There are two very interesting things about Dr. Matthew Cappiello. The California doctor, who is dual certified in internal medicine and pediatrics, is more than a physician. He has a side gig as an indie rock singer/songwriter, and he is also a dedicated global medical relief volunteer.
Dr. Cappiello grew up in California with his mother, originally from East London, and father from New Jersey. During undergraduate and medical studies in Southern California, he traveled to New Orleans to perform medical relief work for Hurricane Katrina with African-American civil rights groups. He was also deeply involved in work in Tijuana, Mexico. He feels strongly that part of charity is showing solidarity with disadvantaged and underprivileged groups; this sentiment brings him to his current mission working with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, organized by IMANA Medical Relief (IMR).
“I’ve been to IMANA fundraising sessions before, and they told me they were recruiting for medical volunteers,” said Dr. Cappiello. “I don’t want to spend my money on a vacation. I want to use my time to give something back to the community.”
“So many of the issues embedded in the Rohingya crisis are related to religious freedom and interfaith solidarity. IMANA’s involvement helps towards this type of advocacy. Charitable groups like IMANA Medical Relief (IMR) can do a lot to rebuild the Rohingya community and diaspora.”
In the field, Dr. Cappiello encountered more than simple medical relief work. The Kutupalong Rohingya camp – currently the largest refugee camp in the world – is suffering from a varicella outbreak, which is most prevalent in young children as well as high-risk groups including neonates. His team has encountered tropical infectious diseases which are uncommonly seen in Western settings, including parasitic conditions. He has also coordinated with field hospitals to transfer critically ill patients, including one child with a rare blood disorder who urgently required a life-saving operation.
Upon his return from Bangladesh, Dr. Cappiello plans to return to his medical work and his hobby as an indie rock singer; he plans to release a solo album within the next few months.
To donate to Rohingya mission efforts, visit https://imana.networkforgood.com/projects/43196-saverohingiya.
[Above] Dr. Cappiello on mission in Bangladesh
[Above] Dr. Cappiello performing his music for an audience