Serving in Providence and Africa - Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island

 

Serving in Providence and Africa

Dr. Robert Parker, a surgeon at the Providence VA Medical Center, lectures medical and surgical residents at the Providence VAMC Dec. 15, 2017. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Kimberly DiDonato)

Dr. Robert Parker, a surgeon at the Providence VA Medical Center, lectures medical and surgical residents at the Providence VAMC Dec. 15, 2017. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Kimberly DiDonato)

By Winfield S. Danielson III, Public Affairs Officer
Monday, February 5, 2018

Service to something greater than one's self is something that sets Veterans apart.

VA employees serve those who served our country, and some serve in other ways, too, such as volunteering. Dr. Robert Parker, a surgeon at the Providence VA Medical Center, is one of them. He splits his time between Rhode Island and Kenya.

"I went to medical school because I wanted to deliver health care to populations without it," said Parker. "Medicine is a calling and I've seen how it can change the life of an individual, and entire communities, too."

Parker spent a year in Kenya, working on esophageal cancer research with Dr. Russ White, a thoracic surgeon associated with Brown University who spends the majority of his time at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.

The connection enabled Parker and his wife, Andrea, to do their surgery residency training in Providence, where Parker did some training at the VA medical center, and where he continued to work after residency.

Dr. Robert Parker, a surgeon at the Providence VA Medical Center, center, performs surgery at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert Parker)

Dr. Robert Parker, a surgeon at the Providence VA Medical Center, center, performs surgery at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert Parker)

In 2015, Parker moved to Kenya with his family to work at Tenwek, where he and his wife practice medicine and teach surgery.

"The challenges we face can be immense," said Parker, "but more incredible are the solutions we develop through partnerships with organizations from the community through global levels."

Today Parker continues to serve both Veterans at the Providence VAMC, and patients in Kenya.

"I'm grateful to Brown University and the VA hospital in Providence," Parker said. "My work at VA allows us to volunteer, training local doctors and providing care for patients in Kenya who may not otherwise have access to the care they need."

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