Fairview helps send medical volunteers around the world

Employees can get help with travel expenses and supplies to contribute to global health

Dr. Bryan Jarabek and family
With support from Fairview’s Medical Missions program, volunteers from Fairview are providing medical services and education in communities around the world where access to health care is limited.

Thanks to employees and others who donate to the Fairview Foundation, the program encourages medical volunteering by helping to defray the cost of travel and medical supplies. Medical Missions staff can recommend partner organizations and connect applicants with volunteer opportunities.

Trips can be anywhere across the globe and last a week to six months or more. To date, volunteers have served in more than 50 countries.

Making long-term connections

This summer, Bryan Jarabek, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer and Hospitalist, traveled to Honduras for the tenth time to help at Loma de Luz Hospital.

“I’ve been to other countries, but I feel our family can make the biggest impact by returning to the same place year after year,” Bryan says. “We’re able to provide support and temporary respite for the hard-working team down there.”

The Jarabeks wanted to find a volunteer experience where Bryan could use his skills as a hospitalist and the rest of the family could help, too. During their two-week stay each year, Bryan provides medical care in the clinic and takes several shifts answering emergency department calls. His wife and sons help with the summer programs at the adjoining foster care facility or in the clinic.

“We’ve made long-term connections,” Bryan says. “We all leave feeling like we’ve really made a difference for our partners down there.”

Helping with technology

Bryan also provides technology support to the hospital. Two years ago he helped get a new electronic health record system set up for ordering labs, prescribing medication, and entering notes.

This year, Bryan and his family brought 30 retired laptops from Fairview — thanks to the assistance of Vice President of Infrastructure Services Don Franklin, his team, and a donation from Maxxum to clean the computer data. Now hospital staff can have their computers up and running in seconds instead of several minutes, improving patient care.

“Volunteering on a medical mission trip really changes your perspective,” Bryan says, “and I would encourage others to serve or donate so a colleague can go serve.”

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