-   september 2016  -
Seventh Annual Honduras Medical Mission

This September, the GW Heart & Vascular Institute supported its Seventh Annual Medical Mission to Honduras. This annual brigade of GW medical professionals led by Drs. Cynthia Tracy and Marco Mercader has become key to providing advanced care for patients with heart disease in Honduras. The GW medical team annually evaluates patients and provides free pacemakers and defibrillators. Since its inception, over the GW medical team has implanted more than 230 devices. This year was a record breaking year with 45 device implants, more than 200 consultations, and more than 100 echoes performed in just nine days. It was tremendously gratifying to the GW medical team to welcome back many of the device recipients from years past. Each time the GW medical team interrogated a device and found the person to be 100 percent dependent on their device, they knew the patient was alive because of our efforts!

The GW medical team consisted of Dr. Cynthia Tracy, Director of  Electrophysiology; Dr. Marco Mercader, 
Associate Professor of Medicine; Fernando Najera, RCVT; Dr. Bianca Ummat, Cardiology Fellow;  Ivan Pina,  Medical Resident; and  Maria Cruz, Technical Support from Medtronic.

Additionally, Dr. Dorys Chavez, a Honduran physician currently training at GW as a medical intern supported by the GW Heart & Vascular Institute, joined the team. Equally important are the team members from Centro Medico Comayagua Colonial (CMCC) in Comayagua, Honduras. The Honduran medical group includes 20-30 people who dedicate time to support the GW medical team during the two week mission. Their kindness and graciousness makes being in Honduras like a trip home for the GW team!  

Planning for the annual event starts  the  minute t he  GW   tea m returns  to  U.S.  Acquiring medical device donations, coordinating with humanitarian groups, packing, shipping, 
organizing and keeping track of multiple 
moving  parts is a  major effort. 

The  mission  ships  200-300 pounds of
equipment months ahead of time and personally transports  another 200 pounds of equipment on the first day of  travel. The  estimated value of equipment is $670,000.  In Honduras, colleagues at CMCC begin work months in advance within the public health system of Honduras and through word of mouth to identify patients in need.

The GW Heart & Vascular Institute and GW medical team would like to thank all donors of the annual mission trip and  also its sponsors: GW Hospital, Heart Beat International, Medtronic, St. Jude  Medical, the University of Pennsylvania, Washington VA Medical Center, and Inova Fairfax. 

The GW Heart & Vascular Institute's annual fundraiser to support the annual medical mission will be held on Saturday, December 3,  2016, at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum.  For more information on how you can support this mission, please contact Jessica Johnson at  jjohnson@mfa.gwu.edu .