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Dr. Ralph Scolari: Passing on love of mission work to daughter

Dr. Ralph Scolari and his daughter have gone on mission trips together to help improve lives.

Wayne doctor passes on love of mission work, helping people to daughter

Dr. Ralph Scolari has helped change thousands of peoples’ lives in Peru, Guatemala and Malawi. His legacy of helping people could live on through his daughter, Lauren, a University of Michigan student who travels with him to help make this impact.

“Now she has this desire in her to do mission work,” Dr. Scolari said. “I’m sure it is something she will continue doing.”

Dr. Scolari is the medical director for the Emergency Center at Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital Wayne and Beaumont Emergency Center, Canton.

He did his first mission work outside of the U.S. during residency. For six weeks, he treated pediatric malaria and meningitis patients in Malawi.

“It kind of gave me a feel for working abroad,” Dr. Scolari said. “Probably led to my desire to participate with Michigan State in their mission work in Peru.”

He’s now been to Peru on three medical missions, where he helps run multispecialty clinics for villages around the Amazon River. The most recent was in August, the first trip following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In four days, they were able to see about 1,300 patients.

During these visits they find people whose outcomes could have been “life-changing” without physicians’ help. Recounting a story of a patient complaining of weakness, he described how physicians discovered the patient had third-degree heart block and was in congestive heart failure, so it could be treated.

His impact hasn’t only been purely medical.

Dr. Ralph Scolari has impacted thousands of lives through his mission work.

When the father-daughter duo went to the Amazon River region, they saw many young women impacted by their inability to get menstrual products, causing them to miss school and eventually drop out from so much lost time.

They were saddened to “see that there's a whole population of people losing out on education, getting forced to drop out of school,” he said. That’s how he and Lauren became involved with the global nonprofit Days for Girls, which helps women get menstrual care products who would otherwise miss school. Lauren trained and became an ambassador for the nonprofit.

“If people have a desire to do something like mission work, they really should take the time to do it,” he said. “It's so rewarding. It kind of grounds you, and when you come back, you can reflect on the experiences."

He sees his missions as going to communities where people don’t have as much and where one can help on different levels. He also feels it’s important to get exposure to other cultures to see how they live and are able to make do with fewer resources.

"It gives you a totally different perspective and appreciation for where we live and what we have at our access. And how much we take for granted.”

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