Besides working with numerous charities in the Brazos Valley, Dr. Noreen Johnson from College Station is also know for her generous work in other countries, including that in Tobago. Dr. Johnson has been practicing medicine for more than thirty years and is considered a leader and inspiration to others.
Dr. Johnson never thought she would be considered a pioneer in robotic surgery, but that's exactly what she is.
Johnson says, "I was among the first three physicians that got trained in robotic surgery and among the first two that got trained in robotic gynecology. I love challenges and this was a challenge and it was really fulfilling as the years went by."
And as time passed since learning this highly technical surgical technique, Dr. Johnson has willingly shared her knowledge.
"We have a saying in medicine and in surgery, see one, do one, teach one. I have trained and worked with a lot of other physicians helping them develop the skill set. You know, to whom a lot is given, a lot is expected," says Johnson.
With a heart full of love, Dr. Johnson has lived her life to and help others and she's never forgotten to people of her homeland.
Johnson says, "I was born on the island of Trinidad. And Trinidad and Tobago are twin islands and Tobago is the less served medically."
While on a visit home more than a decade ago, a conversation changed Dr. Johnson's life for ever.
"It happened about 13 years ago. I was visiting my mom in Trinidad and she knew that I was doing mission work in Africa, China, etc. and she just planted a seed that grew into what we now call Touch Tobago. "She said to me you know my dear, you go all over the world helping other people, why don't you come home and do something for your own people here? And those words stuck with me. They were given 13 years ago by my mom who's now 99," recalls Johnson.
The work on the island hasn't been easy and the hours are often long, but the time spent helping others is appreciated.
"That has been very rewarding because over the years, it's always a welcome experience for me to go back and see somebody bring me a baby and say, Dr. Johnson, this is one of yours. It's refreshing to practice in an environment where it's not dependent on getting paid, where you can just see the gratitude of the people," says Johnson
While money isn't accepted by Dr. Johnson's team of about 15 professionals, villagers often give them fresh fruit and fish to show their appreciation.
Johnson believes, "giving rather than receiving it just feels so much better."
With the respect and gratitude of those around her, Dr. Johnson and her team look forward to continuing the work that has touched so many.
"I would say I would do the same thing all over again. It's that close to my heart that I can't see myself doing anything else," says Johnson.
Though Dr. Noreen Johnson began Touch Tobago, she knows the organization wouldn't be as successful as it's been with out the help of community members both the Brazos Valley and in Tobago.
When asked about the number of robotic surgeries she performed, Dr. Johnson says she isn't keeping track but if she had to guess, she say the number is around a thousand...give or take a few.
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