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Doctors, nurses and other staff at YNHH have been putting down their stethoscopes and scalpels and picking up hammers and drills.

Habitat for Humanity

What began with two gastroenterologists became three new houses for families living in New Haven's Hill neighborhood - and a promise of more to come.

Suzanne Lagarde, MD, and Michael Bennick, MD, both attending physicians at Yale-New Haven Hospital, have been volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven for several years. Then when Richard D'Aquila joined YNHH as chief operating officer a few years ago, the hospital and its medical staff joined forces to co-sponsor their first Habitat house in 2008. They've built two more since then.

At the dedication of the hospital's first Habitat house, Peter Herbert, MD, YNHH chief of staff, related a conversation he'd had that morning with the homeowner who came up to him and said, "Let me ask you. What kind of doctors are these, doctors who build houses?"

Said Dr. Herbert, "We have doctors who care. We have orthopedic specialists who can make the frame of the house tall and strong; dermatologists who can help put the skin on the building; and cosmetic surgeons who make the house beautiful. But these two, who are here today? They are gastroenterologists. So you know the plumbing will work!"

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YNHH and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.

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