The GLMS Foundation, in partnership with Hand In Hand Ministries, has long been a source of light
and health for the country of Nicaragua. A collection of physicians visited the island in January
2018 for a soul soothing mission of accomplished medical care. Here are the accounts of three phy-
sicians who made the trip.
CATCHING THE GOOD INFECTION
Manuel Grimaldi, MD
or yet another year, Hand In Hand
Ministries and the Greater Louis-
ville Medical Society have joined
forces in a medical mission to serve
the Managua Path to Change project
in Nicaragua: a dream to bring youth from
ignorance to success through education. Our
role has been to provide 90 children, young
adults and their extended families medical services during an in-
tensive week of service, meaningful discourse and the building of
bridges. In addition, our mission has developed solid, lasting collab-
orative bonds and educational opportunities with various hospitals.
Specifically this year, members of the neurosurgical division of the
University of Louisville, under Dr. Joseph Neimat, collaborated
with their counterparts at the Managua Lenin Fonseca Hospital.
Our veteran and well-seasoned biomedical engineer, Mr. Court-
ney Nanney, worked in different institutions teaching and fixing
anything that needed fixing. He has linked the Managua hospitals
in a collaborative and seamless effort which led to the creation of
the Central American Bioengineering Association. The rest of the
2018 team (Drs. Weinstock, Rigby, Laufer, Brockmann and Kloecker)
provided primary pediatric and adult care for the Path to Change
families using space at the Clínica de San Francisco, a local NGO
offering affordable care for a vulnerable population.
I played the role of the navigational troubleshooter for my wor-
thy team members. Since I am both fluent in Spanish and inspired
by the 2017 KMA Annual Meeting presentation about Domestic
Violence, this subject became part of a medical literacy curriculum.
In the mornings, I spoke with Nicaraguan teenagers about self es-
teem, dignity, boundaries, respect, the gift of sexuality and dreams.
We pondered the realistic issues regarding domestic violence with
adults but, unfortunately, few males attended. In the afternoon, we
gathered the adults in the clinic’s waiting area and chatted about
balanced nutrition, obesity, hypertension and more.
We realize that change does not happen overnight, but some
seeds will germinate, leading to fruition.
A most appealing aspect of the mission was the cultural immer-
sion experience. We ate dinner as guests of the kids’ families, and
got to know our Nicaraguan colleagues and hosts better. We were
wowed by the nighttime lava flares of the active Masaya volcano
and spent Saturday at a remote Pacific beach. In summary, work
and play are totally compatible in Central America!
For over 10 years, members of the Greater Louisville Medical
Society and others have taken time from their busy lives to answer
the call to service in Nicaragua and aid a worthy enterprise. You, the
reader, may also be moved to volunteer and keep the dream alive,
not necessarily in a foreign country but also in our own back yard.
To paraphrase C.S. Lewis: our membership needs to catch the
“good infection.” I am sure the contagion will not disappoint!
Dr. Grimaldi is a retired oncologist.