Stories

Providing Support On The Frontlines

Dr. Willie smiling with a child about to go in for surgery





“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

Dr. Chelsea Willie is a Board-Certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist and Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She has a passion for sharing her love of Jesus and medical knowledge, which has led her on incredible missions over the past couple of years with CURE and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). 

During Dr. Willie’s residency with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Elizabeth Drum, the attending anesthesiologist, approached her about applying to the ASA volunteer scholarship program that Dr. Drum helped set up. The program involved a one-month trip to CURE Ethiopia, helping children in underserved areas get treatment for their conditions and sharing her medical knowledge by teaching local medical students. “There are always surgeries to be had, [I] can always provide support [with anesthesiology].”

As a Global Missions Health Conference attendee, Dr. Willie had listened to and met Christian medical professionals that felt called to go overseas and spread God’s healing, so she knew how instrumental her work at CURE Ethiopia would be. Not only would she be able to help children in need, but she could work alongside local Ethiopian medical students to share knowledge between each other and better assist the patients at CURE. 

Dr. Willie preparing her patient for surgery

Dr. Willie sees medical missions as an opportunity to “…teach [the students] ‘how to fish.’ [I’m] able to work within the infrastructure of the community and support those participants.” Providing the students with sustainable and transformational development makes going to CURE special. “I’m going to make things better. That is why I like [serving at] CURE. You educate instead of just doing the [procedures] and then leaving,” Dr. Willie explained. Volunteering with CURE goes beyond the operating room; volunteers like Dr. Willie provide sustainable education that transcends their stay and helps CURE hospital staff learn new ways of treating their patients. 

Dr. Willie loved her time volunteering with CURE so much that she has returned five times. Three of those times, she brought residents to learn and teach at CURE Ethiopia as well. “Every trainee I’ve brought has had a fabulous experience.” 

Dr. Willie (left) standing alongside local Ethiopian anesthesiologist Dr. Busha (center) and former CURE staff member James Layton (right)

CURE International is so thankful for volunteers like Dr. Chelsea Willie and the Global Health Missions Conference that utilize their passion for medical care and share God’s love to help disadvantaged children. By helping teach local medical students, they are truly elevating the standard of care provided to children in need. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with CURE International, please go to cure.org/volunteer or contact Heather Hunter at heather.hunter@cure.org.