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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

MEDICO-MEDICAL EYE & DENTAL INTERNATIONAL CARE ORGANIZATION INC

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services, International, International Development

Mission:

The Medical, Eye and Dental International Care Organization has been Providing Care • Igniting Hope to over 200,000 people in need since its inception in 1990. Our mission is to serve impoverished communities in Central America, which have little or no access to basic health care. Annually, MEDICO offers 6-8 one week medical brigade opportunities to volunteer physicians, nurses, optometrists, dentists, pharmacists, interpreters and lay personnel who pay their own way to provide humanitarian service to an average of 1200-1800 patients. MEDICO continues to expand its programs through long-term sustainable initiatives including health education and water projects.

Geographic areas served: Honduras

Programs: Our program is based on week long trips to Central America setting up free clinics with the intention of Providing Care • Igniting Hope. For each trip an in-country host organization provides logistical support for the team, assists in advertising to all the surrounding communities of the team's presence, helps with interpreting and ensures we respect the cultures of those we serve. Teams are provided with safe, simple shelter, food & drinking water, in-country transportation and travel arrangements. We take great pride in the number of returning veteran volunteers.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have witnessed how MEDICO has grown from the concept of helping others to an organization that is doing wonderful mission efforts in Central America. I know my support along with many others has helped to make a difference in hundreds of lives that otherwise would not have changed to the better. This caring organization that is made up of volunteers all over the USA has so many heart-warming stories due to their efforts. I am pleased to support this organization as they continue to serve others in need.

1 Jean D.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with MEDICO for ten years. It is an organization that I am proud to say has always had caring for those who do not have regular or any access to health care as their top priority. MEDICO strives to listen to the communities they serve and provide what is most needed. I will continue to support MEDICO and those who are able to give of their time and talents to support the people of Honduras.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with MEDICO on three separate occasions on medical trips to Honduras.
They have always been well organized and involved with the local community.
They have continued efforts to support projects in the country, even as Covid 19 has grounded us all.
I totally support their efforts, and hope to participate with them again in the future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a RN volunteer 20+ years and a co-leader on several trips. This organization and my fellow volunteers are the best. Medical professionals and other volunteers gather from all parts of the US to provide quality health care, dental services, health education and community support in challenging situations. The hard work, compassion and willingness to work as a team from our first moments in Honduras or Nicaragua have been inspirational. It has been a true privilege to work with Lynda Peters during these years.
I honesty believe the many missions with MEDICO have contributed to my professional and personal growth and fulfillment.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a nurse volunteer with Medico and I took my daughter on my last trip. I can’t say enough about the life-changing experiences we had in Honduras. I am currently back in school to get my doctorate and my thesis project is related to short term medical mission trips. Medico is in the very small percentage of groups that follow the recommendations to strengthen local infrastructure and work intimately with local providers and host organizations to provide care, support and education while minimizing dependence on western medicine providers. Medico also provides financial support, medications and equipment to local hospitals and providers. I’m so proud to be a part of this organization!
Tami B. , RN (soon to be DNP-FNP!)

1 Debbie Weinstein

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've have been with MEDICO since 2008 and have done multiple trips in that time. MEDICO is an outstanding organization with tremendous compassion and a true gift for improving the lives of others. Thank you MEDICO for all you do for the people of Honduras.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with MEDICO for over 9 years and have taken 15 trips with this organization. Although I have volunteered with other groups over the years, I always come back to MEDICO. This non-profit has accomplished so much over the years, including building a maternity ward, a well, and a new free-standing clinic in Honduras. Additionally, education is a big piece of MEDICO's vision.
As a physician, it is a joy to practice medicine where there is the greatest need and it is a privilege to do this alongside other MEDICO volunteers.
The founder and executive director Lynda Peters is an amazing woman whose work ethic, organizational skills, compassion for those less fortunate, and heart are among the many reasons volunteers return every year.
MEDICO does both large (city) and small (remote) trips all throughout Honduras bringing doctors, nurses, dentists, interpreters and lay volunteers to work in make-shift clinics for the local population. Each trip is a fun, exciting week with a personality all it's own.
As John Wooden said...."You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been serving with MEDICO since its inception in 1990 and continue to have such great admiration for the organization and its dedicated volunteers and donors who make the mission possible. Whether it is one of MEDICO’s team volunteers who spends a week or more of their time, serving in less than desirable conditions, or the donor who is so kind to provide support to the mission’s efforts, each plays such an important role in the MEDICO story. I love being a part of this great story!
I had the privilege of serving as a board member and executive director with MEDICO for over 22 years before deciding to step down but stay involved on a different level. Several years later, the Board of Directors made the plan to become an all-volunteer mission organization. I was invited to come back and assist during this important transition time. There was little hesitation on my part to give a positive reply as I knew the strength of MEDICO’s mission in Central America. I wanted to help keep the mission strong as it addressed medical needs of remote communities that had little or no access to medical care.
MEDICO continues to make an impact in its work. It values its partnerships with in-country organizations. MEDICO listens and responds as it works together with community leaders and host organizations. MEDICO also shares a valuable relationship with a community’s local Ministry of Health so it can better understand where it can be of most help to an underserved population.
The strength of MEDICO is due to many factors but certainly one is its volunteer base. I continue to be profoundly touched by the compassionate service that these dedicated volunteers provide.
Even as the world is journeying through the current crisis of COVID-19, and sending mission teams had to be put on hold, MEDICO is working hard behind the scenes in helping hospitals and small remote medical clinics have necessary supplies and medicines to continue their service to their communities.
I am thankful to be a part of the vision and future of MEDICO.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with MEDICO for over 25 years - as a donor and as a volunteer but mainly helping in getting the word out about MEDICO through printed, email and social media design. This is one amazing organization that relies on volunteers and donors. With MEDICO being an all-volunteer humanitarian service organization, all donated funds and resources go directly to help those with the greatest needs in Honduras. Being a part of MEDICO has been a personally rewarding experience, knowing that the needs of many families living at the poverty level are being met through the generosity of supporters, like me.

