Here you will find the story of True North Missions Society, our board members, and further details about the financial history of the organization.
- Dr. James Powell, Surgeon - President & Director of Medicine
- Cheryl Geeraert, CA - Treasurer
- Pam Railton, RNFA - Nurse Liaison
- Michelle Caputo, RN - Nurse Liasion
- Jordan Burns, Wood-Smith and Nephew
In January of 2007, Dr. Jim Powell and Mrs. Gail Evans,ORT, traveled to Ecuador for the first time as part of a mission led by Dr. Tom Greidanus. Dr. Greidanus had been leading a mission to Cuenca, Ecuador for roughly 10 years at that point in time. The team had several components to the mission including providing total joint replacement of the hip and knee joint and dental care to some of the poor in Cuenca.
Patients were identified by Dr. Manuel Avila in Cuenca. He is a family physician who looks after the poor in Ecuador and had previously convinced Dr. Greidanus to bring a volunteer medical team from North America to Cuenca. One of the main tenants of the mission has always been to provide care to poor people who would not otherwise have access to medical care.
Dr. Powell had been invited by Dr. Greidanus to join the mission because of his interest in reconstructive surgery for a common hip problem in Ecuador, acetabular dysplasia. Because of the manner in which young children are swaddled, there is high incidence of this problem. If the problem is identified early, it is possible to make several cuts to the pelvis and reorient the hip socket either preventing or delaying the onset of arthritis. It was for this reason that Dr. Powell and Mrs. Evans traveled to Ecuador, that is to explore and possibly start a program of pelvic ostectomies to augment the total joint arm of the mission.
A third arm of the mission was provided by a pediatric team from Calgary led by Dr. Jim Harder and Dr. Elaine Joughin. Dr. Harder and Dr. Joughin and team provided care to poor patients with pediatric problems including hip dysplasia. The pediatric team continues to travel with Dr. Greidanus and are working on developing an education and prevention program.
On our first mission an appropriate facility was identified and a 13 year old patient who previously had four procedures on her hip was operated on by our team. Fortunately, she has had a good outcome to this point in time and is now a happy teenager continuing with her school. One other patient was operated on, during that first a mission. The patient was a 20 year old woman with a new born who had a previous infection and an unhealed fracture of her tibia - a major lower leg bone that runs from the knee to the ankle. The procedure was performed to stabilize her unhealed tibia. This patient has subsequently been assessed, her tibia is healed, and she is now raising a happy and vibrant young daughter.
In subsequent years, three and then six patients were able to receive peri acetabular osteotomies.
Dr. Robert and Mrs. Donna Bourne traveled with the mission group to Cuenca last year. Dr. Bourne is recognized across the world as a leader in hip and knee surgery with particular expertise in complex hip reconstruction. In addition to the six patients who received realignment procedures for the hip joint last year Dr. Bourne undertook six very complex total hip replacements that would not otherwise be possible or made available. These patients are being monitored in Ecuador and are currently doing well.
As the size of the mission led by Dr. Tom Greidanus had grown to over 60 volunteers, Dr. Bourne and Dr. Powell felt that taking a team dedicated to the alignment osteotomies and complex total hip replacements at a separate time would potentially allow more patients to be cared for. Dr. Bourne and Dr. Powell recognize Dr. Greidanus's excellence in leadership and his compassion for the poor. Dr. Greidanus will be leading the Edmonton team and the pediatric team in January, 2010. Dr. Bourne, Dr. Powell and the medical team travelled back to Cuenca, in April of 2010 to continue their work. Upon another successful mission, True North continued fundraising to revisit Santa Ines Hospital in Cuneca for April, 2011.
In October, 2011, Dr. Powell and his friend, Larry Henke, returned from a scouting trip to Tanzania. While there for approximately 6 days, they visited the Kilorphanage in Arusha and the Bugando Hospital in Mwanza, Tanzania. The Bugando Hospital consists of 900 beds for a area population east of Arusha of 14 million. To date, True North Missions will be deciding how we can assist the people of Mwanza.