An Edmonton-based doctor will be heading to the Philippines to help co-ordinate disaster relief efforts.

Rashad Chin, an emergency room doctor and member of the University of Alberta faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, will be serving as the response co-ordinator for the Canadian Medical Assistance Teams.

“The tentative plan right now is to find a place where we can provide the most help and set up a field hospital,” he explained.

“We have a mobile hospital. It’s actually a field hospital that is inflatable.”

The 300-pound inflatable hospital is already on-route to the Philippines along with supplies for the 14-member team set to leave from Canada.  

 “Certainly we won’t have the resources that we have here but at the end of the day the biggest thing is that we make smart decisions to help people.”

The organization also includes food rations for the team so they will not be a drain on local resources.

It is something that has become a way of life for Chin, who has done this before following the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan.

“Once you hit the ground and you are actually seeing people, meeting them and meeting their families and walking through their communities or the communities that were destroyed recently, that is when it really hits you.

“Much of the time you are working so hard that it becomes something you put in the back of your mind.”

Chin described the experience as emotion and explained that the hardest part was leaving the countries he assisted and returning back to Canada.

 “Everything you see here feels like luxury – just having running water, or having a shelter or being protected from the rain.”

Having finished medical school in 2008, Chin completed a Master of Science in disaster medicine while undertaking his residency at the University of Alberta hospital.

“I think it is part of my identity to want to help people and that is why I have chosen this career and this profession and this life choice to do that here at home, working in our emergency department, but also do that in other parts of the world.”

Chin will leave on Sunday, November 17 and return around December 10.

With files from Amanda Anderson