It may be hard to believe that a full time, practicing physician could have time for work outside of the office. But as it turns out, some of Atlanta’s top physicians are donating their time and medical expertise for a variety of causes. They go above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities to provide healthcare to individuals who oftentimes need it most. Read on to learn more about the big ways these doctors are giving back to the communities they serve.
Dr. Eric L. Brown,
Emory University – Midtown, Cobb Wellstar
Traveling the world to support women in need of prenatal care
As a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist at both Emory University Hospital in Midtown and Cobb Wellstar in Austell, Dr. Eric Brown is at the forefront of women’s health. A huge advocate of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Brown has traveled the world to assist communities in decreasing the mortality rate due to pregnancies and pregnancy-related complications, specifically those related to improper abortions and lack of access to prenatal care.
To further address WHO’s goals, Dr. Brown has provided prenatal care, family planning, and contraception services to decrease the number of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies in communities here in the United States as well as indigent communities in Latin America. “It is a sad reality - both in the U.S. and in third world countries - that if a woman is poor and has an unplanned pregnancy, it is almost assured that both she and her child are destined for a lifetime of poverty,” he says. “But we can do things to help. I’m just trying to do that one person at a time.”
In 1997, the bilingual Dr. Brown established El Centro Medico with the goal of supporting indigent Latino women in need of healthcare. Here, women pay based on a sliding scale fee or in many cases, not at all. “In a third world country, $1000 can change the lives of hundreds of women,” he says. “When you see what a small monetary amount can do, it encourages you to do more. Once you get involved, it becomes a passion – to actually change people’s lives.”
As the volunteer medical director for Cobb Pregnancy Services (CPS) in Marietta, Dr. Brown assists in providing childbirth and parenting educational classes, ultrasounds, counseling, baby food and supplies to soon-to-be and new parents. On a statewide level, he operates Medi-Sense Inc., a program that provides free services to women in need of sterilization and tubal ligation services.
Ultimately, Dr. Brown hopes to raise more awareness surrounding women’s healthcare in the U.S. and abroad. “One of the best ways to decrease maternal mortality rate is to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies,” he says. “I want to get to a point where every pregnancy is considered precious.”
For more information, visit www.who.int
Dr. John P. Connors,
John Connors MD Cosmetic Plastic Surgery
Providing cosmetic and reconstructive surgery to children with birth defects and disfiguring scars
John P. Connors, III, MD FACS is a Harvard trained, double board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast surgery, body contouring, and cosmetic nose surgery. After spending time at Boston’s Shriners Burn Hospital treating young burn victims, he became inspired to use his surgical expertise to help people with disfiguring scars. The result is Emergence Surgical Gifts, Inc., a nonprofit organization he founded to offer free reconstructive surgery to children who suffer from congenital birth defects and post-traumatic injuries.
“Medicine, healthcare and community service have been a huge part of my life,” he says. “Emergence Surgical Gifts has afforded me the opportunity to serve a specific medical community, children with reconstructive needs that have difficult access to receiving expedited care.”
Recently featured on Channel 11 Alive News, Emergence Surgical Gifts, Inc. has grown tremendously over the last year with the help of volunteer physicians, nurses, operating room personnel and non-medical staff. In addition to providing comprehensive care for the children they serve, Emergence also offers accommodations for family members, prescription medications, and post-operative therapy and rehabilitation.
Emergence welcomes new patients as well as contributions so it can continue to help more deserving children. “Our ultimate goal is to have a full operating schedule where we can provide surgeries to children at least one full Saturday per month,” Dr. Connors says. “There are so many organizations that help children outside of our country, however, there is a real need for medical assistance within our own country, and in our own backyard here in Atlanta.”
For more information, visit www.emergencesurgicalgifts.org
Dr. Mike Majmundar,
Northside Cosmetic Surgery
Serving victims of facial trauma in the Forsyth community and beyond
Dr. Mike Majmundar is the man behind Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery, where he specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head and neck. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities as a plastic surgeon, Dr. Majmundar also provides facial trauma care to patients at North Fulton Hospital and Northside Hospital.
“As an Atlanta native, I’ve always felt a close connection to the community,” he says. “I am fortunate to be able to perform complex facial surgical procedures and donate that skill to my community. Providing care for individuals with traumatic injuries, patients with facial cancers, or to domestic violence victims is very gratifying.”
For the last four years, Dr. Majmundar and the team at Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery have offered their services to individuals in these emergency rooms, regardless of their ability to pay. They care for victims of domestic violence, motor vehicle accidents, recreational or athletic injuries, animal bites, and penetrating trauma like gun shot wounds or stabbings.
Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery founded the annual North Fulton Skin Cancer Screening and Health Fair, which provides free full body skin cancer screenings, blood pressure screenings, and vision and hearing screenings to the Roswell community each May. In 2011, they had over 200 participants and five physicians providing skin cancer screenings.
