When Nancy Alexis, MD, a Family Medicine Physician with Fairview Clinics— Chisago Lakes, started her career, she knew she wanted to volunteer as a doctor abroad, but for Nancy leaving job and her home for an extended amount of time wasn’t possible.
Nancy decided if she served for two weeks every year, for 25, years she could help people across the world, and still work at Fairview Lakes Medical Center.
Nancy has volunteered as a medical missionary in 16 different countries: Haiti, Tanzania, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Ukraine, Uruguay, India, China, Philippines, Vietnam and Peru. Fairview’s short term medical missions program made her goal possible, and now Nancy is Fairview’s Medical Missions Committee Chair. As the committee chair, Nancy encourages Fairview employees, clinicians, volunteers, retirees and physician associates to apply for Fairview’s Medical Missions grant funding.
“I’m not doing major surgery on my trips, but people will walk 10 to 12 hours to get to a clinic, and they will stand for 10 to 12 hours for just 10 minutes of your time,” says Nancy. “What tends to be overwhelming in a lot of these places is just the gratitude. People don’t have much, and they are profoundly grateful just to be given medications.”
The Fairview Foundation offers medical missions funds to encourage medically-focused volunteering across the globe and has already helped send volunteers to 52 different countries. Learn more about the medical mission program at Fairview.
Nancy says there are many advantages to short medical missions.
“It is going to be exotic, it is going to be different and it’s going to be inspiring, and if for some reason you just don’t like it, you are coming back in a week,” says Nancy.