Dr. Charles Sheehan
The concept began after PPES founder, Sam Singh, and Dr. Sheehan visited the Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Primary Health Center in Nepal. Afterward, over dinner, they sketched out ideas for a school health center on a napkin. In 2016, the concept of the Prana Health Center became a reality on the PPES campus, steps away from the classrooms.
At first, school announcements and village flyers spread the word of upcoming clinics (or health “camps”) at the Center. For several days, students, and villagers would line up to see the visiting volunteer doctor. Depending on his/her expertise, they’d get help for, say, a skin problem or an internal condition. They might be screened for scoliosis or vaccinated against various diseases…or just talk about a non-medical problem affecting their health, often a very personal one. “Females,” says Dr. Sheehan, “seemed comfortable talking to visiting doctors about difficulties they wouldn’t discuss with anyone else. There was an immediate feeling of trust. Perhaps it’s because we were outsiders wearing white coats.”
Dr. Sheehan has volunteered at the Center multiple times over the years. Much of his work, however, begins when he returns to the US where, among other tasks, he recruits others—mostly doctors and nurses—to volunteer at the Prana Health Center. You might say he’s the Center’s ambassador, convincing people to share their skills with the PPES students and the surrounding community.
Dr. Sheehan is also a primary care physician at the Ascension Saint Agnes Medical Group in Ellicott City, Maryland and a staff physician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore Maryland.