While visiting this area, Dr. Chris has enjoyed interacting with the students at Hopkins School of Public Health and the University of Maryland Christian Medical Society. He has enjoyed lecturing and lunch meetings two days this week. During these visits he has inspired many students.
One of these students is Sara Kennedy who introduced Dr. Chris at a lecture at Hopkins. Sara is the daughter of HFWA Foundation Board member Karen Kennedy. Sara also serves as a volunteer for the Founbdation Board. She has been a missionary to the sites of both of the HFWA partners - Anawim Home and Faith Alive Hospital many times. Sara is now pursuing a masters degree in Public Health at Hopkins. In her introduction, Sara told the audience how Dr. Chris has inspired her and explains how he greatly impacted her life.
Here is Sara's introduction:
Dr Chris Isichei is the reason I work in public health. He is the reason I’m at Hopkins. My experiences with Dr. Chris and the Faith Alive Foundation Hospital are the reason I first decided to live in Nigeria and work in HIV/AIDS. The man can be rather persuasive.
I first met Dr. Chris in 2007 as a college senior traveling to Nigeria to volunteer at the Faith Alive Hospital. What I found was a newly completed three-story building, giving shelter to constant activity. Clinicians, set up in task sharing teams of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals,were seeing hundreds of patients per day. People lined up for free medical care, ranging from emergency services to antenatal to HIV and TB. Churches and Mosques alike bussed in their pregnant women for testing and other services. Volunteers mobilized each day for home-based care, counselors sat with shaking individuals as they awaited their test results. Patients received instruction in sewing, knitting, computers and other marketable skills. A food bank was there to provide free nutrition for people in hard times. Patients and doctors took turns leading support group and fellowship meetings. And at its center of all the activity was this one soft-spoken, unassuming man.
From humble beginnings himself, Dr. Chris worked his way through medical school to a position at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital. But Dr. Chris was ever conscious of the needs of his neighbors and the inequality of health systems. Doing what he could he started providing free medical consulting and counseling in his home after work hours. Eventually, a friend lent him an office space in which to continue his work. So, in 1996, armed with an empty office, a table and a chair, Dr. Chris started the Faith Alive Foundation. Fourteen years later, after continuous trials and setbacks, periods without access to medication, a burnt clinic, destroyed building, civil unrest and violence, Dr. Chris, with the help of his amazing wife, a surgeon in her own right, and dedicated clinicians and donors, has transformed his vision into a full, yet still growing, hospital. All this is complete with satellite clinics, surgery theatres, and a leader who still knows the names and stories of the individual patients.