MOG/WHSO Nicaragua Medical Clinics

Partnering since 2008…

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”  Phil Jackson

2008-2012 Five Years, WHSO/MOG Medical ClinicsIn 2008 something miraculous happened through what only could have been a divine connection. Missions of Grace began partnering with the World Health Student Organization located in Detroit, Michigan. This unique Wayne State University medical student outreach program provides on-site medical clinic care in international rural areas.

Missions of Grace has a philosophy of empowering the local medical personnel, and five years ago we added another important aspect to this partnership. We at MOG were blessed to be the conduit between the ones who had the resources to help – WHSO – and the ones who work daily with those who need those resources – MINSA, the local Ministry of Health medical personnel.

Because WHSO has proven to be caring, hard-working people, we have had amazing results with the local communities becoming quickly involved as well.

Within this powerful mix there is one more element – faithful MOG volunteers.

Nicaraguan translators were drawn to the cause and became an intricate part of our team. They received no pay, but were a valuable contribution. Volunteers came from the states each year also, to serve in whatever capacity needed (pharmacy, translating, organization, children’s educational health activities, etc.). This all equals much success, not to mention bonding of the souls for a common purpose!

Below I am honored to introduce you to the teams and individuals who have given of their hearts, efforts and resources to further a now growing, international telemedicine program.


2008 WHSO/MOG Mission Summary

2008 was the pioneer mission for MOG/WHSO and a first for MOG to work in the department of Rivas.

2008 Dr. Dana Kissner

Leading Physician: Dr. Dana Kissner
Specialties: Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine

Assisted by:
4th year medical student: Dr. Nick Yeldo

The rest of the team:

  • MOG Director, Cheri Mauldin
  • (12) second-year medical students
  • Nine MOG volunteers – three from Texas
  • Six translators from Nicaragua

Total Team: 24

This was a very pivotal trip for us, a new beginning of such magnitude that we didn’t even fully understand at the time. We worked in two villages south of San Juan del Sur, one being Ostional.

We attended to every single patient that came to our clinics and were able to identify a couple of long-term cases whom we referred to the specialists they needed.

The clinics of 2008 aided MOG in establishing a very positive working relationship with the regional office of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health – Silais Rivas and provided us the beginning of an excellent working system for international rural health clinics. We made new friends and had fun too!


2009 WHSO/MOG Mission Summary


WHSO 2009-Dr.Salik JahaniaLeading Physician: Dr. Salik Jahania
Specialties: General Cardiac/Thoracic Surgery

Assisted by:
4th year medical student, Dr. Dane Miller
(20) Second-year medical students!

The rest of the team:

  • MOG Director, Cheri Mauldin
  • Four MOG volunteers from Texas
  • Two translators from Nicaragua

Total Team: 29

This was the 2nd year of progress for WHSO/MOG Medical Missions.

We took the team to more remote locations, looking to identify communities where the needs were great, going more north and close to the Pacific Ocean. We held our clinics in Virgen Morena and the fishing village of Astillero, both in the department of Rivas. Astillero at this point had little running water and intermittent electricity at only a couple sites, even though it was a growing community.

We held clinics for three days and Dr. Jahania set up a rudimentary operating room in the school where we held the clinic. He would only serve the most minor needs, such as mole removal, due to the rough conditions. Nevertheless, the students as well as the patients were delighted for this opportunity. The community leaders were so grateful.

We attended every patient who came to us and identified two emergency cases that we were able to transport to the local hospital 3 1/2 hours away.

This was ground-breaking for MOG, in that the mayor of Rivas took an interest in our work and the community leaders bonded with us. We established a very close working relationship with Nurse Martita Romero, head of the nearest health post, who now heads up a MOG project. We had no idea in these three days of clinics how we were all shaping the future, to be able to meet so many needs and have such a strong relationship with the local leadership. We are forever grateful!


2010 WHSO/MOG Mission Summary


Leading Physicians:
Dr. Salik Jahania – Specialties: General Cardiac/Thoracic Surgery
Dr. Doreen Zerfas – General Surgery Resident

WHSO 2009-Dr.Salik Jahania WHSO 2010-Dr DaCosta

Assisted by:

  • 4th year medical students: Dr. MaryAnn Shango and Dr. Sabrina DaCosta
  • (16) Second year medical students eager to work with Dr. Jahania
  • Alberta M.C. Spreafico, Nicaragua GLOBUS4HD International Project Director with the Henry Ford Ultrasound University, who became very instrumental in our future Nicaraguan projects – part of the WINFOCUS team

The rest of the team:

  • MOG Director, Cheri Mauldin
  • Seven MOG volunteers from Texas; including surgery technician
  • Six translators from Nicaragua took time off from their jobs to assist on our team, with one coming all the way from Argentina!

