Published on February 26, 2019

Caring hearts


No matter where you travel in the world, a few things are certain. One of those things is the need for great patient care.

Recently, Owensboro Health hosted six members of a delegation from El Salvador’s Universidad Autónoma de Santa Ana (UNASA), which included three medical students, two professors and a university liaison officer.

Their weeklong visit was coordinated by G. Scott Reader, MD, a cardiologist at Owensboro Health Medical Group – Cardiology, who met several of the delegates during a medical mission trip. Dr. Reader’s mission work in El Salvador inspired him to partner with medical staff from the country to provide a mutual learning exchange. Jose “Mike” Hernandez, a learning-abroad officer at UNASA, said the visit is really about building relationships.

Delegates had the opportunity to observe procedures using equipment not commonly available in El Salvador. Laura Rosa, a professor of clinical laboratory at UNASA, saw the laboratory at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and said she was very impressed. “It’s incredible. The laboratory is very large and receives lots of tests, but they are so well-prepared technologically,” Rosa said. “This was a good experience for me and my students.”

Marcos Quintana, MD, director of the School of Medicine at UNASA, agreed. “In El Salvador, we’re never going to see a heart catheterization procedure, and it was amazing,” Dr. Quintana said.

However, the UNASA delegates weren’t the only ones learning. Staff at Owensboro Health had the opportunity to get to know the delegates and found common ground in caregiving — a calling that drew Dr. Reader and the delegates together in the first place. While his expertise is coveted in El Salvador, his ability to work with peers across cultures is what makes the partnership work.

Keren Valle, a fourth-year medical student, noted her experience “wasn’t just about the technology and the treatments in the hospital. It was the people,” Valle said. “They have treated us like equals.”

Hernandez echoed that sentiment with his hope for a strong, ongoing relationship. “This experience goes beyond the classroom,” he said. “I want everyone at Owensboro Health to know that we’re thankful.”

The program was such a success that Laura Cienfuegos, a medical student in her final year, said she plans to apply for the Family Medicine Residency Program that will open at Owensboro Health in 2020, and she also expects other students to apply. “We would love to be medical residents here,” Cienfuegos said.

This story was originally published in Owensboro Health's quarterly issue of Lift, read the entire publication for more great stories.

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering and the only hospital in the world to be designated a Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International, Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprising over 180 providers in 25 locations, a certified medical fitness facility, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center. Owensboro Health has been recognized for outstanding care, safety and clinical excellence by The Joint Commission, U.S. News & World Report and Becker’s Hospital Review. As the largest employer west of Louisville, Owensboro Health has 4,088 employees, and in FY 2015 saw 18,380 inpatient admissions and 823,072 outpatient encounters. A committed community partner, Owensboro Health provided grants of $702,924 in the last year to health, social service, education and arts agencies across the region. For more information, visit