Doctor touts a world without borders

NEWBURGH – “In our borderless world, we see that people are different, and that people are the same.”

So said Dr. Richard Heinzl, founder of the Canadian chapter of Doctors without Borders, as he presented a message of hope to several hundred people Friday night, March 26, at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.

His lecture, “Lessons from Abroad: The Opportunities of a Borderless World,” was the 11th in the Samuel D. Affron Memorial Lecture Series.

Heinzl spoke of the strength of the people he has met in the midst of natural disaster, poverty and disease, in Cambodia, Iraq, Haiti and other countries. As he spoke, he posted images of children, shacks and tent cities that illustrated some of what he has witnessed.

He talked about the devastation in Haiti after its recent earthquake. “I didn’t hear of panic and despair. I heard women singing a song of hope.”

Heinzl told the Mount students in the audience that “travel is an integral part of education. Travel offers a way to understand the world.” He urged them to step out of their comfort zones and take risks.
“You don’t have to be a doctor to make a difference.”

He said that technology, like cell phones, is pulling people together and that the Internet is helping to deliver health care in faraway places. 

In the discussion that followed the lecture, Middletown High School guidance counselor Schadrac Saint Louis thanked the people of Orange County for helping him collect three tons of clothing, food and supplies that he is taking to his native Haiti Sunday.

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