2013 Team

Cataract Surgical and Medical Mission June 30-July 12, 2013 Summary 

A Promise to Peru’s first week consisted of the cataract surgical mission and a sub specialty medical clinic. Our organization was invited to operate at the new municipal hospital in Urubamba, by the Peruvian Minister of Health.  Our group transported a full service eye clinic and 2 portable OR’s (via 50 suitcases). We provided over 600 eye exams, 50 surgical procedures and by the end of the 2 weeks 1,700 pairs of glasses were distributed.  During the same week we had 3 days of specialty clinics (Infectious disease, nephrology, dermatology) and introduced portable ultrasonography to our program for the first year. Our physicians also gave lectures to the local physicians on requested topics. Finally that week, we opened dialogue with the CEO of the largest hospital in Cuzco to possibly have an exchange of students/residents in the future.  The second week was composed of a traveling medical and eye clinic.  Approximately 125 patients were evaluated per day either in remote towns or in clinics.  Welcomed new additions this year were the women’s health clinic, ultrasonography and 2 optometry students that were able to refract the patients for complicated distance corrections.  All of the students did a great job assuming their daily responsibilities and provided the perfect example of the ability to have a program where students from various institutions and programs can work harmoniously and effectively together.  There are numerous missions, but few that can boast about this fact.  Finally, this year we introduced the idea of taking these experiences and examining them as research projects. We were able to coordinate a joint research study with several of our med students along with several  MPH students and  Tia Palermo, PhD from SB MPH program. IRB approval was obtained from both Stony Brook and the Peruvian Minister of Health to examine the impact of cataract surgery on the health related quality of life of this patient population. We believe that our experiences here may generate up to 4 abstracts this year at various conferences and will include our students. The results of these endeavors remain to be seen.

The teamwork started 10 months prior, initially with the core team of physicians Shanley, Di Gioia, Coritsidis, Sable, Rozas and myself.  We worked with the director of the NGO, Friends NE, Mike Cipoletti and Travis Kumph to coordinate the surgical and medical weeks with the Peruvian Drs Silva and Morales and with Helena Van Engelen from Foundacion Ninos del Arco Iris and Edwin Gonzales from La Quinta Hotel.  Together with our motivated and energetic medical students countless hours of preparation went into planning the 2 week mission.  Despite obtaining the vast majority of the medications, surgical supplies and intraocular implants as donations the mission still spent close to $10,000 on operating expenses.  One of our goals this year will be to fundraise not only to cover operating expenses but also to purchase diagnostic ophthalmic equipment.  We have many plans for our non profit organization and whether you physically join us on our next mission or not, it is my hope that you will spread the word about A Promise to Peru, Inc. and help us grow.

We were fortunate to have each and every one of  our participants volunteer their time to spend with us in Peru. I believe that many of you have created new friendships that will last a lifetime (I know that my family and I have) and the feeling of offering your knowledge and your time to people that have so much less that we do, is really indescribable. Again,on behalf of the board members… John Shanley, Natalie Di Gioia, George Coritsidis, Mike Sable and I, we sincerely thank you for all of your hard work and participation in A Promise to Peru, Inc.’s Cataract Surgical and Medical Mission 2013.

All the Best,
Debra Messina, M.D.