Helping others is a family tradition for Dr. Kerry Forrestal (MD, ’01). He, his father, sister, brother, and nephew all have served in the National Guard. The emergency medicine doctor starting working in EMS at age 16. Between serving his country and healing his patients, he’s spent nearly his entire life caring for others, so it should come as no surprise that Dr. Forrestal journeyed to Haiti to provide medical care to Haitians desperately in need.
On the second day of his trip to the island, Dr. Forrestal was faced with what every doctor dreads and the reason that Haiti calls him back. Inspired to share the sad plight of the Haitians he met through the Living Hope Mission, he recorded his haunting experience with one in the Southampton Press:
|We set about seeing patients and it wasn’t long before ‘it’ happened. You can always identify a sick child, a dying child. This child’s mother had died three or four months before of AIDS. Before she did, she named her child ‘My Love,’ [who] will become one more of the faceless masses to die in the AIDS epidemic. Read the full story here.|
Dr. Forrestal started medical school when he was 33 years old – one of the oldest students in his class. He chose Stony Brook because it offered him a “fantastic education at a very reasonable cost.” As an older student, he had a different perspective and insights into his education, which is why he and a group of concerned students worked with the Dean of Student and Minority Affairs, Aldustus Jordan, to implement the “C3 Project,” which educates medical students in diversity and cultural competencies.
During his time at Stony Brook Dr. Kerry Forrestal also met another volunteer-minded individual, his wife Shannon, who is also a Stony Brook alum. While training as an occupational therapist, she helped send pediatric medical equipment to Bosnia during its civil war. Kerry and Shannon Forrestal now live in Maryland, where they are busy raising their two daughters, Sarah, 6, and Riley, 4.