Member Making a Difference: Joel Bamford, MD

Members Making a Difference

Dermatologist Joel Bamford, MD, volunteers around the world.

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Duluth, Minn., dermatologist Joel Bamford, MD, began volunteering abroad with a Project Hope trip to Ecuador as a medical student in 1963. After taking a few years off and training as a dermatologist, he resumed traveling internationally to apply his medical training to both physician teaching and providing care to the underserved with the Christian Medical Society (CMS) in 1980. Since then, he’s completed an impressive number of overseas trips to educate foreign medical students and treat patients.

“My entire involvement with volunteer trips has been rewarding seeing the in-office medical student education, witnessing examinations, quizzing the students. I’ve seen the high quality of dermatologic education that’s available around the world. I’m glad that I’ve gotten to see a number of beautiful countries, meet new people, and interact with other doctors.”

  • Since becoming involved with international volunteerism, Dr. Bamford has completed more than a dozen teaching trips to a varied number of locales including Honduras, India, and Cameroon.
  • In addition to his overseas trips, Dr. Bamford works at The Duluth Clinic one day a week, reviews articles for a number of journals, and volunteers with local medical students at a Duluth homeless shelter.
  • On his first trip with CMS to Honduras, Dr. Bamford brought his then-12-year-old daughter, Sarah, who became a physician.
  • During trips to Cameroon and Bangalore, India, Dr. Bamford saw first-hand the difference that AIDS medicines have made in those communities. “I learned quite a bit from the internist who ran the AIDS clinic in Niger,” he said. “I was impressed how American donation of medicines had such an impact.”
  • “I’m not sure what I’ll do next,” Dr. Bamford said. “As I get closer to full retirement, I’ve been working more to contribute to evidence-based medicine.”
To nominate a physician, visit www.aad.org/membersmakingadifference.