Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., made a special appearance on campus Monday to speak on “Hope Through Healing Hands,” his global health initiative that strives to change the world through raising awareness and taking action against global disease, extreme poverty and other health-related issues. His visit was sponsored by Belmont’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP), a year-long program in which 10 freshman students are selected to participate in a series of experiences to learn about teamwork, communication, community service, organization and self-purpose. The Senator’s appearance marked the group’s final project for the year.
Frist’s talk focused on his medical mission work in Africa over the past decade and how that work inspired him to found Hope Through Healing Hands, an organization that seeks to use health “as a currency for peace.” He spoke of Lui, Sudan, a village he’s visited frequently that’s located 500 miles west of the Nile. “What started as American medical volunteers operating on a single patient in an abandoned school house grew to a hospital that now sees 40,000 patients each year from hundreds of miles around with 60 Sudanese workers… People say in Africa there’s no hope, there’s nothing we can do. But we can make a difference.”
Frist advocated that Americans’ work in Africa is not only the morally right thing to do, but it also makes this nation safer. “You don’t go to war with someone who has saved the life of your child.”
Quoting from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frist concluded by reminding his audience of the inextricable connections that exist throughout the worldwide community. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
For more information, visit www.hopethroughhealinghands.org.