Louisville Medicine Volume 66, Issue 2 | Page 12

GLMS FOUNDATION 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 F 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 10 LOUISVILLE MEDICINE 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.