Total Team: 36

This year we went back to the growing community of Astillero, being that it lay at the foot of the very remote hills of Cuenco Acayo, where there is very little health care.

We also ventured a bit more remote and held a one-day clinic in the tiny village of Las Cañas, which has no running water nor electricity.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: This year Dr. Jahania requested that we take the surgery to the local hospital – the nearest being in Rivas, approx. 3-1/2 hours of travel time. Our process was to identify potential patients on the days of our remote clinics and pay for their bus fare, meeting them in Rivas on the following day. What a milestone this was, but also what a learning curve!


2011 WHSO/MOG Mission Summary


Leading Physicians:
Dr. Mark Sadzikowski – Specialties: Emergency Medicine
Dr. Pamela Williams – Family Medicine

2011 WHSO Dr. Mark Sadzikowski 2011 WHSO Dr. Pamela Williams

Assisted by:

  • Three 2nd Year Medical Students
  • Two 1st Year Medical Students
  • Five Pharmacy Students
  • Volunteers from Henry Ford Hospital (part of the WINFOCUS team):
    • Alberta M.C. Spreafico, Nicaragua GLOBUS4HD International Project Director with the Henry Ford Ultrasound University
    • Tolga Caglar (Henry Ford Innovative Institute)

The rest of the team:

  • MOG Director, Cheri Mauldin
  • Four Volunteers from Texas and Michigan
  • Four from the Coffman Family, Texas
  • Two Translators from Nicaragua

Total Team: 36

Forging new territory: We traveled to three new villages that have no health post, but had requested our presence. Barrio Nuevo, El Palmar and a fantastic hidden beach gem – Gigante. We were able to attend to each person that came to our clinics (445) which was held in either the local school or church, and we referred out the long-term sick patients to the hospital or specialist they needed.

Patiently waitingIt was amazing having a pharmacy team – made the clinics go so much smoother. After this mission, MOG decided that we want a pharmacy team every clinic. We loved working with these two WHSO doctors – both had such great hearts as well as their skills, they are welcome to come back anytime!

We had begun our Ultrasound Project in July of this year, 2011, so Alberta Spreafico took the ultrasound machine with us to the villages and the students were able to assist her. The day we were at the hospital in Rivas, the people were lined up in the hallway for hours waiting patiently. Again, this was the best trip yet – but we say that every year!


2012 WHSO/MOG Mission Summary


Leading Physicians:
Dr. Salik Jahania – Specialties: General Cardiac/Thoracic Surgery
Dr. Doreen Zerfas – Specialties: General Surgery
Dr. Helen Berlie – Specialties: PharmD, CDE

WHSO 2009-Dr.Salik Jahania WHSO 2010-Dr DaCosta Dr. Helen Berlie 2012 WHSO

Assisted by:

  • Three 4th-Year Students – all returning volunteers; to supervise the younger students as they were supervised in 2010 when they were 2nd-year students.
    Dr. Selwan Barbat  |  Dr. Jessica Vavra  |  Dr. Jennifer Smith
  • Four Pharmacy Students
  • (12) 2nd-Year Medical Students
  • Four 1st-Year Medical Students

The rest of the team:

  • MOG Director, Cheri Mauldin
  • Eight Volunteers from Texas
  • Five Translators from Managua, Nicaragua

Total Team: 39

All three days of the clinics were held in Astillero, Rivas. The community had recently received running water and had built a beautiful new health post. This had a perfect set-up for a very sanitary Operating Room!

The community leaders came out in force to be the security, the cooks, to help in whatever we might need.

We attended to approximately 500 people in those three days. People came on foot and horse from the remote hills nearby. They knew us by now, and trusted us after years of MOG giving them support and aid.

Martita, head nurseThe Ultrasound Exam Room was staffed by Martita Romero (our Nica nurse who is now in charge of our Project Ultra).

The pharmacy was all adeptly organized and staffed by the pharmacy students.

The minor surgeries that were performed proved to be such blessings – the patients were so grateful because this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. One example of many was the woman who had an unsightly mole removed from her face.

Clinics were amazing and showed all the progress we had made since 2008!