Written by Mary McCann Sanchez, Senior Director of Programs

A calling is a reason to celebrate....the inner voice that awakens the desire to reach out, choose a profession, hone our skills, and journey with others is indeed the voice to be followed.

2015 Neurosurgery Team en route to Tarija, Bolivia.

2015 Neurosurgery Team en route to Tarija, Bolivia.

I have many reasons to celebrate. Today, just three weeks after joining Solidarity Bridge as the Senior Director of Programs, I was called to Tarija, Bolivia, close to the the border with Argentina, where I accompany nine other individuals on a neurosurgery mission. From today through October 9, Solidarity Bridge’s skilled team will perform minimally invasive spine surgeries and trans-nasal endoscopic pituitary tumor surgeries for individuals who otherwise would lack access to this level of professional treatment.

The call to serve in Bolivia is not new to this group of missioners. Already in 2015, Solidarity Bridge has served patients ages two to 72 via life-changing neurosurgery. Significantly, the calling is not only to heal but also to empower. Building on Solidarity Bridge’s commitment to helping develop the surgical disciplines, missioners will move on from Tarija to Santa Cruz to present a neurosurgical resident training course never offered before outside of the US. This course, titled: Boot Camp: Fundamentals of Neurosurgery, will be held in Santa Cruz on October 10 and 11.

U.S. neurosurgeons Dr. Alec Vaezi and Dr. Richard Moser, accompanied by Senior Director of Programs Mary McCann Sanchez, discuss mission cases with Bolivian ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Marcelo Ugarte. 

U.S. neurosurgeons Dr. Alec Vaezi and Dr. Richard Moser, accompanied by Senior Director of Programs Mary McCann Sanchez, discuss mission cases with Bolivian ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Marcelo Ugarte. 

As I join in these activities, I am energized by the power of solidarity in action. Board member and Medical Director of our Neurosurgery Program, Dr. Richard Moser, worked closely over the past year with colleague Dr. Roberta Glick, Medtronic, the Bolivian Neurological Society, the U.S. Society of Neurological Surgeons, and Solidarity Bridge and Puente de Solidaridad staff to make this training possible. An educator by trade, I am excited by the Boot Camp’s rich combination of theory and practice through interactive lectures and practical skills stations. The residents come from Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, and other Latin American countries, and the faculty is made up of 10 US and 10 Bolivian neurosurgeons.

We call out to you! Please join us for updates and to learn more about how this mission will scale-up the capacity of medical professionals in the Southern Cone to better serve a population in critical need of specialized care.

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