June 19, 2014 8:45 AM
Madeline R. Vann
Barth returned to New Orleans in October 2005 after the storm to clean out his apartment and wrap up his master’s degree in international development. Surrounded by the devastation, he volunteered to muck out houses and advocate for communities. He worked his way through the post-deluge cityscape, cleaning up and interviewing residents in a project to find out who was returning.
“The actual manual labor, the mucking out, was the more formative experience,” he recalls.
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, Barth knew how to respond. The skills he had learned post-Katrina prepared him to help Doctors of the World open a free clinic in the Rockaways neighborhood.
Doctors of the World is an international disaster-response organization. It opened its Rockaways Free Clinic in October 2013 to provide free medical care and assist people in finding health insurance.
“I went and volunteered in an area of Brooklyn, bringing supplies to people in housing projects who weren’t able to get out,” Barth says. He threw himself into mucking out neighborhoods yet again, and eventually the Rockaways neighborhood drew him in.
“Right now we are completing the first community health survey since Sandy, modeled on one used after Hurricane Katrina.”
Doctors interested in volunteering at the clinic may email the Rockaways Clinic.
Madeline R. Vann, who received a master of public health degree in 1998 from Tulane University, is a freelance writer living in Virginia.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org