Geisinger Physician Helps Afghan Evacuees

When Afghani Roshan, M.D. learned that planes carrying evacuees from Afghanistan were headed to Philadelphia, she instantly knew she had to help. The Geisinger Wyoming Valley emergency medicine physician was raised in a Pashto-speaking household. Her parents and older siblings escaped Afghanistan in the early 1980s under circumstances much like today’s evacuees. Having grown up hearing their stories, Dr. Roshan felt the least she could do was welcome frightened and weary people to the U.S. in their own language.

Dr. Roshan reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Medical Reserve Corps to offer her linguistic services, but once they learned she was a physician, they quickly asked her to help organize and run the medical operation at the Philadelphia International Airport. For the last few weeks, Dr. Roshan was often one of the first faces countless evacuees saw upon landing in the U.S.

“My parents and siblings are delighted and proud that I am able to help. They have always looked for ways they can pay it forward,” she said, adding that she has found it to be personally rewarding even through small acts such as greeting the evacuees, “I greet them in a Pashto phrase which translates to ‘Welcome, I hope you arrived safely.’ This takes them by surprise but allows them to open up and smile. It brings me joy to see the little ones running around the airport and to know that they have more opportunities here. I hope that by seeing an Afghan American female physician, they recognize that they also have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.”