Cinci Cares Presents: Doctors on a Mission | Christine J. O'Dea, M.D.
Crossroad Health Center, Medical Director
LEAD Magazine: Tell us about what you do.
Dr. Christine J. O’Dea: I have been at Crossroad Health Center since 2009. Prior to that, I lived in Honduras for two years with my family. I ran a clinic there and home-schooled my children. I moved back here in 2008. At that time, Crossroad was not looking for providers. I have been the medical director for two years. Crossroad is the only Christian community healthcare center in Cincinnati. Every doctor and nurse practitioner who works here feels it is a domestic mission. The patients are very complex.
LEAD Magazine: What inspired you to undertake this type of work?
Dr. Christine J. O’Dea: I have always been interested in working overseas. In high school my mom gave me the books by Dr. Tom Dooley, a physician who did mission work in the ’50s and ’60s in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. He was an inspiration to me. In college I was interested in international development. In med school I did some global health work. The UC residency has a long history in global health. I had some mentors who had integrated global health into their practice.
LEAD Magazine: What have you learned by doing this type of work?
Dr. Christine J. O’Dea: I have learned that I am very fortunate and very blessed and very lucky to have what I have. There are actually very many similar patients here as I see in Honduras. The patients’ social situations have to be discussed. What I see in Honduras, I can apply here at Crossroad. The struggles of the poor are the same everywhere.
LEAD Magazine: What message would you like to share about this work?
Dr. Christine J. O’Dea: When people make plans to do service work, go on mission trips, they think about how they are going to give – how many patients they will see, how much medication they will give. What I would like readers to know is that you get more than you give. These trips change your whole perspective on the world. They make you so grateful for what you have. I encourage people to go on trips but I want them to know it’s not so much about them serving, but it is more about what you bring back and share with the people you work with or live with or people in your community. Mission trips are not so much about the work you are doing there as much as building the relationships.