William Pennant, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, has received the 2014 Compassion in Action International Health Leadership Award from the Department of Family Medicine.
The award is presented to a third- or fourth-year medical student who developed, implemented or improved the health care of a disadvantaged or underserved community internationally.
Pennant, as co-president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), partnered with the Vietnam Health Project, a UW-Madison undergraduate group, and traveled to Hai An, Vietnam. APAMSA focused on treating people at the local clinic, while the Vietnam Health Project taught orphans at the local school.
Pennant served as the leader of the medical mission, recruiting the team physician, three medical students, and three undergraduate students. He also secured a donation of more than 15,000 pills of 12 different types of medications, ensured proper training and protection of leaders and students, coordinated the clinic’s activities and served as the representative for the entire mission team.
Pennant, a third-year medical student, focuses his studies on Asian health issues.
“Americans often forget there are people in Asia who, despite the relative wealth of their country, are unable to afford health care,” Pennant said. “As many immigrants from nations across Asia settle in the U.S., and particularly in Wisconsin, it is imperative for health professionals to have an understanding of the health care cultures from which many of these people come.”
The team saw more than 1,200 patients during the two-week trip, including patients with atrial fibrillation, Bell’s palsy and impetigo, and provided assistance to patients and their families.
The medical mission to the same clinic in Vietnam continues this year.