Hello and Goodbye, Dr. Moreno and Dr. Aponte!

Image of Dr. Juan Antonio Moreno observing surgeon, Dr. Art Dipatri Our bi-directional bridge of solidarity is alive and well as Bolivian neurosurgeons, Juan Antonio Moreno and Karin Aponte, just finished 5 weeks of extraordinary training here in the U.S. They attended the American Association of Neurological Surgeons conference in New Orleans, worked alongside world class neurosurgeons in the greater Chicagoland and Boston areas, and connected with the Federation for International Education in Neurological Surgery. What does this mean for them and for us?  "This Solidarity Visit, in the making for many years, is the completion of a circle. We've reached out to the Bolivian neurosurgical community and they have reciprocated by coming to us. The new educational opportunities opened by connections made in this visit could further transform the future of neurosurgery in Bolivia," says Founding/New Initiatives Director Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa.

Image of Dr. Karin Aponte (right) at AANS Conference with Dr. Roberta Glick

Solidarity Bridge’s Neurosurgery Program has done much in recent years to empower the Bolivian neurosurgery community so that they may better serve their fellow citizens, thanks to the leadership of our longtime board members/missioners, Dr. Enrique Via-Reque and Dr. Richard Moser, and missioners Dr. Art DiPatri and Dr. Roberta Glick. On numerous occasions we've brought training and materials to the professional neurosurgery communities in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. But a new and different dynamic developed when Juan Antonio and Karin came here last month for observational learning at Central Dupage Hospital, Evanston Hospital, Lurie Children's Hospital, Stroger Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital and University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Boston. In these settings, they attended lectures and workshops and met many eminent neurosurgeons. "This solidarity visit was an optimal opportunity to help Juan Antonio and Karin and the patients awaiting them in Bolivia. They will be the leaders in their community where they will attempt to implement things they have learned here," said Dr. Via-Reque. "And this visit also enabled many USA physicians to contribute to the well-being of future patients in Bolivia. It served as a means for us to work for social justice by imparting knowledge to the visiting physicians."  Dr. Moser added, "We all benefit when we realize how much we share in common no matter the differences in language, geography, education or socio-economic status."

Dr. Juan Antonio Moreno had this to say about his USA experience:

"After working for eight years in Bolivia with Solidarity Bridge, Dr. Aponte and I were proud to be on this mission to the United States. We are committed to learning the most from our friends here regarding hospital organization, technical skills and knowledge.  This is really special because it gives me the chance to change lives, expecting nothing in return but the goal of a mission accomplished. I truly believe that throughout the world there are many pure hearts waiting to be called—people who will give their own life for others—and the best example of this is Solidarity Bridge. It’s very important to take this opportunity to thank the people of Solidarity Bridge, who made this trip possible, and we expect to increase our participation in the future. Gracias!"

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