Dr. Rebecca Morsch, MD, MPH, of Ooltewah is being honored by the American Medical Association (AMA) for her work in Papua New Guinea.
She will receive the Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine Monday in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Morsch is the director of the Community Based Health Care program of the Nazarene Health Ministry in Papua New Guinea. She is the sister of Mrs. Finley Knowles. Lori and her brother, Gary Morsch MD are accompanying her to the banquet.
Ceremonies on Monday are in conjunction with the AMA National Advocacy Conference, and AMA has flown Dr. Morsch to Washington to receive the prestigious award.
As director of the Health Care program Dr. Morsch trains community-chosen Community Health Volunteers and Village Birth Attendants in one of the United Nation’s designated Least Developed Countries. Her training curriculum focuses on prevention and provides culturally-sensitive health education about childbirth and childcare, hygiene, waste management, injury prevention and sexually transmitted diseases. Dr. Morsch also helped organize Papua New Guinea’s array of community-based health organizations into the Effective Development Empowering the Nation (EDEN) Network. After working as a social worker for more than 15 years, Dr. Morsch changed course and entered medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and went on to earn a Masters of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University. By treating, educating and counseling patients beyond the U.S. border, her work is having a positive impact on health care in the global arena.
Dr. Morsch in learning of the honor said, “I felt shocked, honored, humbled and unworthy, for I knew that every doctor at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital was more worthy of the award than I was, not to mention probably thousands of other missionary doctors around the world. Now I feel that this award is for everyone that makes Community Based Health Care (CBHC) happen and keeps me on the field, but mostly an acknowledgement of what happens when God uses ordinary people.
“Travel is a huge challenge. Fuel is expensive, and our vehicle gets a beating on the back roads. Sometimes we have to take a boat, and/or fly to get near our destinations. Finding team members who are healthy and willing to make the hikes, stay in villages for weeks at a time, and have the passion and ability to be CBHC trainers is a challenge. The lack of infrastructure and communication ability with many of the communities is challenging, to say the least."