At American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine, part of our mission is to ensure graduates develop attitudes of lifelong learning, compassion, and professionalism and nurture a commitment to supporting underserved communities. As a result, many AUA alumni have a deep sense of global responsibility and are passionate about assisting people and communities in need.
After the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, several AUA alumni came together to provide much-needed medical support to Vieques, Puerto Rico. One of those alumni was Dr. Pedro Torres who founded the nonprofit organization Community Health Alliance of Medical Professionals (C.H.A.M.P.) to help provide medical help and support to relief missions around the world.
Dr. Torres experienced the storm first hand while doing his medical residency in Puerto Rico. After witnessing the wreckage of Hurricane Maria, Torres gathered up volunteers with diverse backgrounds, and organized C.H.A.M.P.’s first official mission. In addition to focusing on medical care, the group also included mental health workers who organized a group therapy station for the citizens on the island.
One of those volunteers was fellow AUA alum Dr. Kirill Alekseyev who participated in two trips in 2018. A year after the storm, Alekseyev was astounded by the lack of resources that the community had and the long-term impact of the destruction.
The time spent in Puerto Rico underscored the health care disparities the community faced and what needs to be done before the next storm hits. “The island as a whole has to reconsider — instead of just putting tapes over the bruises — really reconsider what’s going to happen when the next storm comes around, because it’s not going to hold up for another storm of that magnitude,” Torres shared with Patch. “I think the whole island might be wiped out.”
While there is no shortage of work to be done, both Dr. Torres and Dr. Alekseyev are committed to the cause and dedicated to providing ongoing aid and relief.
Learn more about the important work AUA alumni are doing by viewing our most recent Alumni Magazine.
• Antigua-based disaster-assistance team says its diversity is a strength
• Brooklyn doctor returns from helping hurricane victims in Puerto Rico
• On Puerto Rican Island, Ex-NYC Doc Finds Maria’s Lingering Wrath
Photo Source: Patch