July 21, 2016 | by The Polyclinic

Travel can bring offer new insights, experiences and memories. For some Polyclinic providers, travel creates opportunities to help others. Read their takeaways and experiences from providing medical care around the world.


Katherine Shields, MA, Partnership in Health

Katherine Shields helped Syrian refugees in Jordan through Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM). She traveled to different cities and refugee camps across Jordan, treating 500 – 700 patients a day, taking vitals and connecting patients with doctors. She even served in a dental assistant role where she learned to mix products for fillings and get lidocaine injections ready for use. Serving abroad can be challenging, she says, but if you have the passion, it's important to take new opportunities.

Takeaway: “If you’re truly interested in medical missions, don’t say no. Your compassion and empathy will traverse language barriers and a good senses of humor can help break the ice!”

Katherine provides dental care to a patient in Jordan (Photo courtesy of Salaam Cultural Museum).


Shannon Kelley, MSN, RN, Surgery Center

Shannon Kelley served in a hospital for 10 months in Dubai, often working 50 hour weeks. Her daily work intersected with health care professionals from across the world as 85 percent of the workforce in the UAE are internationals.

Together they cared for patients from across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Many of these patients suffer from obesity-related complications. She also updated Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCIA) guidelines for the hospital.

Her time in Dubai helped her grow as a health care professional, skillset and as a person.

Takeaway: “Do your research on the culture and country before heading abroad. It will really help you engage with the locals and understand customs that are different from what we know.”


Marti Liddell, MD, Internal Medicine

Dr. Liddell traveled to Papua New Guinea, where she spent three weeks helping educate and care for people in the Yopno-Uruwa-Som (YUS) Conservation Area through Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) and the Woodland Park Zoo. Along with her husband and three other physicians, Dr. Liddell taught basic medical diagnosis and treatment to local health care workers. She provided care to about 200 patients, many of whom had walked days just to be examined by a doctor.

Dr. Liddell holds a health education seminar for locals in the YUS Conservation area.

To reach patients in remote areas of Papa New Guinea, Dr. Liddell hiked to some of the remote towns. It was in these areas that she witnessed the beauty of the country.

Takeaway: “This trip represented three things; passion, dedication and hope. It began with the passion of protecting the Tree Kangaroo. It then evolved into the dedication of a community to conserve their entire ecosystem and continues with ongoing hope for improved health care and education.”