Emily Onufer, Team Leader
Emily is from Virginia Beach, VA and for a very long time thought that she could will herself a tail-fin and become a mermaid. She swam up the east coast to attend MIT majoring in biological engineering and then made her way to Dartmouth to complete an MPH focusing on public health policy. She is now land-locked as a general surgery resident as Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently in her “lab years”, with her research centering on gun violence in the pediatric population as well as short gut syndrome. She is passionate about keeping children healthy and safe – and she still wants to become a mermaid someday.
Erin Andrade, Team Member
Erin grew up in St. Louis, MO and dreamed of immersing herself in different cultures and languages as a cultural anthropologist or a cryptologist until she started working in a medical clinic in high school. She fell in love with the heady responsibility of being a part of people’s health journey. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual major in Public Health & Social Justice and French. In 2016, she graduated Tulane University School of Medicine with an MD/MPH. She decided to pursue a career in general surgery because it combines the intellectual challenge of solving puzzles, like cryptology, with a focus on humanism that provides opportunities to improve healthcare among the underserved both locally and abroad. She still uses her love of languages and culture to better understand influences on patients’ health and hopes to make global surgery a part of her career. Outside of the hospital, she loves baking and trying new foods, running so she can eat the treats she bakes, and traveling.
Jessica Lindemann, Team Member
Jess grew up in small-town-middle-of-America and always new she wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself. She earned her undergraduate degree at Millikin University where she decided to leave her clarinet as a hobby and pursue a career in medicine. In 2015 she graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and went on to general surgery residency close to home, at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Now in her “lab years” of residency, she currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa and attends the University of Cape Town as a PhD in Surgery candidate, because #foreverstudent. Her passions include epic adventures, learning new things, and surgery – her dream job involves all three.
Kind, optimistic people are not the first stereotype that comes to mind for surgeons-to-be, but as three women in the general surgery residency training program at Washington University in Saint Louis, we pride ourselves on bringing joy to all situations. We believe that compassion loves company, and that a smile transcends all language barriers. It is our compassion that led us to medicine and a shared interest in global health.
We are currently in our research years, taking a break from clinical duties to focus on topics important to us. One of those is learning how we can best care for underserved populations both in St. Louis and globally. For each of us, our interest in global health began before our medical careers. Emily has worked for multiple non-profit organizations including Literacy Bridge and Physicians for Peace. Jess is currently in
Cape Town, completing a PhD on surgical care delivery in the South African health care system. She has been involved in previous public health projects in Peru and the Kayamandi township in South Africa. Erin has worked for multiple non-profit organizations in Haiti, Guatemala, and Mali; she also speaks fluent Spanish.
Additionally, Emily and Erin have studied the impact of social determinants on health while obtaining their Masters in Public Health. Emily aspires to be a pediatric surgeon, Jess to be a transplant and hepato-pancreato-biliary surgeon, and Erin to be a trauma surgeon, but we all want to bring health education and healthcare to those in need. We
are currently working on the “Stop the Bleed” initiative in the St. Louis community, focusing on reducing the morbidity and mortality of trauma through community education on hemorrhage control techniques. Stop the Bleed would have an even greater impact abroad where resources are scarce. As transport times to medical care increase, mortality rates from hemorrhage rise. We would like to expand this effort globally to create a sustainable education program; Timmy Global Health has the established infrastructure and resources to make this possible.
The Lancet Commission – Global Surgery 2030 demonstrated the need for safe surgery and anesthetic care in low- and middle-income countries. We feel compelled to use the skills we are acquiring to help meet this need and to partner with local providers to create sustainable change. However, we are not yet adequately prepared to manage patients in the setting of limited health care access and resources, a skill that is best
gained through experience.
We believe this opportunity to serve alongside Timmy Global Health will broaden our minds, and deepen our understanding of the significant influence social determinants of health have on our patients’ wellbeing. Healing is not just about alleviating the ailments of the physical body, but identifying the myriad root causes of the problem – be it poor water sanitation, a lack of health education or a shortage of antibiotics – and finding a solution that is realistic and sustainable – all with a smile.