By Denisse Pareja
Last Wednesday, May 1st, 2019, our Co-Founder and current Chairman, Dr. John Kahler was honored as 2019 American Red Cross Disaster Services Hero. To learn that one of our members received such a recognition, is an inspiration to all of us!
Receiving such award, reflects the humanitarian work Dr. Kahler have done through these years.
As a pediatrician in Chicago, Dr. Kahler has dedicated his professional life in providing healthcare services to children. Since 2013, learning the effects of the chemical attacks in Ghouta, Syria, his perspective on humanitarian aid changed. He felt the need to help abroad and travelled to Greece to provide his services to refugees.
Continue with his commitment to help the most in need, Dr. Kahler’s work in humanitarian crisis is unique. He has been in different missions in different countries around the globe, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Haiti, Mexico, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Tanzania, and Honduras.
While in Greece, he met Dr. Zaher Sahloul and since then, MedGlobal concept came to live. MedGlobal was co-founded in 2017. Both agreed that MedGlobal’s core value is to serve to a world without healthcare disparities.
His commitment to keep MedGlobal’s core value reflects when provides healthcare services to patients who live in areas of humanitarian crisis. Through MedGlobal, he has done so in several countries such as Yemen, Lebanon, Greece, and Colombia.
As he truly believes in eliminating health disparities, he currently serves as the Chairman of MedGlobal. As a Chairman, he works in MedGlobal to continue to expand its core value and continue to provide healthcare services to the most in need on a bigger scale. Just in 2018, MedGlobal has provided services in 11 countries such as Lebanon, Bangladesh, Greece, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, USA, Mexico, and Colombia.
Moved by the Venezuelan migration crisis, he travelled to the Colombian Caribbean region and to Cucuta, the Colombian border city, to learn more about the healthcare needs of Venezuelan migrants. He was impressed to learn diseases who are usually covered on a basic healthcare system, such as prenatal care or infectious diseases are prevalent on this population. Diseases reported by the Colombian Ministry of Health are previously eradicated diseases, malnutrition in children, and AIDS cases.
Learning the complex Venezuelan situation, he knows the impact on healthcare is real and that Venezuelan migrants and refugees are in need of healthcare services. Continuing his commitment to this mission, he currently leads MedGlobal Medical Mission in Colombia and he just came back from inaugurating our program in Cucuta, Colombia on April 24, 2019.
Working with him at MedGlobal, we recognize his solidarity, dedication, and willingness to provide quality healthcare services to the most in need. Dr. Kahler is a true inspiration and we are very grateful to have him as part of MedGlobal leadership. #RedCrossHeroes #MedGlobalHeroes
Get to know Dr. Kahler, and read this short story from one of his trips to Lebanon:
“We were in a refugee camp in the Arsal region of Lebanon. It was the end of a very busy day. This is at the Syria-Lebanon border. A 10-year-old girl, Nour, came in to see me by herself. Thru the translator, I found out that she had been at this camp for 5 years. Her family had escaped Homs. Her mom and grandparents came but her dad was still in Syria and they hadn’t heard from him in a long time. Her eye had been burned by her uncle in their tent a couple of days before we arrived, and it still hurt. My examination was normal but because we had an eye doctor with us, I brought her to the other tent which was perhaps 200 meters away. On our way to that tent, there was a scuffle going on between several boys and Nour put her hand in mine as we walked. Luckily, her eye was fine and as we walked back, she again put her hand in mine for safety as we walked. When we returned to my clinical area I asked her if she would like me to come with her to her tent and talk to her mother about her eye. She said that she could do it on her own. She reminded me of one of my granddaughters and I asked her if we could take a picture together. When we stood to have it taken, she leaned her head against my arm. For some reason, this simple intimacy touched me, and I teared up. When she turned to leave, she looked at me and saw those tears. With all the empathy a 10 year could muster she said, “don’t worry, it will be alright.”. The patient taking care of the caregiver. This is resilience and large “H” hope. The Hope of Faith, Hope and Charity. This child was one who will lead someday. May Allah (peace be upon Him) guard her always.”