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Ascension Via Christi fellow helps lead Bangladesh hospital's COVID-19 response

Last year, Josh McCoy, MD, was elected by the Ascension Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program, as its outstanding resident. This year, he was the lone International Family Medicine fellow, preparing to care for patients in areas of the world where the needs are great and the resources far and few between.

Dr. McCoy and his family recently returned from Malumghat, Bangladesh, where for nearly six months he had been practicing in one of the poorest and most densely populated areas in the world.

There amidst the Rohingya Burmese refugee crisis, he ended up being the hospital's lone primary care provider when the other one was unable to get back from her vacation due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

That led to Dr. McCoy researching, planning and helping institute Memorial Christian Hospital's respiratory triage and Acute Respiratory Care Unit, according to a letter sent by Nathan Piovesan, MD, the general surgeon who serves as the hospital's medical director.

"Without Josh we could not have mounted the response we did to help our area of Bangladesh meet the onslaught of this treacherous virus," wrote Dr. Piovesan. "Although we do not have an ICU or ventilators, we have local leaders and health officers, mayors, and members of parliament calling us to help take care of their patients because they have heard of the reputation of our COVID unit."

He concluded his letter noting, "I can say it was with sad hearts that we said goodbye to Josh, Charis, Joia and Ely. If your Ascension Via Christi International Fellowship is full of top quality, Godly people like the McCoys, please continue to send us more."

Having completed his fellowship, Dr. McCoy and his family left this week for Washington state, where he plans to practice for a few years to make a dent in his medical school loans and then return overseas to serve in the long term. 

But not before leaving an indelible mark on those with whom he served overseas and at Ascension Via Christi.

Patrick Allen, MD, co-director of the fellowship program, says he continues to be inspired by participants like Dr. McCoy, who elect to spend an extra year of training to prepare to serve in some of the most underserved areas of the world.

"It has never been more clear to me that each life on this planet is equally deserving of compassionate, excellent care," says Dr. Allen, noting that the program will have four fellows as of July 1. "I cannot imagine another investment this small making such a big impact on so many lives. Our program not only blesses the poor abroad, but truly helps us attract and train up the best primary care physicians within our organization."

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.