In December, Pranav Shetty briefed Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at International Medical Corps' Ebola treatment facility in Bong County, Liberia. (International Medical Corps)

Responding to medical emergencies across the globe isn't the most glamorous or lucrative job for a physician. The post will take you to spots such as Haiti, Libya, South Sudan, Jordan and Liberia--all of which Pranav Shetty has visited as global emergency health coordinator for the non-profit International Medical Corps.

But occasionally, there are perks.

Tuesday night, in recognition of Shetty's efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa, he'll be sitting in Michelle Obama's box during the State of the Union address.

Shetty deployed to Liberia in August, long before most NGOs and the U.S. military poured into the country, to help start and run two Ebola treatment units in rural parts of the country. I wrote about IMC's efforts to start a 51-bed facility in Bong County last September, a time when getting treatment for Ebola in rural Liberia meant many hours of travel over terrible, cratered roads. The organization also runs another treatment unit in Kakata and two more in Sierra Leone.

The New York Times did this wonderful series on the facility as well.

On Thursday, Shetty heads to Guinea to determine what Los Angeles-based IMC might do there to help defeat the virus, which has infected more than 21,000 people in West Africa, killing more than 8,600 of them.

"It's a privilege and an honor to represent International Medical Corps as well as the thousands of medical volunteers" in West Africa who are working to stop the Ebola epidemic, he said in an interview.

Shetty was one of the first people I called when Washington Post photographer Michel du Cille collapsed on assignment not far from the Bong Ebola facility. He sent two staffers to help before du Cille passed away.

Also among the guests in the first lady's box will be Larry J. Merlo, president and chief executive officer of drug store chain CVS, which became the first major retail pharmacy to pull tobacco from store shelves.