Story of Purpose: Elizabeth Sheehan

Elizabeth Sheehan is a member of Women Moving Millions & is the Founder of Care 2 Communities.

Photo - Liz Sheehan largeWhat purpose drives me? Every day, I work to ensure access to quality health care for women and children worldwide. I am fortunate; I have resources to share – and am part of the Women Moving Millions Tribe. I am able to fund, advocate, and innovate within the global health space. My driving purpose would not change, even if my circumstances did. If I did not have the means to be a philanthropist, I would put my clinical skills to work in a humanitarian capacity. If I had unlimited funds, I would still focus on health care for families.
For myself, and as an example to my children, I live by three commitments:
  • I devote half of my time and income to improving access to primary health care in the developing world.
  • I seek to learn and share, researching innovative models worldwide, and sharing my own experience developing a groundbreaking primary health care model to serve communities in Haiti and Africa.
  • I model hands-on philanthropy for the next generation. I want my children to know that mothers worldwide want the best for their children. As I provide for my family, I keep front-of-mind that many in this world struggle to meet basic needs like health, education, and safety.
I found my purpose long before I inherited wealth. I am the happiest when I have my sleeves rolled up. I enjoyed working in emergency rooms as a Physician Assistant, working with patients to solve their medical issues. I began to realize that I could better people’s lives through medicine. For years, I worked as a PA in the U.S., in the minefields of Cambodia, and in crowded hospitals in Africa. I have seen that simple interventions lead to healthy families, and healthy families can lift themselves out of poverty. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to assist these families every day.
When I returned to the U.S. after serving families in the developing world, I knew I wanted my charitable investment to make a real change. I found a team of smart, driven optimists, and over the past five years we have built a model for financially sustainable primary care delivered out of modified shipping containers. Through Care 2 Communities (C2C), we operate these clinics in some of the world’s most challenging environments, including Haiti and Southern Africa. We deliver a full package of high-quality care – thoughtful clinicians, accurate diagnostics, and trusted pharmaceuticals  –  and we partner with communities and patients to ensure long-term financial sustainability.
If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would go bigger! I would work within the social enterprise sector, building up entire communities to lift people out of poverty. Along with high-quality clinics, I would add schools, microcredit programs for community entrepreneurs, and solutions tackling water, sanitation, and safety.
I am committed to sharing, serving, and balancing the scales of global inequality. I won’t stop because I care about families – not just my own. My driving purpose is to contribute to the health of mothers and families AND give communities the opportunity to build and support their own community assets.
This post was submitted to Bold Voices through The Writers Program. To learn more about this program, please contact Amanda, Associate Director of Programs, at info@womenmovingmillions.org.

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