By John Carruthers, staff writer, March 01, 2011
Jacksonville, Fla., dermatologist Jonathan Kantor, MD, served for a week as the only in-country dermatologist in Haiti during the post-earthquake period in 2010. Volunteering with the University of Miami/Project Medishare Field Hospital in Port Au Prince, Dr. Kantor served as the chief of medicine for the field hospital, providing medical care for the earthquake’s victims.
“Right after the earthquake, I believe that there were a lot of physicians saying that’s terrible, what can we do’? A lot of physicians and health care providers were struggling to find a way to become involved.”
- After submitting his application to serve in Haiti, Dr. Kantor had to wait while the program coordinated relief efforts. “You get all of your information in, and at that point, it’s hurry up and wait. I was actually backpacking in Joshua Tree [Calif.] when I got an e-mail asking me to come. My colleagues were able to cover for me during the time I was gone — they gave me a lot of support, which was great.”
- Dr. Kantor is also involved in melanoma detection and prevention. He believes in the ability of full body examinations to identify melanomas, and has been gathering data from his practice for contribution to the literature.
- “I know this has been said, but I really think that you gain a lot more from volunteering than you give. People may say that it’s nice you’re involved in something, but honestly, I gained far more than I gave from everything — whether it’s Haiti or anything else,” he said. “It’s all about connection with patients as people and individuals, and to me, it forms a different kind of respect. It’s a sense of understanding. I think it’s there that great things can happen in everyday practice and certainly in volunteer situations.”