Written by Jodi Grahl

As many families prepare for “back-to-school” season, we at Solidarity Bridge are preparing for “back-to-mission” time. It has been a busy year—our mission teams completed four trips between January and April, and we have scheduled four more for the coming months.

Today, August 11, our fifth team flies south, this time to the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Five Solidarity Bridge missioners will team up with friends old and new to perform a week of surgeries at the public San Juan de Dios Hospital. In conjunction with our mission surgeries, the hospital is organizing an intensive course on laparoscopic general surgery for its medical students, interns, and residents. They will take advantage of the specialists convoked for this mission visit and provide training to many more people than can fit in the OR each day.

Dr. Magued Khouzam (right) greets Dr. Boris Urna, his Bolivian counterpart, at San Juan de Dios Hospital in October 2016.

Dr. Magued Khouzam (right) greets Dr. Boris Urna, his Bolivian counterpart, at San Juan de Dios Hospital in October 2016.

On this general surgery mission—our third to this hospital in three years—Dr. Magued Khouzam, a Springfield, Ohio–based general surgeon, will once again lead the OR team. Anesthesiologist Dr. Nabeel Khan of Atlanta will also join us for his second Solidarity Bridge mission trip. We are grateful to our many missioners who journey with us year after year. Their commitment to this work, and to the relationships they form with their Bolivian colleagues, embodies true solidarity.  

Finally, we are pleased to welcome a new mission physician to our team. Internist Dr. Kim Grahl of Evanston will fill multiple roles, participating in patient evaluations and pre- and post-op care while also accompanying the mission team, our patients, and their families as trip chaplain. In addition, Kim will write about her experience as guest blogger. Elena Morales-Grahl will serve as interpreter and medical supplies assistant.

Stay tuned for more updates from our team in Santa Cruz! 


Jodi Grahl is the Director of Gynecology, General Surgery, and Pacemaker Programs at Solidarity Bridge. She is leading our 2017 General Surgery Mission Trip, taking place August 11 to 19.

Throughout the year, our Bolivian partner surgeons perform gall bladder and hernia surgeries for impoverished patients identified through our Bolivian partner offices in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Mission trips give Solidarity Bridge the opportunity to deliver vital equipment and supplies and provide ongoing training. Our goal is to continue to advance skills in these procedures and expand competencies in these and other high-complexity surgeries such as megacolon and various oncological surgeries. Learn more about our General Surgery Program

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