International medical alliance assembles team for medical mission

May 27, 2009
Group still seeks two more anesthesiologists, a dental assistant, and a pharmacist to join mission trip to Ibarra, Ecuador.

RANCHO MIRAGE, California--A Southern California nonprofit group is seeking two anethesiologists, a dental assistant ,and a pharmacist to join an upcoming medical mission to Ecuador.

Rancho Mirage-based International Medical Alliance has assembled a team of more than 60 doctors, nurses, dentists and support personnel who have agreed to volunteer their time and talents on a medical mission July 9-19 to Ibarra, Ecuador.

"We have an incredible group of volunteers joining us for our medical mission, including general, plastic and maxillofacial surgeons," said Ines Allen, IMA's founder and president.

According to Allen, Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage and John F. Kennedy Hospital in Indio have donated medicines and other supplies to support the mission. But the group is still seeking a few more volunteers, including two anethesiologists.

"If we have more anesthesiologists, we can perform more life-changing surgeries," Allen said.

IMA's volunteer surgeons typically perform surgeries to remedy cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities--all of which can lead not only to incessant infections, but to difficulties with basic functions. This includes eating, drinking, talking, hearing, and breathing.

Allen said the group also needs another dental assistant and a pharmacist to help support the existing team.

In addition to giving of their time and talents, the volunteers in IMA's mission to Ibarra are paying for their airfare; however, room and board will be provided by the Ecuadorian government.

IMA's mission to Latacunga, Ecuador, last year included 62 American doctors, surgeons, nurses and other support personnel who collectively examined more than 6,200 patients while performing more than 130 surgeries, 600 dental procedures, and approximately 500 eye examinations.

More than 32,000 indigent Ecuadorians have received medical services from IMA since the organization was founded in 2000, Allen said, adding that she is already laying the groundwork for a medical mission to El Salvador next year.

IMA's latest U.S. hardship case involved Luis Fernando Sandoval Felix, a 17-year-old Thermal, Calif., boy who lost his left arm and shoulder after a motorcycle accident. IMA raised the funds to purchase an upper extremity prosthesis for Luis, and recruited Robert Openshaw--a San Bernardino-based prosthetist and IMA volunteer--to assemble and customize it for Luis for no charge. Luis received the new arm earlier this year.

If you would like to volunteer on an upcoming IMA mission or want to learn more about IMA's efforts in the Coachella Valley and overseas, contact Allen at (760) 485-8963 or visit International Medical Alliance.

To read more about volunteerism, go to volunteerism.

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