December 11, 2015
71 Free Scoliosis Surgeries:
Duncan Tree Foundation Volunteers Return to Jamaica for Seventh Scoliosis Mission Trip Since 2012
In September of 2013, during the Scoliosis Research Society's (SRS) annual meeting in Lyon, France, the SRS officially added the Duncan Tree Foundation (DTF) site at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) in Kingston, Jamaica, to their list of endorsed sites.
Due to this major milestone, orthopedic surgeons from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa will now be able to join DTF's cause and support DTF's Complex Spine Project at KPH, Jamaica's largest public medical center, and Cornwall Regional Hospital on Jamaica's northeast coast, by volunteering to teach, give lectures, help with capacity building, and lend support to Dr. Ian Neil, the lead orthopedic surgeon at KPH.
Roughly 2-3% Jamaicans suffer from scoliosis. Currently, there are hundreds of adolescents on a surgical waiting list who cannot afford the expenses of corrective spine surgery. Approximately 81,000 Jamaicans live with moderate to severe scoliosis, and approximately 1% of these patients are in need of corrective spine surgery.
Duncan Tree Foundation's first scoliosis mission trip to Jamaica was initially led by Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, Chief Emeritus of the Scoliosis Service at HSS, as well as President and founder of FOCOS, and are currently led by Dr. Kenneth Paonessa, former Global Outreach Chair of the SRS.
Since March 2012, DTF has been primarily focused on corrective spine surgeries for patients under 20 years old. From March 2012-May 2014, approximately 40 people have received free corrective spine surgeries in Jamaica. DTF also provides training opportunities for health care professionals in Jamaica through capacity-building initiatives. More than 300 medical professionals have received free Continuing Medical Education credits since the inception of the Jamaica Spine Program. The DTF visiting surgical team provides "gold standard" educational opportunities through lecture series for the local medical community.
The mission trips currently take place twice a year, spring and fall, for up to 10 days. Volunteers pay for their own travel. Lodging accommodations and food are provided through fundraising efforts in the New York City area. Passports and volunteer registration are required to enter the country. Medical staff must be credentialed through the Ministry of Health. No vaccinations or visas are necessary for this mission trip.