Among the many charities close to Dr. Majmundar’s heart is a national program called FACE to FACE, which provides free care to abused women with facial trauma as a result of domestic violence. The practice also supported the Power of Pink’s breast cancer awareness event in Roswell this year by donating complimentary services to raise money for the organization. In past years they have done the same for the Lymphoma and Leukemia society, the Friedrich’s Ataxia society, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Additionally, Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery provides free head and neck cancer screenings to the Forsyth community and works with Northside Hospital to provide free skin cancer screenings. “The most rewarding part of working with local hospitals is simply knowing that I contributed to the community that my family and I live in,” Dr. Majmundar says.
Dr. Marshall L. Nash, FAHA, CPI,
DeKalb Neurology Associates
Finding a cure for neurological diseases, one patient at a time
Dr. Marshall Nash is the definition of a multi-tasking physician. In addition to his role as managing partner of DeKalb Neurology Associates, LLC, he is CEO of NeuroStudies.net, director of stroke and neuroscience research at Gwinnett Medical Center, a certified physician investigator (CPI), a fellow of the American Heart Association and a member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. To top it off, he is also one of just a few private practice neurologists worldwide who devotes nearly 100 percent of his clinical time to research.
As an expert consultant for many academic and pharmaceutical research projects, Dr. Nash has participated in over 100 major clinical trials focused on new treatments for neurological diseases and conditions. Today he is one of the leading enrollers in studies for stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, epilepsy and neuropathy. “My passion comes from a lifelong desire to find a cure for these diseases that I went into practice to treat,” he says. “There’s nothing more satisfying in medicine than seeing someone with a terminal illness improve.”
Dr. Nash is helping his patients monetarily as well. “Strokes and Alzheimer’s don’t discriminate based on your income,” he says. “This is a way of getting medical care to people who don’t have health insurance, or who can’t get health insurance because of their condition.” He urges patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease to consider participating in clinical studies, because the clinical trials that test new treatments are the best chance they have for fighting this devastating disease.
In April 2011, Dr. Nash and NeuroStudies.net announced they were one of only 10 sites in the world selected to assist the U.S. Military with a traumatic brain injury study. They are also the only website in Georgia to participate in laser light stroke research therapy. The laser light therapy is a non-invasive treatment of ischemic stroke to investigate the effect of its transcranial laser therapy when used within 24 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.
Dr. Nash’s commitment to finding a cure for neurological disease expands beyond the traditional boundaries of physician and scientific researcher. In August 2011, he realized one of his lifelong goals through the creation of the NeuroScience Foundation, an organization committed to advancing the process of finding quality treatment options and cures for neurological diseases including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Funds raised go toward enhancing neurological research, launching new medical research sites, training new research employees, and encouraging hospital research on a local level.
“We’re doing whatever we can to accelerate local research in our area to find cures for these neurological diseases,” he says. “Two and three years into a trial, I see Alzheimer’s patients who are better than when they started. It’s not a cure, but we have clear-cut evidence that they’re better, so we know we’re on to something.”
For more information, visit www.neurostudies.net
Dr. James Toth,
Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, Ambulatory Medicine
Bringing hope and healthcare to Haitian families
Nearly a decade before the devastating earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, Dr. Jim Toth was making medical mission trips to the disaster-prone island nation—one of the poorest in the hemisphere. During his trips to Hinche, a small town located 40 miles north of Port-au-Prince, he saw what limited access the residents had to decent healthcare. What’s more, most of these hospitals had a pre-pay policy.
“I became a doctor to fulfill one small, simple desire – to help people,” says Dr. Toth, a physician of ambulatory medicine at Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. “Seeing patients in Haiti is just an extension of that desire, and in many respects, no different than what motivates me while seeing patients here in the U.S.”
Recognizing the need for a free clinic, Dr. Toth worked with his church to establish the Whitney Clinic, a year round facility providing primary, pediatric and dental care to thousands of impoverished Haitians at no charge. When he saw how many patients who complained of severe stomach pain were actually malnourished, the pharmacy at the Whitney Clinic began doling out bags of beans and rice along with medication.
They were also instrumental in bringing safe water systems to homes in Hinche to help combat the region’s cholera epidemic.
As medical director of the clinic, Dr. Toth travels to Haiti two to three times a year, often with physicians he has enlisted to volunteer their services. In his absence, he contributes to the cost of staffing the clinic with a full-time Haitian physician.
Today Dr. Toth continues to work on improving the living conditions for these Haitian families through a program called A Gift of Hope. With the support of his church, A Gift of Hope raises funds to build homes for destitute people in the region. “In the short term, like any other charity in this economy, we continuously look for funding to support the programs we’ve already begun,” he says. “My deepest prayer for Haiti is that they become strong and independent and find that there is no need for a support program like ours.”
For more information, visit www.saintmonicasinhaiti.com/history