1 Charlotte S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with MEDICO for the last 7 years, first as an RN, then as a nurse practitioner, and now as a team co-leader. I couldn't be happier to have found such a fantastic group of empathetic, like-minded health care providers + volunteers. The organization is one I'm so proud to be a part of.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for this organization on several medical teams to provide medical and dental care to remote regions of Honduras. It is refreshing to be involved with a volunteer organization that is completely transparent. From the founder that still travels with the teams to the countless medical professionals and other volunteers- you would be hard pressed to find a more compassionate and wonderful group of people.
-Michae Deleo - Fire Captain-Paramedic CA

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I Have been involved with Medico since 1990. During this time i have made over 40 trips to
Honduras and Nicaragua, delivering health care to rural villages. Our teams of medical,
dental,and optometric professionals set up clinics in communities where little or no health
care is available.
In addition we develop water sanitation projects, health education classes,and scholarship programs for local students. We also helped equip and renovate the emergency room of a local hospital.
I am a board member,a donor, and a volunteer. When I first thought of getting involved,I
couldn't imagine working this hard without getting paid. Thank you Medico for changing me and my life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer with MEDICO in 2010 as a Spanish interpreter in Nicaragua. We stayed on a coffee plantation and provided health care services to about 1200 needy villagers over our 5 days. It was one of the most rewarding and positive experiences of my life. I joined an experienced team of dentists, doctors, nurses and in-country interpreters to provide triage assistance to the doctors and dentists.
Our trip was excellently organized from the moment we boarded the airplane until we landed at LAX a week later. Coordination of housing, food, materials, and in country volunteers was so well done and made all of our "jobs" easier. The leaders of this program are compassionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated experts with the unified goal of providing care for the poor.
I would highly recommend volunteering for this fabulous organization. It will prove to be a highlight in your life--paying it back! The Nicaraguan villagers were so grateful for our help.
Alli

1 Michele D.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have participated in 3 medical missions with MEDICO. I am a Professor of Global Health, and regularly look for international aid projects to work on as an individual, as well as with students. I would rate MEDICO as my favorite medical mission organization. They are well organized, caring, and highly experienced in this field. I've traveled with them to Nicaragua and Honduras on medical, dental, and public health education projects. It is so much fun! We often served 3,000 or more patients in a week. MEDICO is also one of the few medical mission organizations that lets public health staff travel with them, even if they do not have a medical license. As public health volunteers, we conduct health education programs with hundreds of villagers every day on a mission, often in their homes or at the field clinics. It is an amazing experience for all! I highly recommend them!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been serving with MEDICO since its inception and I couldn’t be more proud than to work with such a well-intentioned group of volunteers. Whether it is the volunteers who dedicate a week or more of their time to participate on a team (oftentimes experiencing challenging conditions) or the volunteers who work together behind the scenes, it is the team effort that makes such a positive impact on the lives of the under-served.

Volunteers participate from all parts of the US as well as several foreign countries, all coming together to be in humanitarian service to those in need. Each of us feels the true joy of “paying it forward” and sharing the abundance we have been gifted. While many volunteers return year after year, the welcome mat is always out for new team members to join the work of MEDICO.

There is nothing more touching than to have someone give you a big hug after they have seen one of our doctors, dentists, or eye doctors. They are so grateful to receive care and to have someone listen to their medical issues or life challenges.

