Familiar with providing care to international patients, Children’s Hospital Colorado has made several efforts over the years to influence these patients’ care and long-term health.
One of the hospital’s most elaborate efforts occurred in early 2011, when it hosted five children from Chile who received urological surgeries here in Colorado. It was one of Children’s Colorado’s greatest international outreach efforts – until now. This month, the Global Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado, in an inaugural medical mission trip, hopes to provide surgical care to approximately 40 children in their home country of Guatemala.
Consistent with its patient care mission, Children’s Colorado will sponsor short-term medical missions in partnership with the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center, a local surgery center in Guatemala City.
The Moore Pediatric Surgical Center is a cooperative venture between several U.S.-based children’s hospitals to serve extremely poor children in Guatemala by providing access to life-changing surgical procedures. The Shalom Foundation operates the Center; they provide humanitarian assistance to children and their families living in extreme poverty.
Creating a village
“As a founding member of the center, we have the opportunity to provide leadership around pediatric surgical efforts,” said Amy Casseri, chief strategy officer at Children’s Colorado. “It’s like creating a village around one of the poorest countries in Central America with the long-term goal of capacity building.”
Fifteen members from various departments at Children’s Colorado will leave for Guatemala City, Guatemala on Jan. 21. They will spend a week at the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center, a modern surgical facility, performing ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeries.
The team held a kick-off event held on Nov. 17, where they were briefed on what would need to be completed prior to embarking on the eight-day trip.
Gregory Allen, MD, and Patricia Yoon, MD, both ENT surgeons, are the team leads. A resident, two fellows, an anesthesiologist and several nurses will participate in the trip. Additionally, two members of the Global Health Institute and Amy Casseri, chief strategy officer, will travel with the group.
“Every time I go on a medical mission, I feel I receive so much more than I am able to give,” Dr. Allen said.
Late Sat., Jan. 21 the team will depart to Guatemala. Early Sun., Jan. 22, the team will begin to screen more than 60 patients during the pre-operative clinic. Surgeries will be performed Jan. 23-26 and patients will be seen a post-operative clinic on Jan. 27.
It will be a very busy week for all those involved, with an anticipated 45 procedures including, but not limited to, cleft lip/palate and branchial cleft repairs, tonsillectomies/adenoidectomies, ventilation tubes, neck mass removals and others as needed.
Earlier this year, a partnership formed between the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado to establish the Global Health Institute at Children’s Colorado.
Contributing to success
The Center for Global Health and the Global Health Institute strive to contribute to improving the health and welfare of the world’s poorest populations, focusing on family and child health. The institute will be the central point of contact at Children’s Colorado to support international activities.
Activities include partnering with one or more organizations to build capacity within identified international communities and delivering on-going clinical services (e.g. continuing consultative support, training and education). Support will also be given to the evacuation of children in need, either due to a natural disaster or on an individual need basis.
You too can contribute to the success of this trip and become part of Children’s Colorado’s Global Health community:
• Donate now: Every dollar helps towards purchasing supplies, such as multi-vitamins and vitamin C and Zinc for the children receiving surgeries, sending the supplies and sponsoring a team member. Giving at every level will help Children’s Colorado raise at least $5,000 for this trip. Click here to donate.
• Stay in touch: Follow Global Health Institute activities during the trip through this blog and on Children’s Colorado’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.