Deacon Dr. Don Bouchard, D.O., MBA
Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan
Deacon Dr. Don Bouchard took an interesting path to blending faith and work life. With advanced degrees in business and medicine, Dr. Don left his medical practice to start a non-profit, Holy Family Healthcare. Combining his ministry with medical and social programs, he is improving the quality of life for thousands of men, women, and children in Michigan.
With offices in Kalamazoo and Hartford, this authentically Catholic facility provides pediatric, women’s health and social work services, among others, to immigrant and low-income families at no cost. Holy Family operates as an integral partner with the Diocese of Kalamazoo to promote and train for Natural Family Planning. In 2018, Dr. Don’s organization handled 9,000 patient visits for pediatric, adult, counseling, and women’s health.
With no restrictions such as those imposed by government programs, (for example, showing a photo ID), more people can be helped for longer periods of time. No one is turned away for lack of identification or ability to pay.
But Dr. Don’s efforts are not limited to healthcare.
Reaching out to the needy (regardless of faith), Holy Family Healthcare operates the largest food pantry in Allegan County, one of the nine counties in southwest Michigan that comprise the Diocese of Kalamazoo. The food pantry served over 1,000 families, with more than 3,500 individuals purchasing more than 150,000 pounds of food. The non-profit also holds a free clothing “sale” for those in need.
Holy Family Healthcare also makes it possible for Hispanic/Latino families to attend Catholic schools. La Escuela Familia was established to bring Hispanic/Latino families together for education in both faith and culture. Seventeen children received a full Catholic education (including uniforms, lunches, and tuition).
Dr. Don not only addresses medical needs of those he meets, he also works with entire families to integrate prayer into their lives, eliminate distractions and proactively address potential warning signs of addiction. During migrant camp season he reaches out to migrants to provide opportunities to attend mass as well as to take advantage of medical services that are provided through mobile units the staff uses to travel to those in need.
Neither time of day nor distance deter Dr. Don from helping those in need. When a young girl injured first her collarbone, then her arm, he drove more than an hour on a Saturday evening to check on her condition. After he assured them the child did not need to return to the hospital, the mother said her daughter felt better, safe, and secure at the healing hands of Dr. Don.
The deacon says, “Service to the poor and marginalized is our responsibility, our duty, but mostly our pleasure. We strive to make people feel welcomed, loved, and a valued member of the human family. Our apostolate has allowed our employees and volunteers the freedom to do what is right, the freedom to discern God’s will for the other and to act in a tangible way to alleviate suffering, if only for a minute.”