MEDICO is all about making a difference: a new orthopedic wing on a hospital; a new roof on a medical clinic; a women’s center in a remote village that provides clean and safe housing for pregnant women before delivery; clean water and sanitation projects for remote mountainous villages; teaching/training teams for public health providers, school children, hospital staffs, and firefighters; ecological stove projects; backpacks/uniforms for school children; mothers getting vitamins and medicine for their sick children; and the big smiles on faces of people receiving a pair of eyeglasses for the first time in their life!
It’s not just about Providing Care to an underserved population. It’s about Providing Hope to people who must endure a lifetime living at the poverty level. They know MEDICO is there to help and they feel the care and compassion shared by each volunteer on a team.

Change the life of someone in need and you will change your own life as well!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Medico is and has been just so wonderful in their field. I was able to partake in a medical mission to Nicaragua with this amazing organization. All I can say, is they get it right. Medico is just trying to spread the message of good and caring for people. I’ve never been a part of a more selfless organization that is willing to work as a team. Everyone just wants to help people and not for the feel good vibe, but to genuinely help. Such beautiful people are a part of Medico. This is how I know this organization will be around for years to come and hopefully forever.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Over the years we have seen MEDICO literally and positively change the lives of those being served as well as our volunteers. What a blessing for all! And the life long friendships of volunteers representing all corners of the nation is a special bonus.

Norm Peters, Co-Founder

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A wonderful group to participate with. The volunteers are there for the right reasons..to help the children and families in need. From my vantage point they are well organized, and seasoned enough to equip and get up and running fast. The daily briefings are very helpful in improving the care provided.

1 Brigham T.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I found MEDICO in 1997 as a medical student when I went on my first trip to rural Honduras. Since that time, I have been on more than 20 trips with MEDICO to Honduras and Nicaragua. Hundreds of physicians, dentists, optometrists and other volunteers have been on teams with MEDICO since my first trip in 1997. I have since become a board member helping to expand services provided by MEDICO teams and helping to identify projects that have led to better long term health for tens of thousands of people. MEDICO continues to provide access to better health through its teams that travel to rural areas to treat acute illness and to partner with communities for long term plans to prevent disease. Join us in service.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with MEDICO for over 20 years .
Once a year I go with a group of people that the only thing they want to do is provide and care for other people, these professionals take time off work , pay for the trip and the stay in Central America , The only reword is an immense, wonderful feeling of helping people in remote areas .
I have the honor of knowing these people for many years and they all are greaT humanitarians ,
They started it for the only purpose to do good , the only reward we get is the toothless smile( after we pull thees out ) and deep thanks for helping them with basic human right.... to be pain free.
( the lady in charge/ the founder) is as close as it gets to sainthood ) .
I wish I could convey better the satisfaction we get from being and serving these wonderful people .

2 Judy G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with MEDICO for 15+ years as a medical volunteer. I can't speak highly enough about the dedicated, hard-working volunteers and the care that is provided to individuals and communities. I know that the many rural communities in Honduras visited by MEDICO volunteers have benefited from the comprehensive health care and health education that we are able to provide during our week's stay. I continue to plan a MEDICO volunteer trip every year, I am constantly reminded of my extreme fortune in life and the opportunity I am afforded to volunteer with MEDICO.

1 chefmissyg

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with MEDICO for about 11 years now and I’ve really enjoyed every aspect of our trips; from serving the lovely people of Honduras and working with the partnering organizations (PLAN is fantastic!), to learning new skills by assisting the doctors and dentists to working in the pharmacy dispensing medications. I enjoy helping lead the teams and meeting and getting to know all the warm and caring (and fun!) volunteers. But I’ve always longed to be able to offer my skills as a chef.

My opportunity to do just that finally came. Soon after signing up for the January trip, I was contacted by MEDICO’s wonderful Medical Director Maria Betancourth who knows that I am a chef, and was told that our team will be working with the Fundacion Corazon De Gracias that serves homeless children, some of which are severely malnourished. She asked if I would I be interested in teaching the women who work in the kitchen basic nutrition and also cook for the team. Would I!

I set out researching indigenous vegetables and put together suggestions on how to cook them to maintain the vitamins. I then compiled a bunch of nutritious, rich kid- friendly recipes.

I also discovered a product called Plumpy-Nut that Doctors Without Boarders uses in their refugee camps. It’s basically a peanut paste that has been fortified with milk powder, vitamins and minerals. Peanut butter is very expensive in Honduras, but raw peanuts are plentiful and inexpensive. I knew I would have access to all the other ingredients I would need, including liquid children’s vitamins with minerals from Dr. Paredes or MEDICO’s pharmacy. So, I planned to teach them how to make some to always have on hand at the Fundacion.

One of my big concerns was the cultural difference and how to sensitively suggest more healthful cooking practices and techniques since it’s common in Honduras to cook vegetables for long periods of time leaving them devoid of any health benefits. Another was safe food handling and sanitation. It’s not unusual for team members to experience digestive distress issues if the food is not handled properly or is not prepared with purified water. This was a big responsibility. I needed to keep the team healthy!

