Dr. Ed Karotkin's level of energy both professionally and personally keeps him on the move.
While most of his travels take him overseas with missions for Physicians for Peace, he makes time for ski trips and sailing in local waterways, too.
Karotkin is a neonatologist at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters and a professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
He's been affiliated with Physicians for Peace for more than 20 years. This is his second year as PFP board chairman.
"I've been fortunate enough to lead some missions," Karotkin said. "It's been a good experience for me to have the opportunity to share our medical care."
The first out-of-country trip he took to help patients was to the Philippines with Operation Smile. It was an "ah-ha" moment for him, as he realized for the first time "how fortunate we are to have the quality of life that we have here," he said.
The lack of necessities - sterile equipment and antibiotics in the medical setting, passable roads and operable vehicles in a town - struck him the hardest. It motivated him to seek more opportunities with the program to help communities.
One of his proudest experiences was in Cuba where he gave a lecture to the Cuban Pediatric Society about protecting mothers and babies from Group B Strep. He returned two years later and was approached by a member of the audience from the earlier lecture. Karotkin said the man told him that he had instituted programs in his hospital and that there had been fewer infections and deaths.
"I thought it was very rewarding that he took the initiative to put it into practice," he said.
He and his wife, Betsy, travel together on the PFP trips a couple of times a year. Karotkin continues to work with ongoing programs in India providing hands-on training to medical communities and giving lectures.
He was also the "driving force" behind PFP's Resource Mothers, a program to improve the outcome of pregnancy for women in need locally, said Mary Westbrook, communications manager for PFP.
Pregnant women are paired with a caseworker who serves as a role model and provides transportation to appointments, among other supportive actions. He also helped launch the program in the Dominican Republic. nib
- Stacy Parker