In addition to his role as Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s chief resident at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, Henish Bhansali, MD, a third-year resident, 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 hospital’s Residents and Fellows Diversity Initiative.
As part of the Scholars in Global Health program at Washington University School of Medicine, Bhansali spent a month working in a hospital in Bhutan, near his home country of India, in the Himalaya mountains.
Why do you feel it’s import ant to volunteer?
I believe ‘from those who have been given much, much will be expected.’ And, I have been very blessed. I give back to others because I had the most incredible parents, and I have a lovely fiancée. I am clearly loved by God, and this is my one small way to continue giving His love.
How do you support the St . Louis community?
I am currently working on a course in health literacy to be taught at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. The plan is to help nursing students better relate to their patients by visiting the homeless shelters and churches. I’m also on the board and program committee at Gateway Homeless Shelter, where we specifically address health issues of the women and children there.
Why go to Bhutan?
I chose the Bhutan location because it has been minimally influenced by modern technology, and because of the culture. It’s a happy group of people, so much so that it’s a law to be happy—not just to pursue happiness. The culture in general was like traveling back in time 50 years.
How does the hospital compare to Barnes-Jewish?
The patients in Bhutan have zero privacy and limited access to specialized care. For example, instead of one or two patients in a room, there are six to seven patients in a room. We did not have a variety of medications or specialized physicians. The hospital that I worked at had many resources—X-ray machines, MRI machines, labs, etc.— just not many specialized physicians like a cardiologist or a gastroenterologist. Most things were done by the general surgeon.