I need not to have worried. Upon arriving, I learned that the women with whom I would be working were not only receptive to all my suggestions, but genuinely enjoyed the recipes we prepared together and were hungry for as much information as I could share with them. They were absolutely delightful and a pleasure to work with. They also understood the need to protect our sensitive American stomachs against the unfamiliar bugs that are present in the water and quickly adopted the practice of boiling our food prep equipment and using bleach to sanitize surfaces. We were joined by two bi-lingual high school student interpreters that were interested in learning to cook. This added a really delightful component to the project. Together, we had a lot of fun and prepared some really amazing food.

One of the highlights of the experience was learning that the Foundation had a vegetable garden from which I was free to use as many veggies as I wished during the week. Each morning I went out and harvested sweet peppers, green beans, radishes, mustard greens and cilantro. Everything else I needed, I was able to buy at a nearby outdoor market directly from farmers. The produce was of outstanding quality!

Even though the kitchen had no hot water, only two burners and a wood burning griddle for cooking tortillas, we needed to cook for 50 each day. During the week we prepared Arroz Con Pollo, Avocado and Orange Salad, Curried Chicken and Vegetables, Carne Asada with an herb packed Chimichurri, Israeli Salad, and Vegetarian Chili with Jalapeno, Onion Corn Bread. We even baked Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons in their outdoor wood burning oven and prepared a big batch of homemade fortified peanut butter.

Having used my recipes all week, on the last day I told the women that I would now like to learn from them and asked if they would teach me an authentic Honduran dish. So together, we prepared corn tortillas with refried beans and cheese and a veggie filled soup with rice. It was delicious!

By the end of the week the team joked that they had all gained weight and the cooks, the high school student interpreters and I laughed and learned together; proving once again that food is the universal language that crosses cultures and brings people together.

Each MEDICO trip that I’ve had the honor to serve on has been unique and extraordinary in its own way. I’ve seen the doctors and nurses literally save lives and volunteers without any professional medical background working side by side showing the people of Honduras that we care about them. This kind of goodwill can go a very long way and everyone, regardless of their talents has the ability to make a difference.

This particular trip was so personally rewarding for me in that I felt I was able to contribute and use my own skills to help.


Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity.

Missy Gurmankin, C.P.C

1 Steven E.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Serving others in need outside of the United States has always been on my "to do" list. But with a young family and a growing, busy dental practice, making that dream into a reality -well there was never the right time.

But as the practice matured (along with myself) I looked into serving on a foreign mission team. At the same time I hired a Spanish speaking dental assistant (named Nelly) who was also interested in serving abroad.

I learned about MEDICO (Medical Eye Dental International Cae Organization) through a colleague. So I inquired. I was immediately impressed with their knowledge and experience serving in Central America- particularly in Honduras.

So in 2008, my assistant, her husband (a physicians assistant) and myself traveled on our first mission trip to a sugar plantation in Honduras called Tres Valles.

I recall one moment on that trip that has remained with me ever since. It was at the end of a long day and it's was hot. Our "clinic" was in a cinder block building with a metal roof so it felt like an oven. We couldn't open the windows because the trucks coming in and out of the sugar plantation created so much dust.

I was looking forward to completing what I thought was the last patient of the day when Chuck, one of our Spanish speaking interpreters, poked his head into the door and said: "can you take one more".

I looked at my assistant Nelly with eyes that said: "I can't do it" but she gently put her hand on my arm and said: "yes we can do it". In walked Maria, a pleasant dark haired young lady. She sat in our portable dental chair and said that she had 3 teeth hurting her- and they were all in different areas of her mouth! (Great I said to myself sarcastically).

So I looked in her mouth and saw that she had 3 loose molars- all suffering from gum disease. A piece of cake I said to myself. I quickly got her numb and removed the teeth. Three more teeth into the scrap bucket I kept on the floor where I would drop the extracted teeth.

What happened next is the story: Maria bolted up right in the dental chair and started to ball. She was saying (in Spanish and translated to me by Nelly) how she was praying to God that He would send an angel to help her with her mouth pain. She had been going to bed every night with painful teeth.

Then she learned that a mission team from the United States was coming and it included dentists. She knew her prayers were answered. So she waited all day to be seen and was so thankful that we took her. She continued through her tears to thank God, Jesus, and Mary for sending us to help her.

I never thought of myself as an answer to anyone's prayer's before! I broke down after Maria left. I was ashamed that I was ready to give up and leave the clinic when this patient desperately needed help.

I have now been to Honduras with MEDICO every year since 2008. Now when the days get long and the line of patients never seems to end, I often think of Maria. Which patient out there on line was praying for an angel today?