Emily Harrison, MD, a family physician practicing in Pawtucket, has been selected to receive the national Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
In addition to her clinical and faculty work, Dr. Harrison has been a volunteer since 2006 with Shoulder to Shoulder, a non-profit delivering health care and public health services to remote southwestern Honduras. She has served as Shoulder to Shoulder director of Women’s Health, was instrumental in building the Brown affiliation with the village of Guachipilincito, and for the past year and a half has served as Executive Director.
Leading Shoulder to Shoulder is a challenging job and has required hundreds of hours of work and thousands of miles of travel to Honduras. Shoulder to Shoulder has rightfully achieved the reputation of the model health care volunteer organization; there is ongoing care after the visit by U.S. volunteers, there is community involvement, public health interventions are central and as a non-profit it is integrated with the Ministry of Health activities rather than creating a parallel health system. This approach is difficult and complex, but impactful over time.