The 2016 Operation Walk Boston group met twice in the past four weeks, signaling the start of another mission trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. As in years past, our group consists of volunteers who have been involved since Op Walk Boston was founded in 2007 to first-time volunteers.
Dr. Thomas Thornhill made opening remarks to the group, and as the mission’s founder, his perspective on how the scope of the trip has evolved each year provided a wonderful backdrop. At the start of the meetings, we made individual introductions to the group and spoke briefly about aspects of the trip each of us were anticipating. As a first-time volunteer, it was humbling and exciting to hear how passionate people are about Op Walk, even if this is their ninth year.
The meeting also highlighted the tremendous work that has been occurring since the close of last year’s mission to make sure all preparations are made for this year. Roya Ghazinouri, DPT (Chief Operating Officer) discussed the goals for this year’s mission and thanked those involved—both in Boston and the Dominican Republic—for the preparatory work accomplished thus far.
Forrest Schwartz, MD (Chief Medical Officer) gave a presentation on the work being done in coordination with the Hospital General de la Plaza de la Salud in Santo Domingo to select patients who will be receiving care on this year’s mission. Dr. Schwartz also discussed the flow of each day on the trip, which underscored the group effort and teamwork required for things to run smoothly. There are many patients with complex pathology seeking joint replacements this year, and the number is still being finalized.
We are just under three weeks from our trip to Santo Domingo and our goal is to safely deliver care to a population in need while maximizing our resources. Stay tuned for the next post and daily updates as the trip is underway!