John and Linda Pajka are well-acquainted with the importance of international outreach. Having completed healthcare service trips to many developing countries, they have seen first-hand the impact that can be made in a short time by a few dedicated individuals. Recently, John and Linda started an endowment to support a new medical education program providing eyecare in developing countries. This program not only allows OSU Ophthalmology residents to experience healthcare in underprivileged countries, but also provides eye care where the need is greatest. These mentored, service-learning experiences help shape future ophthalmologists to provide the best possible care with a spirit of compassion. John graduated with honors from OSU College of Medicine in 1986 and completed his ophthalmology residency at OSU Havener Eye Institute in 1990. Linda completed her nursing degree in 1986 at Ohio State.
Today, Dr. Pajka is an extremely busy ophthalmologist from Lima, Ohio who, together with his wife Linda, spends his vacation time bringing eye care to under-privileged countries, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Uzbekistan, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, and Costa Rica.
“People ask me why I do this mission thing so much,” said Pajka “and I frequently find myself quoting Dr. Havener, ‘Find a job you love and you don’t have to work anymore.’ Ever since my residency at OSU, my wife Linda and I wanted to do some sort of mission work.”
John and Linda have been all over the world, from Africa to Asia to Central America, bringing ophthalmic care to thousands of impoverished people. They are tireless in their dedication to restoring sight. They have donated their time and resources to work with local eye surgeons, providing cataract surgery and care to people who otherwise would remain sightless. When the opportunity to start a program that would educate future eye surgeons and help those in greatest need, they were enthusiastic in their support.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to do this, giving back, paying forward,” said Pajka. “I have a great job and missions like this help remind me why I went into medicine, to help people. There is nothing like it!”
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