In November 2010, I had the good fortune to meet Richmond family physician and fellow William & Mary alum Mark Ryan at a get-together for a group of idealistic W&M-affiiliated Twitter acquaintances. During the course of our conversation, I mentioned my desire to do more with my photography, both in a service-oriented, educational way and as a business. Mark extended an invitation to me to join the Dominican Aid Society in January 2011 for their winter trip to the Dominican Republic, where a group of medical providers team up with a W&M student group to provide clinical care to a particular marginalized community. I would act as their photographer, documenting the work they do in the clinic as well as the field work the students do in their efforts to work with community members to identify and find sustainable solutions to key public health concerns.
I accepted the invitation and traveled with the DASV on Jan 1-8, 2011. I expected the trip to be emotional and potentially life-changing, and it was. I returned for this year's winter trip, and toward the end of that trip, I realized that I feel committed to this group and will, most likely, become a regular member of the team. (I already have a pinkie promise to see a Dominican ball game with three other regulars next year, so I guess I'm in for 2013, at the very least!)
My entries about DASV/SOMOS span a variety of topics, from the very trivial travel entries to documentation of concerns such as access to water and waste management to ethical quandaries related to humanitarian photography.
All of my entries may be found in the SOMOS category, starting with the most recent and working backward.
I also tracked down as much as I could about the history of SOMOS, through articles and blog entries found online. The same entry describes several of the communities served by the clinic. Another entry describes Esfuerzo, the neighborhood that is the main focus of the DASV/SOMOS work.
One of my main goals as the chief documentarian for this group is to relate what we do to people outside of our team, both in order to raise support for our work and also to raise awareness of issues in public health around the globe. I appreciate questions and comments - both help me to do my best work.