At the age of 13, Kris Prenger, MD ‘87 embraced Christianity, a decision that shaped a life of caring for the underserved through medicine, education and community development. Originally from Ohio, she attended Bowling Green State University for undergrad and went on to pursue her medical degree from Ohio State and specialized in Family Medicine. Today, Dr. Prenger is devoted to service, offering clinical care as a medical missionary doctor in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated and poorest countries in the world. From where Dr.
Prenger works, the closest government health facility is an hour away, making it difficult for the members of the community to receive adequate care. Dr. Prenger offers relief by providing on-call obstetrics and gynecology care, training community health workers and assisting in the organizational development of the community.
Dr. Prenger made the decision to work in Bangladesh while she was a student at Ohio State’s College of Medicine. After listening to a medical missionary doctor share experiences from working in Bangladesh at a meeting of her Christian Medical and Dental Association student group, Dr. Prenger decided to complete her fourth year elective there. After the experience, she knew Bangladesh would be a significant part of her future.
“I was visiting a village and thought, ‘I could live here,’” says Dr. Prenger. “I knew that was the kind of medicine I wanted to practice: going to people rather than them coming into a hospital setting.”
Today, Dr. Prenger engages with the community in ways far beyond patient care. She trains and supervises Bangladeshi doctors and midwives, low-literacy health volunteers, group facilitators and paramedics. She also works with community chaplains, creates funding proposals and is a team leader for an international group of cross-cultural workers in Bangladesh.
“I have to say [my favorite part] is the opportunity it affords to develop relationships with people I am privileged to serve as well as those I work with—fellow doctors and healthcare workers,” says Dr. Prenger.
Along with the friendships she built in Bangladesh, Dr. Prenger greatly values the support she receives from family and medical school friends back in the United States. Her experience at Ohio State helped her develop an understanding of quality medical services and to embrace lifetime learning. Most importantly, it exposed her to the wonderful opportunity to serve as a medical missionary in Bangladesh.