PracticeLink Magazine

Summer 2017

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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26  S u MM e R 2017 department s Career Move Medical Missions Physician MARCIA TRAVELSTEAD Name: Wael Hakmeh, D. o ., FAC ep , emergency medicine, Three Rivers Health in Three Rivers, Michigan, and Borgess-Lee Memorial in Dowagiac, Michigan Undergraduate: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, Pennyslvania Internship: Henry Ford Hospital/Henry Ford Bi-County, Detroit Residency: Emergency Medicine Residency, St. John Hospital, Detroit W A el H AKM e H , D. o ., FAC ep , HAS S e RV e D on multiple mission trips with the Syrian American Medical Society ( sa M s ), a nonpolitical organization that does medical relief work in Syria and around the world. He has arranged his schedule as a locum tenens physician in a way that enables him to make trips several times a year. Prior to arriving in Syria, he taught an emergency medicine/critical care course to Syrian health care workers in Turkey, preparing them to treat the traumatic injuries commonly seen there. Hakmeh was honored for his volunteer work with the 2016 Physician of the Year Award. What do you like best about being a medical missions physician? Medical mission work gives me a chance to practice medicine for the reasons that many of us went into medicine: to help those who need it the most. In Syria, over 95 percent of the physicians who were once there have been imprisoned, fled the country or were killed. A lot of health care providers get killed from indiscriminate government bombings. The Syrian patients I met are some of the warmest and kindest people I've ever met, so to be able to practice medicine there is the most rewarding thing I've ever done professionally. Did you specifically request to go to Syria? Yes, a couple of my colleagues shared with me their experiences from working there — I'm very grateful to them. Several times I planned on going into Syria, but for different reasons, of the five times I planned to go, I was only able to twice. While I'm confident working there helped patients, I always left there feeling I benefit the most personally. The strength and perseverance of the people there is uplifting and difficult to put into words without doing injustice. The presence of volunteers lets them know they are not there alone and that the world has not forgotten them even though in reality, it has. So I think what I and the other physicians provided was as much of a psychological boost as any life-saving

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