When did you first start volunteering?
“I’ve been volunteering since my childhood. One of my first recollections of volunteering was visiting a nearby nursing home with other youth in my church to sing songs and visit with the nursing home residents.”
With which organizations are you most involved?
“I regularly volunteer as a physician with the Open Door Community clinic, and I have worked with the national CARE free clinic organization. I have organized and participated in several community health fairs. I also enjoy speaking to community audiences about ways to improve health. For non-health related activities, I volunteer with the Atlanta Food Bank and Hands On Atlanta.”
Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?
“Volunteering is important because it can strengthen communities and hopefully impact the lives of those with specific needs. Even more importantly, perhaps, volunteering is an important way to connect with others.”
How has volunteering affected you personally?
“As a first-generation college graduate, I deeply identify with those who have less. Though resources were occasionally limited in my childhood, I was instilled with an understanding of the importance of giving back. This tradition of volunteerism transformed my own life perhaps as much as [the lives of] those I served. It provided an important perspective on the role I could potentially have in the lives of others and an appreciation of my own advantages.”
Has the DOM helped you find volunteer opportunities? Which events have you enjoyed most?
“I have enjoyed working in the Open Door clinic. It’s been a wonderful way to connect with the community and to meet and mentor students that are interested and enthusiastic to volunteer.”
Dr. Bussey-Jones is an associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and co-director of the Primary Care Center at Grady Memorial Hospital.