Kevin Healy, an anesthesiologist who retired in 2010, didn’t get that memo. He spends a large chunk of his time traveling the world as a volunteer physician, averaging one trip per month to countries as diverse at the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Nepal, Ecuador, and Malawi. The U.S. Navy veteran — a father of two sons (both doctors themselves) — has logged seven missions with Operation of Hope.
Kevin’s interest in medical volunteerism dates back to college, when he met a priest who was a medical missionary. “I decided that someday I’d do that,” Kevin says. “And then I got accepted to medical school.” He joined the U.S. Navy, serving eight years and rising to the rank of lieutenant commander, before leaving to work and raise his family in a small Minnesota town. In 1991 he moved to Ames, Iowa, where he practiced for 20 years before relocating with his wife to Gainesville, Fla., where the sun and sand serve as a backdrop to a well-deserved rest — when he’s home, that is.
Kevin loves to say yes to Operation of Hope missions for one main reason: “Her name is [executive director] Jennifer Trubenbach. She is far and away the most personable and uniformly positive team leader I’ve ever encountered. She makes it a pleasure to go on these trips.”
Kevin continues: “As a direct result of her positive attitude she is able to bring only the finest medical providers on her missions. That’s a big benefit to the patients because they get great care from people who are happy to be there.”
And happy people are good ambassadors, he points out. “When we get to these different countries, often the locals are stunned to find out that we’re not asking for any money for our services. When they see Americans working hard for a good cause for free, it counteracts some of the negative opinions people might hold about our country.”