Mingling Healing and Religion

Laila Zomorodian, M.D. ’15

“Umbrellas are used year-round in Ethiopia — they protect from the sun as well as the rain,” says Laila Zomorodian, M.D. ’15. She discovered this while working as a SCOPE fellow in Gondar earlier this year. SCOPE (Strengthening Care Opportunities Through Partnership in Ethiopia) partners with medical and faith communities to improve health. The UW Department of Global Health, the University of Gondar, and members of churches in the U.S. and in Ethiopia participate.

It’s a good tactic; while reports estimate that Ethiopia has only 2,000 physicians, it has 500,000 Orthodox priests. Zomorodian implemented and evaluated two pilot projects to train priests and other religious leaders to refer women to local health clinics. When the training was complete, volunteers received umbrellas as a “thank you,” as shown in the photograph.

Zomorodian’s visit to Gondar was one of a number of experiences that convinced her to pursue surgery, and she’s now a resident at East Carolina University. Her goal? “I want to become a well-rounded surgeon who can serve and advocate for the poor,” she says.

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