Medical Missions: Delivering Life-Changing Care Around the World

Memorial Hermann has been caring for the people of Greater Houston and Southeast Texas for more than a century. As a not-for-profit health system, we proudly contribute more than $500 million annually through uncompensated emergency care, school-based health centers, nutritional services, dental care and more for at-risk and underserved families.  In addition to supporting these programs here at home, Memorial Hermann dedicates resources to help at-risk people living around the world through Memorial Hermann Medical Missions.

Since its inception in 1999, Memorial Hermann Medical Missions has donated more than $1.2 million in scholarships, pharmaceuticals and equipment.  Additionally, nearly 900,000 people in more than 170 countries have received medical aid, delivered by our generous and talented colleagues. Here are a few of their amazing stories.

Serving Others in Collique, Peru

by Patti Romeril, Pharm.D.

I participated in my first Medical Mission Trip in Collique, Peru (north of Lima) in 2004 and served as the dispensing pharmacist for the first time in my career since I graduated from pharmacy school.

While I spoke a bit of Spanish, I needed a translator to do nearly all of the patient counseling and to answer questions.  This kept me at a bit of a distance from the community and shielded from the life stories that the nurses and physicians heard throughout the week.

The last day, three young girls walked with me down the hill to the bus.  They gave me a hug and I realized as I hugged the eldest that she was the same size and shape as my oldest niece.  That interaction hit me hard and I was literally faced with the harsh reality that simple geography can make an extreme difference when it comes to access to medical care, clean water, and the luxuries we are afforded in this world.

I have returned to the community of Collique 19 times over the past 13 years.  I have joined people from different churches, states, and countries with various professional backgrounds to form a team with a single goal in mind – serve the community of Collique.  We offer clinic services (medical, dental and optometry), Bible School for the children, and construction work for the families with the greatest need.  I dispense medications, counsel patients in Spanish, and answer their questions over the five days we are there.

It is emotionally and physically taxing for all of us, but more than that, it is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to touch the lives of so many.

I have watched the children grow up healthier than when we first met them.  I also have been blessed to observe a community coming together to help one another and, in doing so, seen the community thrive.

With support from Memorial Hermann Medical Missions, I will return in October for my 20th mission to Collique and I look forward to continuing our work there.

Returning Home

by Homero R. Anchondo, M.D.  

My wife, Silvia S. Anchondo, M.D., and I were born in Chihuahua, Mexico. We began our education, including our medical education, there and were fortunate to continue to pursue our post-graduate medical education in Houston, Texas and London, England.

As a token of our appreciation for the opportunities we were afforded, we always dreamed of assisting the underserved population in Mexico.

Ten years ago, our dream came true when we funded Consejo de Conciencia Ciudadana Inc. (“CCC”), a nonprofit organization with the mission to improve health conditions in areas of the State of Chihuahua, where the citizens do not have access to minimal health care. This mission includes the coordination of efforts between nonprofit organizations in the U.S. with similar entities in Mexico.

Since that time, with the assistance of many volunteers, we have provided thousands of medical and dental consultations and treatments in the community center that we manage. Memorial Hermann Medical Missions has continuously supported the mission of CCC, so the patients in Mexico receive all medications and dental supplies free of charge.

As physicians, it always gives us the greatest gratitude to serve our patients. One at a time, that satisfaction is multiplied hundreds of times when we see the happy faces of our patients receiving the care they deserve and the reactions of their relatives seeing their loved ones living a healthy and productive life.

Our partnership with Memorial Hermann Medical Missions continues to allow us to expand the medical and dental care to the underserved, and for us to continue to enjoy the gratification that comes with that service.

Our Motivation

by Mike Yuan, M.D.

In a remote mountain village of Yunnan Province of China, where the average annual household income of the villagers is less than $300, we met a middle-aged woman in the clinic.

For years, she’d been experiencing severe headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. She had high blood pressure, but did not take any medicine as she simply could not afford it.  We provided her with blood pressure medication. The next day she returned to clinic.  Her headache was gone and she stated that she had not seen things that clearly for many years.

For the first time, she said could see her grandson clearly. She also told us that she saw God’s love through our mission team. All of us were touched.

It is the generous support from Memorial Hermann Medical Missions that makes these life-changing trips possible.

Since 1999, Memorial Hermann Medical Missions has served as a liaison between the resources of Memorial Hermann and underserved residents of global communities, as well as during natural disasters in the United States.

The program offers scholarships for air travel to Memorial Hermann employees, employees of Memorial Hermann medical staff and medical residents. In addition, it offers supplies to Memorial Hermann medical staff as well as eligible retired staff and physicians participating on medical mission trips.

If you’d like to help support Memorial Hermann Medical Missions, click here.

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Tashika Varma