Volunteering is a family affair for Dr. Jorge Londoño, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. Along with his wife Dr. Maria Rosario Garcia, a primary care physician, the duo have been providing gynecologic health services to uninsured and underinsured women at Shepherd's Hope since 2010.
"The gynecologic services we provide are vital for these women in need, from pap smears and other preventive care, to more complex screenings such as colposcopies, endometrial biopsies and ultrasounds," explained Jean Zambrano, vice president of clinical operations at Shepherd's Hope. "Because of Dr. Londoño's steadfast commitment, and the fact that the two of them always volunteer together, we have been able to help exponentially more people."
Jorge Londoño, MD, FACOG, has been practicing for more than 20 years in the areas of operative gynecology, advanced laparoscopic surgery, pelvic-relaxation surgery, urinary incontinence, gynecologic ultrasound and infertility, in addition to well-woman examinations, obstetrics and high-risk pregnancy.
He attended medical school at the Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogotá, Colombia, where he also completed his first residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and was named chief resident. After moving to the U.S., Londoño completed a three-year research fellowship in Reproductive Ultrasound at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and a second OB/GYN residency at Orlando Regional Healthcare System, where he also was named chief resident.
For the last 13 years, he has served as medical director for the OB/GYN ultrasound department at Physician Associates (now Orlando Health).
Dr. Londoño shares his thoughts and experiences as a volunteer physician with Shepherd's Hope to encourage other health care professionals to take up the cause and join him.
- Why did you choose to volunteer at Shepherd's Hope?
"I learned about Shepherd's Hope from other physicians who were volunteering and heard about the great need for the health care services they provide. My wife and I were both searching for a way to give back to the community to help those in need. Shepherd's Hope was the perfect fit for us."
- Talk about the volunteer work you do with Shepherd's Hope.
"My wife and I volunteer once a month, providing gynecology services at the Shepherd's Hope health center in downtown Orlando. I bring a portable gynecologic ultrasound machine from my office to perform scans. I also helped arrange for the donation of a colposcopy machine for the health center that we use to examine patients for signs of disease."
- Is there a memorable patient encounter that is especially meaningful to you?
"Truly, all of the patients that come to Shepherd's Hope are special in some way. That's what makes it so rewarding to volunteer there. Even after more than eight years.
However, one patient, in particular, comes to mind. It was a young Haitian mother with a small child who presented at the clinic with an infected breast mass that turned out to be breast cancer. I remember thinking at the time how lost and confused the young woman seemed. But, thanks to Shepherd's Hope and its Community Referral Provider Program, she was very well cared for throughout her entire treatment process from surgery to chemotherapy."
- What would you tell other physicians who may be interested in volunteering at Shepherd's Hope?
"My wife and I have witnessed firsthand how many people truly need the medical care that Shepherd's Hope provides and how much we can do for these patients.
Volunteering once a month may seem like a small contribution, but to the patients we see, it means a lot. Yes, we are tired at the end of our work day, but when we finish up our night shift at the clinic, there is always such a feeling of gratitude and gratification. It is very rewarding to know that you are providing real help and a real service for these patients.
You can really change a life by volunteering at Shepherd's Hope. You can touch many, many lives and really make a difference."
"Dr. Londoño goes above and beyond when it comes to the patients he and his wife see at Shepherd's Hope," Zambrano said. "If there is a patient he's concerned about, he will always call to follow-up on the results of their diagnostics and where they are in their treatment process."
Shepherd's Hope is in need for more volunteer physicians like Dr. Londoño and Dr. Garcia to care for those in the community who need access to quality healthcare. Last year, 2,800 licensed medical and other professionals provided 44,000 volunteer hours and yet the organization still had to turn away 900 people due to capacity limitations.
To learn more about how to become a Shepherd's Hope volunteer, contact Volunteer Program Manager Abby Seelinger at (407) 876-6699, ext. 233, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.shepherdshope.org/volunteers.