And well-meaning people often show up to help, but are unprepared for and unfamiliar with the country and its mores. A provincial medical officer in Phuket, Thailand, spent most of the first two weeks after the tsunami "arranging transport and finding hotels and arranging translators for foreign medical teams," says Aldis. "He didn't need to do that. It's only because these people showed up and they didn't know what they were doing."
What they are doing now?
All three alumni have continued to do humanitarian relief work in the tsunami-stricken region as well as elsewhere.
"Being part of tsunami relief work in this way was deeply moving. It's why I went into medicine in the first place—to have the privilege of being there for people at the most trying, meaningful moments of their lives: birth, death, illness, injury, and healing," says Hein. "The power of being part of a community that's coming together to help one another is something we have to learn from many other people in many other countries. Some of the most resource-poor communities can teach us best."
Hein has been busy in other areas of the world, too. She shared her expertise as a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners with physicians in Mongolia, "helping them with their national medical licensure exam and recertification process [and] with scientific approaches to assessment and standardization." In 2006, she will be working with the International Rescue Committee "in Burmese refugee camps along the Thai border with my dear colleague and mentor, Jim Strickler, who was dean when I was at DMS," she says.
Atwood is in Indonesia "on a special mission to Jakarta and Aceh as director of emergency operations for the tsunami recovery in Aceh and Nias," he says. Nias is an island off the coast of North
"The power of being part of a community that's coming together to help one another is something we have to learn," says Hein. "Some of the most resource-poor communities can teach us best."
Sumatra that was hit by the tsunami and again on March 28 by an 8.7 earthquake that devastated the island, killing over 1,000 people and leaving more than 70,000 homeless. Atwood is working with UNICEF staff and government and other agency officials on the transition from an emergency response to recovery and rehabilitation. "In Aceh, we're not only focusing on the areas directly affected by the tsunami, but on the whole province—including those areas recently made accessible by the August peace accords between a separatist group and the government of Indonesia, ending a conflict that had been going on for 30 years. The peace accord was undoubtedly a positive offspring of the overwhelming interest shown by the international community in this province