Neurosurgery Team Begins Whirlwind Week

Written by Rachel McDonnell

Yesterday our Neurosurgery mission team departed for Santa Cruz. This diverse team of 13 missioners includes spinal surgeons, neurosurgeons, industry representatives, and physician-educators. Landing in Santa Cruz this morning, they stepped out into the heat of summer and hit the ground running for a whirlwind week of partnering.

Dr. Art DiPatri (top left) consults with his Bolivian colleagues on a prior mission trip in 2015.

Dr. Art DiPatri (top left) consults with his Bolivian colleagues on a prior mission trip in 2015.

The first days of the trip will be dedicated to serving patients at the main public hospital and the children’s hospital. US Doctors John Weaver and Fanor Saavedra Pozo will collaborate with their peers to provide complex spinal surgeries, supported by valuable equipment donations from Globus Medical. Meanwhile, Dr. Art DiPatri will reconnect with his colleagues in the neurosurgery department at the Children’s Hospital. They will continue the collaboration and training that began more than six years ago.

At the same time, the city of Santa Cruz will be preparing to host the 38th Annual Congress of Latin American Neurosurgeons. Solidarity Bridge is honored to participate in this important event. Prior to the start of the congress, we will offer a two-day advanced boot camp training course. This is our second time hosting this type of course which was developed by the Society of Neurosurgeons. This boot camp provides both lecture-style and hands-on learning in neurosurgical techniques. We’re proud to offer this training for nearly 30 neurosurgical residents, many of whom will be attending on scholarships generously provided by Integra LifeSciences. During the congress, three of our missioners will also present on topics requested by their Latin American peers.

This trip is a true example of our mission at its best; providing needed surgery for low-income patients, offering training in complex surgical techniques, resourcing our partners with high-value equipment donations, and most of all, building strong relationships of solidarity between physicians in the US and Latin America. We look forward to the many opportunities for networking that this week presents. We’re especially grateful for dedicated time to meet with our key Bolivian partners to discuss the ongoing initiatives of our Neurosurgery Program and together envision new steps for the future.