I am leading a team of 10 medical personnel (3 gastroenterologists, 2 CRNAs, 4 RNs, and 1 gastroenterology fellow) to perform gastroenterology outpatient consultations and endoscopy procedures. The area of Guatemala is an underserved area that does not have access to endoscopy or GI expertise. We will be performing endoscopy procedures for 1 week in addition to seeing consultations. This will positively impact patient's lives as they will be able to attain the much needed endoscopy procedures.
The patients of the rural Guatemala highlands (Santiago Atitlan and surrounding communities) will benefit from the project. Additionally, there is a benefit for the local physicians who are following these patients as they can obtain the procedure as part of the overall workup of the patient's condition. This population was chosen as there is no access to endoscopy in this region of Guatemala and many individuals are unable to travel to the capital city (5 hours by private car) to attain these services.
The impact is multifold - first we will be providing necessary care to the local people of rural Guatemala. This will positively impact their lives as they pursue evaluation for their symptoms. This will also positively impact me as a physician as I serve others. I will appreciate the medical care that we have in the United States and continue to work towards closing the gap of health disparities for others in various parts of the world.
The people of the Lago Atitlan, Guatemala people are kind and generous, retaining many cultural aspects of life (including local attire). However, it is 4+ hours drive to the capital city and the region has limited medical specialty resources - our group provided gastroenterology and endoscopy procedures to this region of Guatemala, which previously was not available (individuals would have to travel several hours to get endoscopy). We performed over 50 endoscopy procedures (upper endoscopy and colonoscopy) and saw many more individuals in clinic.