HUMANITARIAN Global Humanitarian Work
By: Gopal Badlani, MD, FACS, FRCS, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, North Carolina | Posted on: 10 Nov 2023
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. Khalil Gibran
To serve self first appears to be the guiding principle for most, in all aspects of the life. The transformation to serve the purpose without consideration of “me” takes a conscious effort after a higher learning. It is a refreshing release when an action is without an expectation of return or a goal of self-enhancement.
We are able to do this somewhat in our personal life, perhaps just with our children and spouse. Even there, it is partial as the emotional return is an expectation.
Once we step out of the house, we rarely are able to do something at work or while serving an organization without consideration of me first. These actions are subtle most of the time without an overt desire to do so. At other times it is blatant and in your face. It may be the norm in the political or business dealings, but it is also very prevalent in organized medicine.
There is no formal teaching of this process, and I guess it evolved from the self-preservation instinct. However, it appears to be present in late stages of life, even after significant achievements and glory.
How and when does the “Want” stop and just giving begin?
Giving is not money alone but doing the right thing or action after taking self out. It is difficult and often needs a life coach. When it happens, the inner happiness quotient improves along with the conscious. You collect a different set of wealth, which you carry with yourself at the end.
As an immigrant who has seen both sides of global health (the haves and the have-nots), I had the desire to pursue this path and was fortunate to have spiritual guidance to do more for those in need. Organizations such as IVUmed and JSS (Jeev Sewa Sansthan) carried the heavy load of arrangements, and the team from the US and locals made it possible. There were many colleagues, like Dr Sakti Das, Dr Raju Thomas, Dr Bhushan Khashu, and Dr Amar Singh, as well as residents and fellows who made it possible.
Fistula Care in Africa was in partnership with the International Organization for Women and Development. Barbara and Ira Margolis were godsent people for these women in desperate need.
Facilitating humanitarian missions in urology has been my good fortune through the AUA: the Global Philanthropic Committee, which was a partnership between the AUA, European Association of Urology, and the International Society of Urology, established and supported centers in Dakar, Senegal, as well as Nigeria.
Through the Endourological Society World Endo program, we were able to teach urologists from low- and middle-income countries.
The Urology Care Foundation™ and the 14 humanitarian endowments is an achievement we are very proud of.
Bringing all these groups together under one umbrella and matching those in need with those who can help is our latest effort (Urogive.org).
I am mostly addicted to it now and, until I am unable to, will continue on this path. A report of more than 25 years of sustained urological philanthropic effort in India by global urologists through JSS & IVUmed was presented at the AUA Annual Meeting in 2021.1
- Badlani G, Das S, Thomas R, Singh A. MP67-17 Report of more than 25 years of sustained urological philanthropic effort in India by global urologist through “Jeev Sewa Sansthan” (JSS) & IVUmed. J Urol. 2021;206(Suppl 3):e516.