“I Had an Idea”
TouroCOM Grad Funds Clinic in Uganda
Estie Roth’s path to becoming a global health advocate began with a humbling realization.
“I’m not going to change the world,” explained Roth, who was a member of TouroCOM's second graduating class in 2012 and is now a hospitalist at Memorial Hospital Meremar in South Florida. “I’m not going to change the way medicine works in Uganda and I can’t save everybody.”
Her solution? Start with a small goal and focus on children’s health.
Between her first and second year in TouroCOM, Roth travelled on a medical mission to Kenya. There she said, she had an awakening about the need for global health. Shortly thereafter, she launched Shalom Israel, a small medical clinic in a remote Jewish village in Uganda.
“The more time you spend in these places, the more you realize that what we assume are basic needs in life—like shoes for example—are not basic there,” she said. “My vision was to have a local clinic that could provide a baseline of treatment for local people in that village.”
Roth funds and raises money for the clinic, which costs an estimated $600-700 a month and sees between 30-40 patients a week (the nearest other medical clinic is 20 kilometers away). The clinic also has a strong focus on ensuring the health of young children in the village.
“If you help children survive their childhood years, you give them the tools that they can do well in school, study better and get a higher education,” said Roth. “Everyone should have basic nutrition, vitamins and everyone deserves a baseline healthcare.”
Roth credits Touro’s mission of serving the underserved with reinforcing her passion.
“Touro instills the concept of charity,” said Roth. “I felt like I have to give back… If you have an idea to help or inspire people you should just go ahead and do it.”