Recent trip

Project Health for Leon

P.O. Box 1209

Greenville, NC 27835-1209


February 23, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to forward a summary of our recent medical mission to Nicaragua, sponsored by Project Health for Leon. A total of 64 participated, a record for us. The majority are Vidant employees or residents of the Raleigh area, and included 8 medical students, 8 nurse practitioner students, and two pediatric residents. A list of the members of our group is appended.

In total, we saw over 240 patients in the adult cardiology clonic and 60 in the pediatric cardiology clinic. Of this number, nearly 100 will need surgery or a catheter based procedure to definitively treat their condition. A group from UNC-Chapel Hill accompanied us, and performed 4 successful mitral valvuloplasties, the first time we have ever done this. They wish to return in the future, and we hope to make this collaboration a permanent part of our project. We were also fortunate to have Dr. Ted Koutlas as part of the team, along with many participants from his new home in Idaho and here. they were able to perform 11 cardiac operations in 5 days, including removal of an infected defibrillator, closure of two enormous ASD’s, 3 aortic valve replacements, and 5 metal valve replacements, an amazing accomplishment reflecting exceptional skill and dedication. They also hope to return in a year.

The students were able to participate in both cardiology clinics, learning a great deal about physical examination, pathophysiology, and echocardiography. They also made rounds in the hospital with an internist and infectious disease specialist, and an obstetrician. They visited and worked in general clinic in a villager near Leon, and also had a large general clinic and educational session in another small and remote location. We had several debriefing sessions. They had a very meaningful experience, I believe.

as always, we collaborated as much as possible with Nicaraguan physicians, residents, and students, and everyone made new friends and renewed old friendships. We had meetings with Dr. Jorge Aleman, current dean, Dr Armando Matute, former dean and currently and internist, Dr Ricardo Cuadra, director of the teaching hospital, Dr. Mercedes Caseres, vice-dean, and Violeta Tenorio, representative of the health department at the hospital. I think that we exchanged a lot of useful information, and made plans for future visits later this year and next year.

In an era of increasing globalization. I think this project is meaningful and beneficial for us, our students, and our Nicaraguan colleagues, residents and patients. I wish to thank all of you for your support of our mission.



John D Rose, MD

President, Project Health for Leon