WASHINGTON – Feb. 20, 2017 — Dr. Clayton Lawrence has dedicated his life to traveling abroad in service to others, specifically when it comes to serving in healthcare related capacities. A decorated veteran who spent five years in the United States Army as a flight surgeon, Dr. Lawrence began his medical career in countries around the world, establishing an understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with global healthcare. Since completing his military service, Dr. Lawrence has continued to travel abroad in his role as a healthcare executive to only further develop his global healthcare commitment.
Last week, Dr. Lawrence arrived in Cape Town, South Africa. One of his first stops was visiting the famous Groote Schuur Hospital, which is the hospital where the first human-to-human heart transplant was completed in 1938. Conducted by University of Cape Town-educated surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard, on the patient Louis Washkansky, the transplant put South Africa in the international spotlight as a leader in advancing global medicine. As he spoke about the visit, Dr. Lawrence stated, “Groote Schuur represents and embodies the progress of modern medicine. This hospital has been the foundation for teaching some of the most renowned physicians and surgeons in the world, and it continues to serve the people of South Africa in incredible ways.”
Though the specific types of medical challenges faced around the world vary from country to country, many of the primary issues are the same. Citizens in South Africa are struggling with climbing healthcare costs that limit accessibility to medical services for the majority of South African people. “As I travel, it quickly becomes apparent that the particulars of what we as a global people face in healthcare can often be vastly different. However, the most common and fundamental challenge of healthcare, which is its affordability and accessibility to all, is at the heart of every single healthcare discussion being had around the world,” Dr. Lawrence stated. “This is a problem that I believe we have made great strides to tackle in the United States, and one that, as further solutions are achieved, can provide a foundation on which to build solutions for others around the world.”
Groote Schuur is also prominently recognized for its neonatal unit that, since its development, has significantly increased the survival rate amongst premature, low birth weight, and critically ill newborn babies in Africa. In his ongoing commitment to lead by example when it comes to health and wellness, and to also raise funds and bring awareness to important medical causes, Dr. Lawrence ran the Cape Town Marathon yesterday which will benefit the redevelopment of the neonatal unit at Groote Schuur.
“Traveling abroad not only provides the opportunity to see the ways in which global medical leaders can come together to better serve and heal their citizens,” Lawrence stated, “but highlights the very fundamental things that we as individuals can do to support causes that could drastically change the lives of others across the globe.”