STC and The Healing Hands Foundation Partner to Provide Epidemiological Services for 2012 Guatemala Surgical Mission

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Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC) partnered with The Healing Hands Foundation (THHF) to provide epidemiological services for the THHF 2012 surgical mission to the town of Patzún, Guatemala. Dr. Jennifer Simpson, STC Senior Public Health Advisor and Lead Epidemiologist, formally analyzed the public health impact of the mission to demonstrate the value that these types of missions bring to impoverished communities.

The partnership between The Healing Hands Foundation and STC is priceless. STC’s information and reports tell an amazing, data-driven story to our followers, donors and volunteers... and to the public, media and the world... Marco V. Ávila, THHF Exec Dir

Dr. Simpson, of Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC), joined The Healing Hands Foundation (THHF) on a surgical mission to Guatemala this past November. THHF is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 that provides medical services to children and adults around the world. The Foundation’s mission is to provide high quality surgical and dental care to children with complex congenital malformations in areas lacking resources and expertise. In addition, they strive to improve the quality of life for area residents by educating and mentoring local surgeons and other health care providers. Ultimately, the Foundation intends to create sustainable partnerships that empower impoverished communities to improve the health and quality of life of their own people.

In their fourth mission to the small mountain town of Patzún Guatemala since 2009, THHF organized a team of forty-two committed volunteers to provide professional services. Team members, many who repeatedly serve on THHF missions, included trained surgeons, fellows, nurses, cardiologists, dentists, nurses, psychologists, anesthesiologists, epidemiologists and medical technicians. The mission was graciously supported by many organizations, including Direct Relief International, American Airlines, RTS Family Foundation, MAP/Ethicon, and the THHF-Guatemala Board of Directors.

The mission delivered surgical and dental care and educational support to numerous families, many who had traveled long hours by bus to access the free services that the team delivered at a mission hospital. During the weeklong surgical mission, the medical team performed 71 procedures on 69 patients ranging in age from 3 months to 75 years. Surgical procedures included cleft lip and palate repairs, hernia removals, scar contracture releases and others. The dental team performed 300 procedures on 149 patients from age 1 to over 61 years. Procedures included exams, restorations, extractions, cleanings, root canals and fluoride treatments.

As part of the mission, STC’s Dr. Simpson estimated the number of years of healthy life saved by the medical procedures and surgeries the team performed. She made this estimate by calculating the Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) for each patient based on patient age, gender and procedure received. Dr. Simpson’s analysis revealed that the mission’s impacts were noteworthy, with an estimated 502 years of quality life saved over the entire patient population.

Dr. Simpson also documented each patient’s health status and noted any health-related resources available to patients. She summarized the health impact analysis and these findings in her public health impact report, "The Public Health Impact of Surgical Interventions in Patzún, Guatemala – The Healing Hands Foundation’s 2012 Guatemala Mission" (http://www.stchome.com/media/highlights/highlight_02.28.2013.pdf), which may be downloaded to gain a comprehensive understanding of the value that THHF and its partners bring to these communities.

With previous THHF missions in Sierra Leone in June 2011 and Guatemala in November 2011, STC’s commitment to the Foundation’s efforts is underscored. In turn, THHF appreciates the dedicated volunteers, like Dr. Simpson, who provide much needed health care and education to impoverished communities. As THHF Vice President and Co-Founder Dr. Dylan Stewart noted, “It was a tremendously successful mission. It was an honor working with you all, and I cannot thank you enough for your hard work, dedication, and commitment.”

Dr. Jaime Flores, THHF President/Co-founder stated, “The Guatemala mission was one the best missions I've been part of in 19 years. The team was extremely efficient caring compassionate and above all performed surgeries were very safe with phenomenal results. It's what every medical surgical mission should strive for. I'm blessed to have a part of it and hope that every mission can be equally successful.”

STC looks forward to serving on future surgical missions to provide professional epidemiological services toward the THHF goal of empowering impoverished communities across the globe to improve the health and quality of life of their people.

About STC
STC’s goal is to ensure healthy populations through partnership, expertise, and applied use of information technology. As one of the first adopters of immunization registries in the early 1990s, STC helped shed light on the value that data lends to decision support in clinical practice by targeting the reduction and impact of vaccine preventable disease on children. With the support of physicians, organizations, and policy and vaccine experts, STC’s public health and software professionals led many of the early efforts and best practices to implement statewide registries. These efforts continue today, as over 250 million vaccine encounters are retained in state immunization registries developed by STC and their state public health partners. Increasing the value of these national health data assets is a primary goal of STC through the next decade. http://www.stchome.com

About THHF
The Healing Hands Foundation (THHF) was founded in 2007 by two doctors, a nurse, and an engineer. The mission of THHF is to sustainably provide high quality surgical procedures, medical treatment, dental care, and educational support in under resourced areas worldwide. The Foundation establishes strong in-country partnerships to involve local communities in activities: treating patients, improving health care infrastructure, and providing needed medical training to surgeons, doctors, and community health care workers. Going beyond providing direct patient care, THHF aims to create a long-term impact, empowering impoverished countries to improve the health and quality of life of their own people. http://www.thhfoundation.org

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Laura Smearman
Scientific Technologies Corporation
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