Gracias, Dr. Garcia
“To touch the sky with your own hands.” This is how Dr. Miguel Garcia-Tatis describes the last 15 years of his medical career spearheading the public health program in MonteCristi, Dominican Republic, alongside our partner organization, BANELINO, and in collaboration with Timmy Global Health.
Dr. Garcia attributes his drive to provide primary health care services and preventative health programming in the bateys (remote housing settlements set up for plantation workers) of MonteCristi to the community visits he made with his mother as a child. On these visits, Dr. Garcia’s mother would have him sit, talk, and listen to community members. They would share stories of working on sugar cane plantations and banana fields for long days with unfair wages, struggles accessing clean water and electricity, and feeling isolated, unseen, and unrepresented. From a young age, Dr. Garcia understood the stark contrast in realities between the bateys and that of daily life in the center of town, where, only 20-minutes down the road, people lived with far greater access and opportunity. These early conversations and connections lead Dr. Garcia back to the bateys after earning degrees in Psychology, Medicine, and Epidemiology, ready to inspire change, access, and opportunity.
Leading 37 medical service trips over his 7 years in partnership with Timmy Global Health, Dr. Garcia laid a sturdy foundation for the critical bridge between patients, Timmy volunteer medical professionals, and the local health system. Identifying community leaders and co -facilitating capacity-building trainings with Timmy field staff, a team of Community Health Promoters became part of the Timmy-BANELINO health team under Dr. Garcia’s leadership. Together, Dr. Garcia and the Community Health Promoters have been able to complete 49,883 community-based consults between Medical Service Trips, coordinate 40 major surgeries through Timmy’s referral system, and develop a specialized Medical Service Trip with local physical therapists and the Dominican Rehabilitation Association Center.
Dr. Garcia has inspired young medical professionals growing up in MonteCristi and global health minded volunteers spending the week in MonteCristi on Medical Service Trips alike. He has created systemic change in the local health system serving as the Regional Hospital Director. He has created lifelong friendships with Timmy staff and Timmy medical professionals. He has made Haitian migrant patients feel understood and advocated for. He is the definition of an ally within the healthcare system.
When we asked Dr. Garcia to share about his time with Timmy, he described it as one of the greatest personal and professional experiences of this life and career. Working alongside Timmy, he has seen real change and a lasting impact created in our communities.
Timmy’s former Executive Director, Kristina Graff, described Dr. Garcia’s impact on our organization perfectly:
“[Dr. Garcia is] the ideal example of what it means to dedicate yourself to the bettering of humanity. Thank you for treating each patient and each Timmy volunteer so attentively and with such love, for coordinating with us for so many years and for representing the philosophy, values and mission of our organization.
It’s been an honor working with you- there aren’t words to describe the profound impact that you have had on the Timmy community: patients, personnel, and volunteers”.
We recognize, admire, and cherish the dedication and vision that Dr. Garcia has shared with our Timmy community, patients, and local partner team. Thank you for your years of service and expertise, Dr. Garcia! Abrazos!
Farewell messages from former Timmy Staff to Dr. Garcia:
“Dr. Garcia’s work with the Dominican Republic Rehabilitation Association struck me during a service trip in 2013. He showed young volunteers – like myself – that health care is more than just medicine. He helped link people, resources, and fundraising to bring a physical therapy service to his patients. His role in this endeavor certainly helped inform my notion of what it means to be a doctor: healer and community leader”.
- Drew Morrow , Former TGH Staff
“Dr. Garcia is a wonderful person and a great friend — I loved spending time with him when I was working with Timmy. I truly loved every minute I spent leading the organization, and working with all the wonderful people that Timmy has in its community. “
- Matt MacGregor, Former Timmy Executive Director
“Congratulations on your retirement Dr. Garcia (and Guillermina)! You’ve touched so many lives, in so many ways. I loved learning alongside both of you and to see the good work that you do. I know what you will miss being in the communities, but I hope you have a wonderful retirement. I hope that now you can relax a bit! Sending love for the whole family!
- Megan Keller, Former Long-term Volunteer
You are the ideal example of what it means to dedicate yourself to the bettering of humanity. Thank you for treating each patient and each Timmy volunteer so attentively and with such love, for coordinating with us for so many years and for representing the philosophy, values and mission of our organization.
Its been an honor working with you- there aren’t words to describe the profound impact that you have had on the Timmy community: patients, personal and volunteers”
Thank you, Kristina Graff, Former Timmy Executive Director