Year Joined MKLM: 1984
Project(s): Physician and medical adviser for the Archdiocese of Mombasa
People Served: Mombasa has a population of 2.0 million people
Project Goal(s): To provide high quality healthcare to all regardless of ethnicity, gender, race or religion. Special attention is given to those who are needy, stigmatized and marginalized.
Susan is from Urbana, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria. After participating in mission trips to Appalachia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, she decided to become a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in 1984.
During Susan’s 30 plus years of mission service, she has worked tirelessly on behalf of those needing medical attention and healthcare in Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania.
Susan’s ministry began in Tanzania. At Kowak bedded dispensary, she helped renovate the outpatient department and remodeled the convent to become a 32-bed health center. She initiated community outreach clinics to combat and eventually control measles and other infectious childhood diseases.
In Sudan, Susan worked in the Diocese of Torit. She was to start primary healthcare services in Torit, but the war displaced everyone to Nimule. She began a tuberculosis treatment program that cared for more than 500 patients until it was closed due to the war. Susan provided primary healthcare in two displaced persons camps, which totaled 30,000 individuals. She then moved to Toposaland and set up the first modern medical services among the eastern Toposa nomadic indigenous people who lived in that semi-arid environment.
At Kiminini Cottage hospital in the Diocese of Kitale, Kenya, Susan and others expanded it from a 19 to 32 bed unit. She and the medical team trained Family Medicine resident doctors during their community medicine rotations. Outreach was offered to Kolongolo and Matisi clinics. During the post-election violence in 2007-2008, the hospital provided medical care for 9,000 people displaced from Mt. Elgon to the Kiminini area.
In 2012, Susan was awarded the Medal of Valor by the American Medical Association (AMA) in recognition of her life-long work and “courage under extraordinary circumstances.”
Current Ministry: Physician and Medical Adviser for the Archdiocese of Mombasa, Kenya
Susan is a medical consultant to the Mombasa, Kenya Archdiocesan Health coordinator. Together, they strive to improve the Archdiocese’s 21 healthcare units. Susan travels to various locations to teach, supervise and provide complex patient consultations with staff. She is involved with dispensary designs and renovations, personnel employment and the development of health department plans and programs.