The team has now arrived back in Canada after another successful medical and dental brigade in Honduras. It's hard to believe how fast the week flew by, and the amount that we were able to do in five days of clinic. This year, we had the privilege of not only having our own extraordinary Dental Team, but also having two local dentists, Carolina and Byron, join us for the entire week of clinics. In addition, having a Pediatric Developmental/Rehabilitation Team based out of CRILE, a rehab centre in Gracias, added a whole new dimension to the work we were able to accomplish for children with special needs in the region.
MORE ABOUT THE CANADA-HONDURAS CHILDREN'S HEALTH INITIATIVE
The Canada-Honduras Children's Health Initiative (CHCHI) is a non-profit group of individuals working towards improving the health of, and health care delivery for children in Honduras. The CHCHI group (which previously did not have a formal name), started doing medical missions in Honduras after the devastation following Hurricane Mitch. Inspired by the people of Honduras and the continued need for medical support, the group continued to come on a yearly basis, and the rest is history! Over the years, the brigade has gone to different parts of the country, and worked with different Honduran populations (street youth, incarcerated youth, in hospitals, and in rural and remote regions of the country). For the last four years, the team has been concentrating its work in Gracias, Lempira. The group has evolved overtime as well, and now includes Pediatric Dentistry, Developmental Pediatrics, and Pediatric Rehabilitation in addition to Pediatric medical care.
Every year as part of the mission, the group has also tried to contribute to Honduran health care or public health with a sustainable project. Some examples have been building a well for clean water in one community; providing an autoclave in Gracias to enable surgeries to be done locally, including emergency cesarean sections; providing a transport incubator for premature and critically ill newborns; and donating containers with medical equipment to be used in different locations, including Puerto Lempira, Santa Barbara, and Gracias.
As always, there are so many incredible people who make our work possible, both at home and in Honduras. We sincerely thank every single person who made a contribution by work, donation, or support! Particularly, we would like to thank the following supporters (in alphabetical order, by region):
- Dr. Aurora Mabel Henriquez, physician and administrator, has been a key player in the ongoing collaboration and organization of our missions. She also coordinates local health care providers (local doctors and dentists) who are able to help in our free clinics, as well as arrange for translators for our group. Dr. Mabel furthermore continues to follow-up on patients we see in clinic, and ensure they get the ongoing care they require going forward. Thank you!
- AHPROCAFE Executives Mr. Armando Aguire, Mr. Miguelito Pascual, and Mr. Hermes Fernando Reyes spent the entire week with the group, driving us each day to clinics, and more than that, supporting all aspects of our time in Honduras! Thank you so much!
- Mr. Asterio Reyes, President of the Asociación de Hondureña de Productores de Café (AHPROCAFE), arranged ground transportation to clinics in Honduras, and honoured us with a special dinner at the end of our week in Honduras.
- Mr. Samuel Reyes, Minister of Defence for Honduras, generously provided a military transport by plane from La Ceiba to Gracias at the beginning and end of our week. This allowed us to save valuable time in travel, and devote it to clinical work during the week. Your support is much appreciated!
- Mr. Rafael Funes Quijada, director of CRILE, was instrumental in organizing patients for the Pediatric Development/Rehabilitation Team to see both at CRILE and at home visits in the community. Thank you, Rafael, for inspiring us with all of the work you and your team do for patients with special needs in Gracias!
- Also, we have to thank Ana, Kimberly, Sara, Laura, Sheryl, Ana, and Cristian! These young women and young man acted as translators for our group this year and did an absolutely brilliant job. They were there in morning early, ready to go, and stayed to the end of every work day. We could not have accomplished our work as effectively or efficiently without you!
In London, Ontario
- Dr. David Cavanagh, General Practitioner, donated medication and supplies.
- Dr. Peter Fendrich, Dentist, donated dental supplies.
- Dr. Clive Friedman, Pediatric Dentist, who has joined the group on many missions previously, assisted with gathering donations, organizing equipment, and provided other help and advice with pre-departure preparation for the Dental Team.
- Ms. Janine Ogglesby from the London Health Sciences Foundation helped us arrange finances and donations for our mission this year as well as in previous years!
- Mr. Paul Rutherford at Pharmasave (Huron and Highbury) generously helped us acquire many of our medications required for the mission at cost. This made a huge difference to how far our donations could go!
