2021 Humanitarian & Community Award: Dr Benjamin LaBrot
Class of 2006, School of Medicine
- Country of residence: USA
- Professional title: Founder & CEO, Floating Doctors
Dr Benjamin LaBrot is a native Southern Californian who has a long association with the ocean. From childhood, he worked on commercial fishing and research vessels and spent countless hours on (or under) the water off the coast of Southern California.
Benjamin attended RCSI and worked as a medical doctor in the Irish healthcare system, helping to set up and run a long-term care for the elderly facility that also provided acute hospital services.
Travel and private medical mission work in developing countries led Benjamin to combine his love of the sea and medicine, and in 2009 he founded the Floating Doctors to bring more help to remote rural communities. In 2010, he led the first Floating Doctors mission to Haiti and has continued ever since.
Benjamin is also the President of RemoteCare Education (providing training for clinicians to practice international medical relief), a professor of global medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, a clinical professor at University of California, Irvine Medical School, and an FDA compliance advisor for Roche Pharmaceuticals.
Benjamin says that each successive time he travelled in the developing world, his backpack carried fewer personal items and more medical supplies, and that the most heart-breaking part of doing medicine in the developing world was when the backpack was empty and there were still many people in desperate need. For him, Floating Doctors and his crew of dedicated volunteers are 'a much bigger backpack over many thousands of miles; I promised myself I would come back to the developing world with more help, and now I finally have the chance to keep my promise.'
This award was generously sponsored by Medical Protection.