“I believe in the saying ‘from those who have been given much, much will be expected,’” Henish Bhansali, MD, says. “And I have been very blessed. I give back to others because I had the most incredible parents, and I have a lovely wife. This is my one small way to continue giving back.”
In addition to his role as a Barnes-Jewish Hospital chief resident at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, Dr. Bhansali regularly visits with underinsured, elderly men and women to talk about chronic diseases. He explains the complications and prevention tactics related to high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease through the Residents and Fellows Diversity Initiative, which is part of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence.
After three years of working in homeless shelters, outreach efforts are expanding their reach further into the community through organizations such as the Urban League. An anesthesiology resident, Charlene M. Blake, MD, PhD, volunteers her time with the Urban League Young Professionals. As part of the Urban League’s Young Blacks Give Back community service initiative, Dr. Blake works with local young adults who participate in different volunteer opportunities, such as helping to restore homes for Lydia’s House, an organization that offers transitional housing for victims of domestic violence.
“As a resident, the hospital tends to become a microcosm because we spend much of our time here caring for patients,” says Dr. Blake. “When able, it’s refreshing and fulfilling to give of yourself in a way that makes the community stronger and safer. You remember what it means to be a person, not just a doctor; you’re stepping outside of the medical community and entering the St. Louis community as a whole. Almost every physician I know here volunteers in some manner; I am but one link in the chain that strengthens the bond between Barnes-Jewish and the St. Louis community.”