- Ms. Cheryl Watson from Nexion Canada helped with our travel and flight arrangements.
- Members of the Valleyview Mennonite Church and Nairn Mennonite Church donated many items for our mission, including tooth brushes, tooth paste, vitamins, and toys for the children.
In Brantford & Region
- Landsdowne Children's Centre and Brantwood Community Services supported our brigade in many ways!
- Ms. Nervana Meleka, Owner and Pharmacist at Terrace Hill Pharmacy, donated medications.
- Mr. Daniel Pecorella, Certified Orthotist from Toronto Orthopedic Services, donated many AFO's for the Rehab Team.
And of course, a big thank you to all the donors! Whether you donated a couple dollars or many, we cannot stress how important your contribution was to making our brigade a success. We are already looking forward to the work we can do next year, and hope you will continue to support us going forward!
OUR TEAM, 2016
In addition, the mission could not have been the success it was without the hard work of our team members this year. Thank you so much Dr. Fabian Gorodzinksy, Esther Kern, Dr. Tinka Kornerup, Dr. Benjamin Klein, Ashley Jakovljevic, Sharon Rich, Dr. Heather Flieger, Dr. Chloe Davidson, and Danielle Stampley! Please see each team member's biography below to find out the special skills and interests of our team members!
Dr. Fabian Gododzinsky
Dr. Gorodzinsky is a Community Pediatrician in London, Ontario who also works at the Children's Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. He is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Western University in London.
Dr. Gorodzinsky has been a part of 16 missions to Honduras with this group, and is one of the founding members. The first mission took place in 1998 following Hurricane Mitch, and since then, he has worked hard to make and maintain local contacts in Honduras and also has played an important role organizing each mission prior to departure. As Dr. Gorodzinsky is originally from Mexico and is a first-language Spanish-speaker, he has been invaluable to our brigade, not only as an experienced and resourceful Pediatrician and group leader, but also as a liaison between our team and local Honduran officials, health care providers, and community members. Through his contacts, we have been able to have much of the logistics of a mission such as ours sorted out prior to our arrival (which allows us to spend more time working clinically!). For the last nine years, Dr. Gorodzinsky has also recruited Pediatric Resident Doctors to join the team, and acts as a supervisor and teacher during clinics.
Dr. Gorodzinsky is the proud husband of Janice Gorodzinsky, who makes a very special contribution at the beginning of each mission by providing the most delicious cookies for all team members! His interests are clay sculpture and history.
Esther Kern is a veteran of the CHCHI group! She has been on 16 missions, and was also part of the first mission in 1998 following Hurricane Mitch. Esther is an experienced nurse: She completed her nursing training in Indiana and then spent 32 years of her career in London, Ontario at the London Health Sciences Centre working in many clinical areas, including Orthopedic Trauma, General Surgery, Urology, Clinical Neurosciences, and Rehabilitation. She also worked as a employee relations officer, nurse recruiter, clinical instructor in the Department of Nursing at Western University, and nurse manager. Her role in the last number of years on our missions has been in running the pharmacy, both dispensing the medications, and also providing medication information to families.
Esther is someone with a passion for volunteering and giving back to the community, and this passion has truly lead her to some interesting places! In addition to the volunteering she has done each year with our group in Honduras, she has also been on humanitarian missions in Cuba and Russia, been a Health Liason in Timmons, Ontario for First Nations communities, been an International Observer for parliamentary elections in Iraq and Turkistan in 2013, and volunteers a lot in London, Ontario.
Dr. Tinka Kornerup
Ida Margarita "Tinka" Kornerup is a vivacious member of our Dental Team, on her second brigade in Honduras with the Canada-Honduras Children's Health Initiative! Tinka was born in Bogota, Colombia, and studied pediatric dentistry there at the University Javeriana. She worked as a Pediatric Dentist in Colombia, but moved to Canada 13 years ago with her two daughters, Silvia and Carolina. In Edmonton, she works as a full time faculty at the Unviersity of Alberta in the division of Pediatric Dentisty. She is also Director of the Pediatric Dental Clinic at the University of Alberta.
