Hands Across the World finds its origins over 20 years ago in the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s surgical trips to Ecuador. Dr. Richard Silverman began participating in the UMass volunteer program in 1993 with fellow clinician, Susan McCormack. The pair attended the trips through the years, which culminated in creating long and fruitful partnerships with key Ecuadorian physicians, hospitals, and community organizations in many regions of the country.
In 2002, Dr. Stephen Pap joined Dr. Silverman on the missions, and in 2006, they decided to formalize the collaboration by founding Hands Across the World.
Working hand-in-hand with committed local organizations, such as the Rotary Club of Latacunga, Fundacion Solidaria de Orellana and Fundacion Tierra Nueva, these reputable organizations became our partners, raising awareness about upcoming missions and working with local officials and hospitals to arrange for our team to effectively and sustainably do our work. To date, we have treated thousands of patients in the town of Latacunga, the Amazon Rainforest city of Coca, and the capital city of Quito, Ecuador!
Historically, funding was extremely limited, and trips were financed solely by the individual volunteers who went on the trips. Residents’ and nurses’ travel expenses were covered by fellow surgeons, friends, or family members. Establishing Hands Across the World enabled a better operating model so that our team could increase the diversity of surgeries and services provided, reach more people in need, in addition to lessening the financial burden of those giving their time and services.
It’s a true testament of giving from the heart
to change lives and make a difference in the world!
Fun Fact! Several of our Board Members not only participate in our missions, but also lead additional surgical teams to Ecuador, further solidifying HAW’s partnerships with local medical professionals and communities to offer comprehensive care. Dr. Janice Lalikos maintains an affiliation with UMass and leads a surgical team every other year, in addition to Dr. Alan Babigian and Dr. Charles Castiglione, who bring a group of Hartford, CT based staff and residents every other year.