WE THE PEOPLE” — The club received a thank-you note from Keefe Watson, the Columbia High School student who is part of the “We the People” team for New York State. The club donated $1,000 — offset by $250 from Bill Dowd, $150 from April Dowd and $100 from Terry Brewer — to help underwrite expenses for the team to go to the national Constitution competition in Washington, DC. Keefe will speak to us at our May 14 meeting. We also will invite team members from Averill Park and Troy high schools to attend.

UPCOMING EVENTS — President Bill Dowd reminded members that our last formal meeting of the 2014-15 Rotary Year will be on June 25, when we hold the presidential changeover. He asked members to come up with suggestions for summer outings and for those who wished to host an informal summer picnic meeting to contact him as soon as possible to we can give President-elect Terry a leg up on summer planning.

MEETING/PROGRAM COORDINATOR NEEDED — Bill noted that for several years he has handled the coordination and scheduling of all meals, meetings and after-dinner speakers, but will step away from those roles after his presidency ends on June 30. He asked for people to step up to become more involved in our club and share the workload that makes us successful.

HOSPITAL STAY BROCHURE — Peter Brown announced that the brochure aimed at making hospital stays better for patients and families will be shared with two local senior center participants next week. After that, it will be shared with local hospitals in an attempt to get them to do a pilot trial of the product. The brochure has been endorseD by our club and it will copyright the brochure to protect it from being pirated. Anyone who would like a copy should let Peter know.

ADVERTISER REQUEST — Roberto mentioned that several businesses that purchased ads in the program for our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner requested copies of the program. Bill said if he can ascertain which advertisers had not yet received copies he would mail them copies.

NEXT MEETING: Roberto has scheduled a talk by Paul Lannon of Hippo’s on “Current Technology In Home Entertainment.”


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