Tinka became involved in the group last year through her friend, colleague, and mentor Clive Schneider-Friedman, who has been an integral team member for many years. Tinka had a wonderful experience last year in Honduras, both clinically and socially with our team! She remembers that although the days are so busy, and you never feel like you could possibly see all the patients and teach the local Dentists at the same time (so they can continue providing pediatric dental care after the group is gone), somehow in the end, you see everyone and feel energized by the patients! A huge accomplishment that Tinka was a part of last year was teaching local dentists for the first time how to provide atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) for patients, so they could save teeth from being extracted. Overall, Tinka has found her involvement in this group to be very rewarding, and so has come this year again! (And we couldn't be luckier to have her!!)
Dr. Benjamin Klein
Dr. Klein is a Developmental Pediatrician and the Medical Director of Lansdowne Children's Centre (a children's treatment centre in Brantford, Ontario). He also works as a General Pediatrician at Brantford General Hospital, and is an assistant clinical professor at McMaster University in the Department of Pediatrics. His academic interests involve developmental problems in children and clinical outreach for special populations, including those involved with child protection, aboriginal and First Nations children, and child mental health agencies. Outside academics, he loves learning Spanish and about ancient history, and playing hockey!
Dr. Klein has been a previous as well as current team member with the Canada-Honduras Children's Health Initiative, having come on a brigade in 2007 during his Pediatric Residency. He joined the team again this year to bring a new dimension to the group in the form of Developmental Pediatrics at CRILE (Centro Rehabilation Integral Lempira ). He also recruited Ashley and Sharon from the Lansdowne Children's Centre , and together the three of them have made a huge contribution to children with special needs in the region of Gracias, Lempira. We are looking forward to having Dr. Klein join us again next year to continue this much needed service!
Ashley is an Occupational Therapist, wife, proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers. She has been working with children in some capacity for the past 25 years. After completing her BHScOT at McMaster University, she worked in eastern Ontario for 10 years before settling back to her home-town of Brantford. Ashley is blessed with an energetic family who loves adventure, learning about different cultures, languages, lifestyles, and food through travel too.
This week in Honduras was the first time Ashley had the opportunity to participate in a brigade such as this, and bring her clinical skills abroad. Her enthusiasm here was infectious, and she was able to share her skills, and provide support to our colleagues in Honduras and the children they provide services to.
Before we came, she was looking forward to learning from the people we meet and working alongside them to offer another perspective or ideas to advance the well-being and quality of life to the youngsters in this part of the world. After having been here this week, this has definitely been accomplished!
Sharon Rich is a Pediatric physiotherapist who works with Ashley and Dr. Klein at Lansdowne Children's Centre. Sharon has been working at Lansdowne for the last 10 years since finishing her Master's in Physiotherapy from MacMaster University. She completed her undergraduate training in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, and has recently finished her Masters in Health Management from MacMaster University as well. She is the physiotherapy team coordinator at Lansdowne Children's Centre and provides outpatient physiotherapy as well as home care and school care physiotherapy. This is her first year as part of our team in Honduras, but she has previously been part of a church mission for food and clothing distribution in the Dominican Republic in 2012. Sharon lives in Ancaster, ON and outside of work she enjoys biking, hiking, and playing baseball.
Dr. Heather Flieger
This is Dr. Heather Flieger's first year as a member of the CHCHI brigade. She is a second year Paediatrics resident at Western University but is originally from Miramichi, New Brunswick on the East Coast. Heather completed her undergraduate training in Biochemistry at Memorial University in Newfoundland and her undergraduate medical training at Dalhousie University and attended their satellite campus in Saint John, New Brunswick. Prior to joining our team in Honduras, Heather had become interested in global health through a summertime elective in she did in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India as a medical student.
Dr. Chloe Davidson
Dr. Chloe Davidson is a 3rd year Pediatric Resident at Western University/London Health Sciences Centre. This is her second time in Honduras with the CHCHI as well! Chloe grew up on the Bruce Peninsula, did an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, and completed medical school at McMaster University. In medical school, she did similar work providing medical care to children and families in rural Guatemala. She got involved in the CHCHI in Residency through her staff and mentor Dr. Gorodzinsky, who has been a member of the group since the first mission, 18 years ago. Chloe was excited to come back to Honduras this year to continue working to provide medical care for children in rural Honduras, and also learn from this extremely generous and inspiring group of volunteers and patients.