3 doctors volunteer to relieve suffering
A cardiologist, an ophthalmologist and a dentist are all doing their part to provide care to the underserved.
Dr. TJ Trad, Dr. Jamal Siddiqui and Dr. Kathy Henry
Dr. TJ Trad
Born in 1981 during the Lebanese Civil War, Trad and his family struggled to access clean water, food and medical care. Nevertheless, he was driven to attain higher education and help others.
After receiving a fellowship in invasive cardiology at Tulsa’s Oklahoma State University Medical Center, Trad traveled to Haiti and his native Lebanon to provide medical care to those in need. “My experience in Haiti and Lebanon brought me to the realization that the biggest underlying barrier to basic necessities is poverty,” he says.
Trad founded CURA — which means “helping hand” in Latin — to help people remove that barrier through medical aid and permaculture. Since its inception a year ago, the Tulsa-based organization has provided medical care and has built food security programs for more than 8,000 patients in Haiti, Uganda, Tanzania and the Congo.
Dr. Jamal Siddiqui
One of the most important lessons from medical school for Siddiqui was learning how to view his patients. “When you learn to see patients as your neighbor, you don’t want to merely abate their illness with medicine,” he says. “You want to heal them.”
Siddiqui, an ophthalmologist, volunteers with Project TCMS, a program of the Tulsa County Medical Society Foundation, which provides non-emergent specialty care for uninsured low-income residents in Tulsa. Over $4 million in donated care has been provided through Project TCMS by more than 175 physicians and hospital partners.
Progressive vision problems are non-emergent but can eventually lead to blindness for some people, Siddiqui explains. “Then they’ll likely lose their job and become financially and physically dependent on someone else. Providing non-emergency medical care helps not only the person in need but the community as a whole.”
Dr. Kathy Henry
With over 15 years of experience as a general dentist in Tulsa, providing access to dental care has always been a focus for Henry. “As dental professionals, I believe we are tasked with using our talents to give back to those less fortunate,” she says.
Henry and other dentists volunteer with Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, which has provided over $11 million in treatment to more than 14,000 patients over the past decade. The two-day dental clinic offers free treatment to adults and children who are uninsured, under-insured or would normally not have access to dental care.
As the volunteer coordinator for OkMOM, Henry says she has heard countless stories that confirm volunteers benefit just as much as patients. “Every year we have new and repeat volunteers meet together to help their grateful neighbors,” Henry says. “We strive to get patients out of pain and restore their smiles so they are healthier and more confident when they leave us.”