Button Menu
Dr. Jeffrey Jones on Timmy Global Health trip

Personal experiences prepared ’76 alum for work, service

Jeffrey Jones was operating a corn auger, one of the chores expected of an 11-year-old boy on a Madison County, Indiana, dairy farm, when the huge, diesel-powered grinder swallowed his arm.

The auger broke his forearm, then his upper arm, before the pin sheered and he was stuck. When his mangled arm was freed and he was sent to the hospital, doctors considered amputation.

“I was just a little kid; I had no business doing the work that I was doing, but that’s how it’s done on farms,” the 1976 DePauw graduate said. “Thinking back on it, I think that was really why I got very interested in prevention. There was no safety equipment. Should an 11-year-old be operating a huge diesel and all this stuff? No. But that made a big impression on me. It was my introduction to health care. It was powerful.”

They saved the arm, and he has fairly good use of it – enough, anyway, that it did not get in the way of his career as a physician. The experience, coupled with the generosity of others, including the high school chemistry teacher who took him on a visit to DePauw, played a huge role in the way he practices.

“I’d never even heard of DePauw so I went there and I thought, this is glorious,” Jones said. “And it’s so much easier than work on the farm. Then I got a scholarship to go, the Rector. What I’m getting at is, people really helped me along the way. So I feel a certain obligation to pay back.” He regrets now that he zipped through DePauw in three years.

“You don’t have to go too far in the world to see places with great needs and great suffering. As a person, you’re limited at what you can do, but you can do something.”
– -Jeffrey Jones '76

He is travel medicine physician, caring for patients seeking preventive care before traveling and treating travelers who contract illnesses abroad. He did a family medicine residency after graduating from medical school “but I never really intended to have a traditional family medicine practice. What I really liked was prevention.” That caused him to earn master’s degrees in pharmacology in 1982 and infectious diseases in 2006 and a Master of Public Health degree in occupational medicine in 1989. He went to Peru to study for a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene in 1997.

His interest in global health caused him to join the board of the Tumaini Global Health Foundation and support founder Tom Mote’s dual visions of teaching young people about global health and opening a medical school dedicated to global health. Mote and Jones did not know each other at DePauw; they met when Mote visited Jones to prepare for a trip.

Twice a year, for two weeks at a time – so he is not away from his practice for too long – Jones joins a nongovernmental organization on a mission trip. He has lost count of how many such trips he has made – 50 or 60, he guessed – but has traveled at least seven times with Timmy Global Health and a DePauw winter-term-in-service contingent, including one last January. Last fall, he traveled to Bangladesh to provide medical care to Rohingya Muslim refugees, who had escaped rapes, killings and the decimation of their homes by the military in their home country of Myanmar.

“You don’t have to go too far in the world to see places with great needs and great suffering,” Jones said. “As a person, you’re limited at what you can do, but you can do something.”


  • Share
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Email