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Meet Dr. John Allen Houston – GEC Volunteer

“Having made a few visits, its most striking to see the clinical skill garnered by the senior ECPs, many of whom were very new to their training on my first trip.  Witnessing their clinical growth as been gratifying and inspiring.  And seeing the ex-student teach as a relative expert after a few years has been very special.”


Dr. John Allen Houston has volunteered with GEC multiple years, including in 2012, 2014, and 2016. The culmination of his volunteer experience has occurred at the Rukungri and Masaka sites. While a senior resident, John Allen wanted to use his skills and knowledge to help people on a larger scale, different from just the patient-doctor relationship. He felt that GEC would be a great fit to contribute his skills and learn more about emergency medicine in the field. What has been most rewarding part about his experience so far is witnessing the skill level increase in senior ECPs, many of whom he saw new to training on his first trip to Uganda. It has been an inspiration to see the senior ECPs go on to teach as relative experts. John Allen also has a renewed appreciation for clinical skills and teaching that occurs in a setting without diagnostic and imaging luxuries. The ECP program has allowed for emergency care to exist in communities where it once wasn’t available due to the lack of care providers. Now, with the presence of trained ECP’s, it has improved staffing in the ED and elevated the quality of care being provided.
His volunteer experience has affected his experience as a physician in the US by strengthening his clinical skills when he’s exposed to pathology not commonly seen in the US. It has also offered him the opportunity to review emergency medicine principles when asked difficult questions from students. John Allen’s most memorable experience in Uganda was when he witnessed the coordination and quick thinking of ECP’s providing care after a multi-casualty traffic accident in 2012. The ECP’s stabilized several victims and arranged a helicopter evacuation. He truly believes that without quick thinking and care the victims received, the situation could have been more tragic and morbid. John Allen is proud to support an organization with “a strategic humanitarian mission driving its sustainable and scalable model.” He states that GEC is continuously seeking to improve its operations by encouraging feedback from all those involved in its mission. He has witnessed GEC being well received by local communities and ECP’s, ultimately encouraging others to join the program and mission.

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