National Doctor’s Day – Celebrating Esperança’s Surgeons

Dr. Elmer Hess, a former president of the American Medical Association, once wrote: “There is no greater reward in our profession than the knowledge that God has entrusted us with the physical care of His people. The Almighty has reserved for Himself the power to create life, but He has assigned to a few of us the responsibility of keeping in good repair the bodies in which this life is sustained.”

On March 30th we celebrate those assigned that responsibility.  National Doctor’s Day was first observed in 1933 as a way to honor physicians, these folks who have dedicated their lives to the service of others. Dedicated medical professionals provide quality care twenty-four hours a day in emergency rooms, clinics, and senior care facilities all around the world.

Unfortunately, according to the World Health Organization, 5 billion people worldwide lack access to safe and affordable surgery from qualified doctors.

Cleft lips and palates, burn woulds from unsafe stoves, or other physical deformities untreated at a young age leave many without the ability to perform basic tasks. Many are unable to work. These experiences often lead to emotional trauma from being mocked or outcasted from their community.  Without access to quality medical care for these relatively simple treatments, the outlook is bleak.

For this reason, Esperança partners with indigenous organizations to provide surgical treatment to vulnerable populations who are often uninsured or unable to cover the costs of essential surgical care. Our volunteer teams provide a wide range of surgical specialties and come from all over the United States, procuring medical supplies for their missionsThese medical professionals take their commitment to service one step further, and perform surgical procedures at no charge for communities in dire need.

So March 30th, on National Doctor’s Day, we would like to take this time to acknowledge the generosity of some Esperança volunteers who, together, have transformed the lives of thousands…


Martin Johnson

Position: Board Chair

Specialty: Plastics

Years of Service: 7

Countries: Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua

Ray Sachs

Position: Board member, surgical team lead

Specialty: Orthopedics

Years of Service: 9

Countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru

John Pajka

Position: Surgical team lead

Specialty: Ophthalmology

Years of Service: 16

Countries: Bolivia, Peru

Tony Smith

Position: Board member, surgical team lead

Specialty: Plastics – Hands

Years of Service: 5

Countries: Ecuador, Nicaragua

Juan Morales Díaz

Position: AVODEC staff member, Primary Care Brigades physician, surgical mission intake & screening

Specialty: General

Years of Service: 3

Countries: Nicaragua

Brandt Feuerstein

Position: Board member, surgical team lead

Specialty: General/OBGYN

Years of Service: 2

Countries: Ecuador, Peru

Join us on March 30th to give back to these selfless medical professionals. You can acknowledge their commitment to healthcare by:

  • thanking your local physician
    • social media shout-outs
    • leave a review of their office
    • send flowers or greeting cards to your doctor’s office
  • donate to an organization that supports improving medical care in third world countries

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