Westport native incites global change


Photo courtesy of Rad-Aid

Radiology specialists volunteering with Rad-Aid help educate other doctors on Grenada in order to create an effective radiology program.

Ella Alpert '22, Staff Writer

Around 90 miles North of Venezuela, in the Eastern Carribean sea, approximately 20miles long and 12 miles wide, lies the island of Grenada. Home to around 110,00 people, the island is made of mountainous terrain and white sand beaches. However, the beautiful scenery can’t protect the people from the problems the island faces. 

Financial hardship is one of these issues and many of the natives live in poverty. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in 2017 the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of Grenada was $9,650, compared to the U.S. which was $58,270. In addition, the island operates on a form of socialized medicine where medical treatment is free in government hospitals. However, the high demand for medical treatment makes it difficult for citizens to receive the care they need in a timely fashion. 

Westport native, Dr. Michele Even, a radiologist specializing in breast imaging, traveled to Grenada from Jan. 18-25. Dr. Even went with the organization Rad-Aid in order to aid the island’s Breast Cancer problem. 

“I’ve been looking for ways where I can give back because I have a unique skill and I wanted to be able to share it,” Even said. 

I’ve been looking for ways where I can give back because I have a unique skill and I wanted to be able to share it.”

— Dr. Michele Even

According to Even, cancer is the number one cause of mortality on the island, and breast cancer is the number one cause of mortality in cancer deaths in women. 

“In the U.S. we have screening mammography, which has done a lot to decrease the cancer mortality for breast cancer, but they don’t have anything like that,” Even said. “[We] educate [citizens in Grenada] and to try to figure out how we can allocate resources so that they can develop and have the appropriate equipment and then be able to develop a screening program.”

There are many ways in which Westporters can help islands like Grenada, as well as other countries facing hardship around the world. Rad-Aid volunteers are certified doctors, however, the organization collects donations. In addition, there are many other organizations that accept both donations and have volunteer opportunities. 

Working abroad gave Even a sense of perspective on how fortunate many Americans are. For example, according to Even, there are approximately three to five x-ray machines within a square mile of many homes in Westport, whereas the entire island of Grenada has one or two functioning machines. 

“It really gives you huge amounts of perspective,” Even said, “when you go to other places and open your eyes to what’s happening around the world and try to help.”