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Helping humanity without borders

From the decks of the Mediterranean rescue ship Aquarius, David Beversluis saw desperation. So he took action.

Photo credit: Guglielmo Mangiapane / SOS Méditerranée

Dozens of men, women, and children crowded onto flimsy rafts without food or fresh water. Fleeing violence and poverty, they risked their lives at sea. As the ship’s doctor, Beversluis was there to provide them medical care, food, and shelter.

Beversluis sees Calvin’s mission embedded deep within his work caring for marginalized people and advocating for their humanity.

“I have one opportunity to live a good life," he said. "My desire to serve and be an advocate for those less fortunate than me comes from the deep motivation of faith and the values instilled in me at Calvin.”

He works six months each year in the emergency room at the University of Southern California’s Los Angeles County Medical Center (LAC+USC). He then heads overseas to work six months for Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Coming to Calvin, Beversluis was interested in chemistry and loved scientific inquiry. Majoring in both biochemistry and German set him on a path toward a career in global health and global service.

“Calvin gave me a global perspective and a desire to go out and explore the world,” he said. “It opened up a lot of things for me and helped me see the wider world outside of Grand Rapids.”

His sophomore year, he spent six months overseas learning German. There, he started seeing the ways health care could be combined with politics. After graduation, he worked establishing small pharmacies in Kenya for World Vision. Drawing on Calvin connections, he headed to Honduras, encountering extreme poverty.

He went on to earn an MD and a master’s in public health from Case Western medical school, completing a four-year residency in emergency medicine at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

While Beversluis loves to work with patients in the ER, he feels called to help the world’s 68.5 million forcibly displaced people. MSF has sent him to do that around the world.

Since 2017, more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees have fled genocide in Myanmar to Bangladesh. Beversluis worked in the refugee camps there caring for the sick and the malnourished.


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