News from the Edge

February 2024 Newsletter: Another Chapter in Medical Outreach

Dr. Beth, pediatrician:

“One of the challenges for me with this trip specifically, was that this was the first trip we’ve had without Dr. Michael. Dr. Michael has been heading up the ASOSAP medical team portion in the States for over a decade. So, this was the first time I had to step up and try and fill some of his shoes for logistical responsibilities. Of course, we just missed having his presence here, his wisdom, and experience, and just fun-loving spirit. It was a little hard not having him here for those reasons.”

Not having Dr. Michael there (as he retired from being the ASOSAP Medical Director) was a substantial change, but we know that he would be proud of how the team continued to work together with ease to provide excellent care for the Pokomchi.

Another change was Dr. Shannon joining the team. It was her first visit with ASOSAP. She is a family medicine physician, a colleague of Dr. Beth, and has many years of experience doing similar medical outreach in varying countries. Her focus this trip was getting to know ASOSAP and seeing chronic patients with Conzuelo. She was a fantastic addition to the team.

During the week, two patients were identified as having Parkinson’s and we are working on providing medication to them as chronic patients and develop a protocol for their care. Dr. Shannon brought a portable machine to analyze hemoglobin in a person’s blood to detect if they have anemia and two patients were identified with anemia. Dr. Shannon also performed two minor surgeries on patients with small benign tumors.

Dr. Shannon, Dr. Beth, and Conzuelo


Dr. Shannon commented:

“One of the things that I really enjoyed on this trip was getting to work with the nurses. I was so impressed with how well they know their patients and how well they take care of them. Those chronic patients are so well taken care of, there wasn’t a lot for me to tweak. They are doing a really good job. I really enjoyed getting to meet the people. They were so lovely and sweet. Getting to see them laugh and laugh with them, it was a joy to be a part of that. It was good seeing the full rich culture here.”


This medical outreach there was also an opportunity to provide medical care in a village that has no vehicle access. It is reached by hiking for one hour. The physical challenge was well worth the effort to be able to provide health care to the villagers of this remote village. This visit was significant as it takes patients one and a half hours to reach the Providencia health post. Getting health care is a challenge, so it meant a lot and made receiving health care easier when we came right to their village. In addition, five people were identified with chronic illnesses and are now receiving treatment.

Dr. Eric provided dental care (mainly dental extractions) which Is also greatly needed. His daughter came along and worked well as his instrumentalist. 

Dr. Eric provided dental care (mainly dental extractions) which is greatly needed. There is a great need for this as villagers do not have access to quality dental care from trained professionals and teeth are generally in very poor condition. His daughter came along and worked well as his instrumentalist. Holding a medical outreach clinic in our Shekinah Center was new this year. Building My Horizon children and their families received dental and medical care. It was obvious, from the good turnout, that the care we provided was much needed and appreciated by them.


Dr. Eric shared about his time:

“The highlight of the trip was spending time with everyone at ASOSAP, the doctors, spending time with my daughter on the trip, and just serving the people, travelling to different communities, learning about the communities, and helping them, and being part of the comradery.”



There were lots of moving pieces to have medical outreach work so well, such as the pharmacy area where Alvaro and Dr. Shannon’s husband worked together, translation, and medical students that helped with dental instrument sterilization and dental education. Everyone worked together as an amazing team. At each of the three villages and the Shekinah Center, 3 clinics happened simultaneously – pediatric, adult general & chronic diseases, and dental.

Also of note, thirteen chronic patients were admitted to the program. Eleven of them were diagnosed with high blood pressure and two of them with diabetes. Five of these patients were from the remote, hiking access only village of Quixalito. This will give a better quality of life and most likely extend the life span of thirteen more people!

A huge part of medical outreach is the mentoring and education of the nurses. That continued as previously under Dr. Michael. The doctors taught during the clinics, “on the job”, and at a half-day session after the clinics were over. Each doctor had a time of teaching topics that the nurses requested. Dr. Eric taught about dental health, focusing on cavities. Dr. Beth taught on irritant dermatitis in infants and toddlers (diaper rash). Dr. Shannon taught on the other types of dermatitis in adults, with a special focus on eczema in children and adults.

Dr. Shannon teaching during the nurses education session

An important part of medical outreach was praying as a team before each clinic day started. With ministering to patients’ spiritual needs, Dr. Beth and Alicia had the opportunity to share about God with patients and encourage them to find a church and get involved.

It was a time of blessing to the Pokomchi and the medical team as Dr. Beth mentions:

“It’s a highlight for me to be able to see these families and be able to demonstrate how much they are loved by ASOSAP. One of my favorite moments was having patients give me hugs and thank me for being here. That always fills my heart with joy when they tell us how much of a difference we make and how much they appreciate us coming and the work ASOSAP does.”

We thank you all for your prayers. We are so happy to share this great news of how God answered our collective prayers for this fulfilling, productive medical outreach.