She wanders to trouble spots. She wonders at our common bonds.
As a child on Chicago’s south side, it wasn’t unusual for Pam Ogor to have a National Geographic magazine in her hands. Her interest in travel blossomed into a West Africa trip in college. She became a family practice physician with Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group in Glendale. But her wanderlust never left.
In June 2005, Ogor finished a class on humanitarian relief and disaster at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University. Two months later, Hurricane Katrina struck. Ogor headed south.
In Gulfport, Miss., she and another doctor worked out of a truck. In Gautier, Miss., she helped folks from a deli. She went to the area once a week every three to four months until 2007.
Meanwhile, in October 2005, an earthquake hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan. Relief International, an aid organization, asked for Ogor’s assistance, and she went. Her Glendale patients don’t mind when the doctor is out.
“They are used to the idea of me leaving, and my patients get involved, too,” she says. “Not everyone has the ability to pick up and do these things, but my impression is, most people have really caring hearts.”
Her travels have changed her perspective on life, especially how it can change instantly. It helps her to calm her American patients when they doubt their own future. “Even in places where we aren’t speaking the same language, humanity runs through people the same, all over the world,” Ogor says.