April 13, 2020.

Dear PHL friends,

Project Health for Leon made a very successful trip to Leon in January 2020.  We saw about 175 patients in the clinic at hospital HEODRA, including 40 or so pediatric patients in conjunction with Dra. Nubia Berrios.  An interventional team, primarily from Chapel Hill, performed 16 successful interventions, including valvuloplasties, ASD/PDA closures, and coarctation stenting.

Our ambitious plan was to return in July with an EP group led by Dr. Brumfield, and in October with a surgical group headed by Dr. Ted Koutlas. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has put these plans in jeopardy. Dr. Brumfield’s group has postponed the 2020 EP mission for September 5th-13th. I don’t think anyone knows when global travel will safely resume, though I hope that will be a possibility by then.  More problematic will be the effects of the infection on Nicaragua. The few cases so far reported there are almost certainly an underestimation. The country, with its high rate of poverty, scant medical care, and lack of resources, is certainly at a high risk for widespread infection. We are currently working on getting personal protective equipment to send it to the frontline workers in Nicaragua. We should know more about this in the near future, but we certainly don’t want to put our teams in jeopardy.

We have made several changes in PHL leadership. Jack Rose and John Paar will each continue to be actively involved; each has earned the title President Emeritus. Carlos Espinoza was elected as President, and we are thankful for the outstanding service done by Eric Van Tassel as former president. We are fortunate to have a dedicated, active Board of Directors.  Please feel free to communicate with us.

Regarding PHL communication, please note the following — our mailing address has changed, as shown on the heading of this letter. We will continue mailing a paper copy of our annual newsletter in addition to posting it in our website: Our periodic updates will be sent by email. If your email address has changed, or you have not previously sent us your email, please confirm your preferred email address to Carlos Espinoza at

The overall goals of PHL remain the same: to provide specialty and general health care to the citizens of Nicaragua, to educate Nicaraguan and American medical professionals, and to provide needed medical supplies and medications to health care facilities in Nicaragua. PHL receives no government funding. Therefore, our work depends on private donations. Medical equipment, supplies, and shipping are very expensive, and your financial contributions are needed in order that PHL can continue its mission of helping the people of Nicaragua. Please consider making a contribution. Checks should be made payable to PHL and mailed to the address found in the letterhead. Contributions are tax-deductible. If you are interested in volunteering for a brigade, please contact Carlos Espinoza through his email provided above.

Many thanks for your interest and support, and be assured that we hope to resume the project when that is a possibility.

Carlos A. Espinoza, MD, FACP, President

Mike Yeung, MD, FACC, Vice president

Jack Rose, MD, FACC, President Emeritus

John Paar, MD, President Emeritus