Emelyn and Woodrow, two of the newest members of the ReSurge family
Today we’d like to introduce you to two of our newest employees.
Woodrow Covington, who started at the end of May, makes sure our surgical and training programs are as effective as possible, thus increasing access to surgery in developing countries. Emelyn Erickson, who joined us last month, helps arrange volunteer surgical and educational trips to help build surgical capacity and provide reconstructive surgical care in areas most in need.
Woodrow Covington, Associate Director, Medical Programs and Impact
Woodrow is our numbers guy. He tracks how many surgeries we do, and then categorizes our patients according to a range of criteria: age, gender, nature of injury, extent of surgical care, etc. We use this information for research and to make sure we’re reaching the populations that need our help the most. We also use it to ensure that the surgeries are of the highest quality.
In addition, Woodrow works on our Visiting Educator program. That’s where volunteer surgeons from around the world travel to ReSurge sites for a week or two to help train local doctors. Woodrow helps evaluate how effective the training is, and studies ways to improve the knowledge transfer.
Woodrow comes to us from Freedom House, a Washington-based organization that works to improve human rights and governance around the world. Before that he worked on natural-resource issues in Sierra Leone and taught English in South Korea.
Having a refined name like Woodrow Covington sets him up for some good-natured teasing around the office. But he just laughs and reminds us that he’s a farmboy at heart. He grew up on a farm in Northern California, and he’s a big fan of the outdoors. In fact, he used to be a river guide near Lake Tahoe. For seven years, he led rafters through everything from moderate Class III currents to hazardous Class V rapids.
Woodrow graduated from the University of California, San Diego. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in French literature. He also has a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University. He is proficient in French and also speaks some Spanish and Korean.
Emelyn Erickson, Medical Programs Coordinator
Emelyn makes sure our medical programs come together. She plans the logistics for our overseas trips, figuring out visa requirements in the host country and making sure our medical volunteers’ paperwork is in order. She also figures out host hospital conditions as well as hotel, flight and other local arrangements. Thanks to her, the only thing our volunteers need to focus on is providing the best patient care possible.
Emelyn is one of the points of contact for our volunteers in the field. In case of a natural disaster, political conflict, disease outbreak or other unsafe condition, she helps make sure our volunteers are evacuated and brought home quickly and safely.
Emelyn may be new to ReSurge, but she’s no stranger to international work. She graduated with honors from Duke University with a degree in global health. In school she participated in study-abroad programs that took her all over the world, including Japan and Jerusalem. She also assisted with projects involving AIDS awareness in Morocco and neonatal health in China.
She speaks Spanish, French, Chinese and a little Arabic. She has always enjoyed learning new languages, ever since she tried to imitate Eliza Doolittle’s Cockney accent as an elementary schooler and realized how much she enjoys exotic sounds.
Emelyn is full of amazing stories. For example, she’ll tell you how she helped her father, a general contractor, build his three-bedroom home from scratch when she was 10. Over the next five years, under her dad’s training, she installed electrical sockets, painted and laid flooring. She’ll also tell you about how she volunteers as a doula in her spare time.
We’re grateful to have Woodrow and Emelyn on the ReSurge team, and we look forward to their contributions for many years to come.
We also extend a warm welcome to our newest employee, President and CEO Jeff Whisenant. Stay tuned to learn more about him -- we’ll profile him in a separate post later this week.