Persons in photo (R to L):  Medtronic employees:  Jeannie Kwok (Singapore), Stephan Helms-Ohama, Ph.D. (Australia), Mario Chavez, MD (Bolivia)  Srikanth Sangili (India), Juan-Lorenzo Hinojosa, Ph.D. (US), Adam Coimbra, MD (Bolivia), Rosemary Garza (US), Nile Harris (US), Neurologist (Bolivia), David Simon, Ph.D. (US) at meeting at a public Bolivian hospital.

Persons in photo (R to L):  Medtronic employees:  Jeannie Kwok (Singapore), Stephan Helms-Ohama, Ph.D. (Australia), Mario Chavez, MD (Bolivia)  Srikanth Sangili (India), Juan-Lorenzo Hinojosa, Ph.D. (US), Adam Coimbra, MD (Bolivia), Rosemary Garza (US), Nile Harris (US), Neurologist (Bolivia), David Simon, Ph.D. (US) at meeting at a public Bolivian hospital.

We weren’t kidding when we described this month as March Madness! As our second General Surgery Mission Team concludes their work this week, we’d like to share this blog by our Founder, Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa, who is steeped in Neurosurgery work in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

What are people from Singapore, the US, Australia and India doing with the Solidarity Bridge in Santa Cruz, Bolivia? They are part of Medtronic Philanthropy Global Innovation Fellows. The concept is simple. You take seasoned Medtronic professionals across the breadth of this 80,000 global company who are willing to contribute their expertise, insight, time and effort over 3 weeks and see if they can be a resource to an important effort in the developing world.

For us they are helping to clarify and further the design of our new Institute for the Development of Neurosurgery. This groundbreaking project is the fruit of many years of relationship building with the neurosurgeons of Bolivia. Over the last 12 years or so, Richard Moser, MD our Neurosurgery Program Medical Director, and myself, the Administrative Director, have worked with numerous neurosurgeons from the US and dozens of Bolivia neurosurgeons in training and resourcing that has produced a great deal of local credibility and confidence.

What do we hope will come from these 3 weeks that the Medtronic Fellows will be in Bolivia? First, we hope they can help build a local consensus on the nature and scope of the new institute. Will the institute resource all of South America or only the Bolivian neurosurgeons? Will the institute be a place where actual neurosurgery training happens or will it only include simulation environments for practice? Will the institute be able to do research that benefits the wider global neurosurgery community? These very important and far reaching questions, and other questions like them, might not be totally answered by the end of the 3 weeks, but will definitely be clarified.

It is gratifying that a company as important as Medtronic decided that what we are doing is significant enough to send some of their best and brightest. For this we are immensely grateful. After the three weeks we hope to update you with our results.

Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa, PhD
Founding/New Initiatives Director

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