Meet volunteer doctor Sean Duffy

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Sean Duffy was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and received an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Notre Dame. Between his third and fourth years of medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is taking a leave of absence to volunteer at Common Hope. Sean spent the summer of his junior year at Notre Dame volunteering with us, which he says seeded his “Common Hope addiction.” He has returned to volunteer three times since, including a stint during his honeymoon with wife Mariah Quinn Duffy.

Sean works as a volunteer doctor in our Antigua medical clinic as well as one day a week at the clinic in San Rafael. In addition to seeing patients he is helping to develop a well-child program, which we hope to implement at the beginning of next year.

Sean says one of the obvious challenges of working in Guatemala is the limited resources compared to the United States and other developed countries. But he says “the integrated nature of Common Hope — being able to refer to a nutritionist, dentist, and psychologist all within the same campus, the modern clinic and pharmacy facilities, the guidance of clinic director Dr. Walter Estrada and other clinic personnel, and collaboration with other NGOs working in Antigua — helps offset many of the potential problems.”

A great reward of working at Common Hope for Sean is the variety of the patient population. “I am privileged to see patients from across the age spectrum,” says Sean, “from impossibly cute babies to sweet great-grandmothers, from patients with acute problems to patients with chronic disease.”

Sean also finds the environment of Guatemala a great place to work. “Each day, I find myself in awe of the beauty of the people and landscape of Guatemala. Sometimes I catch myself staring at Volcán de Agua for minutes at a time, as if it was the first time I’d laid eyes on it. The people are incredibly welcoming, warm, and generous, in spite of the enormous hardships that many of them face on a daily basis.”

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One Response to Meet volunteer doctor Sean Duffy

  1. Nancy Chirhart November 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Sean, Thank you for all that you are doing for the Guatemalan people. Yes, they are incredibly warm and welcoming. AND I miss being there so much I can hardly wait for next summer so that I can once again return. Be sure and say HI to Mariah for me, it was so special to get to know you both last summer. I hope that you will still be there when I return in June? Do tell María Jesus, Renato, Tamalyn, Pablo, Felix, Mario, whoa, I just realized I cannot possibly list everyone at the Project that I miss and want to say HOLA to, so just have María Jesus pass on the message to those in reception, accounting, etc. & Tamalyn to the onsite school for me where I hope she will give hugs to all the babies, toddlers, kinder-garteners for me!! Thank you Sean & Happy Thanksgiving to you newlyweds!! Warmly, Nancy Chirhart
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