Greetings from Guatemala

Well, we made it to Guatemala City, and what a great trip it’s been so far. The first few days have been a wonderful opportunity to meet with our local partners to understand how we can do even more together to improve the health of the poor and vulnerable in Guatemala.

One key partner is Universidad Rafael Landivar, a private Jesuit university system that operates a medical school, the largest nursing school in the country and many other educational programs. When we first started collaborating two years ago, our focus was on bringing medical students to Providence for two-month internships. Now, we are expanding the collaboration to support other areas of study, such as nursing and nutrition.


Our contingent from Providence and university leadership outside Fraijanes Medical Center.

Providence Scholars of Hope

While we visited with faculty and students,  I had the great honor of making an exciting announcement. We unveiled the new Providence Scholars of Hope program, which will offer three scholarships per year in nursing, medicine and public health. Through this program, we are investing in students who speak the country’s indigenous languages and are committed to service in rural communities. We believe this is an important way to invest in the health of the population.

Some of the medical students who came to Providence for training gave us a tour of their clinics and shared an incredible presentation about how they are working to meet local needs. What was most impressive is how they deliver community care by getting to know each family on a personal level so they can really understand their health needs. It’s the Providence promise to “know me, care for me and ease my way” in action.


Some of the medical students who have served and studied in Providence residency programs. A very impressive group.

Next stop: The Central Highlands

The next portion of our journey is a trip into the hills of Chicaman where we’ll have a chance to meet with another important partner, Medical Teams International. We’re working together to improve the health of eight rural communities in the Central Highlands. While we’re there, we’ll get a chance to meet local families and install clean burning stoves in homes.

I look forward to telling you all about it when I return. Until then,  words can’t express how being down here makes me incredibly proud to be part of Providence. Our Mission feels very alive in this corner of the world.

A few more pictures


Sixth year medical student Mercedes Cabrera tells us about the programs in her clinic, including a pregnancy club for expectant mothers.


Dr. Ramirez of the School of Health Sciences shares the results of their community health care programs.


My wife, Nancy, is a physical therapist who volunteers in Swedish’s specialty clinic for the uninsured in Seattle. She joined us on the trip because she is a passionate advocate for community health. She is pictured here with one of our favorite persons in the world, Sister Julie Casey.


Providence always rises before the sun. The view from our red eye into Guatemala.

  1. Saluting Dr. Hochman,

    “Ma saa le chole?”

    I wish that I’ll visit Guatemala in the future.


    Henry PAN

  2. I’m always excited to hear when other caregivers are able to have the wonderful experience in Guatemala. I was there in May this year and it was such an incredible opportunity to witness the poverty, the love of the Mayan people for their communities, and the enthusiasm of the Guatemalan organizations and agencies for Providence’s partnership.

    This is such valuable service, both for us and for those we have come alongside.


  3. It is wonderful to hear about Providence reaching out to the poor and vulnerable in Guatemala and about the Providence Scholar of Hope Program. Thank you Rod and Nancy for being our ambassadors.

    • Teresa
      Thank you for your comments. Nancy and I feel that the work in Guatemala reflects our commitment as Providence to the poor and vulnerable. It has been a life changing event for our people and with this visit we have some opportunities to do more to help the people of Guatemala. Rod

  4. Hello,
    I am so thankful you are experiencing Guatemala as I did two years ago.
    It is a life changing process. I will return on a Surgical Mission with Michelle James this coming March 2015.
    As a member of the Providence Mission Committee, Everett, I am proud of our Leadership and our continued effort to keep our Mission alive and pertinent.
    Thank you for your service. Stay healthy and safe !!
    Susie Borovina, RN4evr

    • Hi Susie – It’s wonderful you’re going back in March. Thank you for your service. You stay healthy and safe as well. -Rod

  5. Rod,
    The Providence relationship with the Jesuit University in Guatemala City sounds like an excellent one for both parties. Back in the “old days” when I was a student at Seattle University, the nursing school had a connection to Providence, that is now Cherry Hill.
    Question; would it be possible for Providence or Swedish to make a similar connection to Seattle University, like the one you have at the University in Guatemala City? I know there are presently graduates of the Seattle University School of Nursing presently working at Swedish.
    From the pictures of you and Nancy, it looks like both of you are doing well, and that is very good.

    • Ned
      Thanks for your comments. We are working closely with Seattle U in a number of areas including nursing education. Their Provost Dr Crawford is on our Board at Providence. Our best to you, Nancy and Rod

  6. It’s wonderful to see our system leaders becoming familiar with the work in Guatemala. In a few weeks our Southern California team (plus two physicians from Washington!)will be returning to Retalhuleu for a surgical mission — and your comments have fueled my already-rising excitement about returning to the beautiful people of Guatemala. As noted in the Sisters’ “Hopes and Aspirations”, “Such efforts provide transformation, not only for the recipients of the services but also for Providence people who provide services.”

    • Safe travels to you, Katherine, and thank you for your service. The quote from Hopes and Aspirations is perfect.