By Chris Orozco

If you have volunteered with Doctors Without Walls for any length of time, then there is only a small chance that you are unfamiliar with the friendly smile and warm welcome of our wonderful triage volunteer Lynn Matis. Lynn initially moved to Santa Barbara to finish her graduate degree in psychology and secure a marriage and family therapy license.  This led to a career at Sansum Clinic where she worked for approximately 30 years. With her career coming to a close, she planned to continue participating in humanitarian trips. She had already joined efforts in Guatemala, India, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and Vietnam earlier and looked forward to joining the Peace Corps in Africa. However, this plan was quickly put aside when a new organization geared towards providing local humanitarian medical volunteerism came to speak during one of her local therapy organization luncheons.  Lynn understood the necessity of this type of local outreach and this provided her with the opportunity to directly impact her local community. At the start of her volunteering, the organization was in its infancy – clinic consisted of a couple of doctors, a nurse and a handful of volunteers. There was a single table of supplies at Pershing Park with  little street outreach. The office space we all know and love had not been acquired yet and Lynn’s basement would be the storage area for Doctors Without Wall’s supplies for the first 3-4 years of her involvement.

With 12 years of distance from that initial lunch meeting, Lynn continues to devote her time, energy, and resources to continuing the expansion and management of our organization. While doing good for the community, this group has in turn bettered her compassion and understanding for a vulnerable population. With time, Lynn hopes to see Doctor’s Without Walls steadily grow and continue to include and influence the students within the community. Additionally, she looks to provide more standardized care through affiliations with local health centers. While satisfied with her impact on Doctors Without Walls, Lynn hopes to one day return to humanitarian work abroad and volunteer in Africa.