Don Bosco, Monimbo, Masaya, Nicaragua -- Introduction
Mission Report
Clinic Site
Los Gentes

NEVOSH: North East Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity

Tom Geruso made the news! More News...

In January of 2007, 80 members of NEVOSH traveled on the annual trip to Central America to set up a remote humanitarian healthcare clinic. For four days, the group worked hard for the people of Monimbo, Masaya, Nicaragua.  The patients had the benefit of a wide variety of services, including Dental, Medical, Optical, Audiology, Cataract Surgery, Mobility, Pharmacy, and even a Dietician. NEVOSH really has come a long way in the 21 years since the late Maryland Dr. Bob Schwartz OD founded the group as MD VOSH, with an initial focus solely on eyecare.   The first mission was February 1987 to Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.

    The people of Masaya benefited from the experienced crew in attendance at the clinic.  This year brought a few changes in the line up.  Notably, two Ophthalmologists made the trip to Nicaragua and set up a Cataract Clinic in the Hospital in Masaya.  The perennial favorite Stephen Grimes MD was joined  this year by Charles Collins MD.   The pair worked through challenges including autoclave issues to restore sight for 30 individuals.  Dr. Grimes secured an ophthalmic microscope which was donated to the Hospital in Masaya at the end of our stay this year.

The NEVOSH clinic was held in a school once again this year.  This year we were fortunate to have use of a beautiful new 2 story school with a central courtyard and breezy location.

The  NEVOSH 2007 volunteer healthcare clinic was run by the experienced and unflappable doctors Joe England MD and Carl Sakovits OD.  Their preparation and guidance throughout the entire year included meticulous attention to every facet of this populous trip.  Their work forms the very backbone of what we do.  Without their dedication to seeing a job well done, none of what we accomplished in January 2007 would have been possible.


Registration and Screening are vitally important stages of a patient's visit to the NEVOSH clinic.  The registration team had a vertically bisected concrete half dome as a backdrop for their station.  This feature of the outdoor stage they were working on provided a nice visual atmosphere, but offered little protection from the sun.  These volunteers tanned while they interviewed patients to get an overall medical history and specific concerns.  The Ginsberg sisters, Sarah and Melissa,  put their time in for registration and screening, but also demonstrated their precocious nature by quickly learning to pick in the dispensary.  

Optical Screening (Visual Acuity) was handled with level of patience and care that kept the throngs of people often waiting in the room mesmerized with respect for Peter King.  He really has what it takes to keep things in line and rolling along productively, which can sometimes be difficult.  Persephone Brown worked in screening this year with Peter King, but also handled registration interviews and precise picking in the dispensary.  A triple threat!


Optometry 2007  With 13 optometrists  seeing patients for the four days, we were well staffed with skilled practitioners of eye exam.  Once again the roster of ODs is filled out with veterans who make the return trip in January as predictably as a bird in migration.   The optometrists on the trip this year included a preponderance of NEVOSH veterans, including Larry Ginsberg OD, Carl Sakovits OD,  Ken Cottrell OD, Ben Peters OD, Ken Warburton OD,  Jamesina Chim OD, Rocco Robilotto OD, Lara Alami OD, Hernando Alfonso OD, Jackson Lau OD, and Jane Bucci OD.  Super world traveler and southern gentleman Ken Cottrell OD brought Donnie Akers OD, who fit right in from the first day.  Harry Hart OD was in attendance at the inaugural mission in 1987 and returned this year with VOSH spirit to share.




The 5 optometric students came from SUNY NYC's NEVOSH club, which has been an absolutely integral part of the clinics that NEVOSH has assembled.  The students in attendance were able to see first hand good examples of pathologies that are more rare in the US, a learning benefit of treating so many people in a tropical latitude.  The acceptance to travel with SUNY VOSH is an honor in itself, and the students this year came with open eyes and a team spirit that served them well.  Congratulations to Hanish Patel, Kristine Zabala, Attefa Sultani, Alice Phan and Amanda Fronhofer for being selected to receive the sponsored trip. 



  The Optical Dispensary was staffed by veterans and once again was a constant hub of activity and humanity.  Prescriptions are matched to the OD's spec from the library of donated glasses.  For many years this library has been assembled, sorted and resorted in the States by the legendary Larry Ulm and meticulous Marty fair.  Together with Darlene Boch, Marlee Ort and a cadre of caring individuals, Larry and Marty make it happen every year.  Jen Atwood Burney made the trip again this year with her Husband Steve, and their child got some pre-natal training on lens power and spherical equivalents.  The dispensary plans to implement a nifty computerized inventory and pick program for 2008.  Nancy Hart worked the dispensary in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras, and continues to add mission patches to her NEVOSH shirt which now shows evidence of 11 NEVOSH trips.


The Medical Clinic was located in two classrooms on the first floor of the School.  With veteran VOSH medical staffers at every turn, the Monimbo residents who came in to the clinic received the very best in care.  Returning veterans included Joe England MD, Rocco Andreozzi MD, Bruce Fisher MD, Geoffrey Burns MD, Sue Seidler NP, Shirley Arnold PA, Ann Mason CNM.  We look forward to bringing you more from the participants in the Medical Clinic.


The Pharmacy crew are always keeping the mood light and humorous.  They often spend time endlessly counting out pills, perhaps this is the reason they find ways to dance around and laugh together when they are temporarily free of the counting chore.  They are always helpful in explaining the medications they are distributing and every year the people of the community express their specific affection for the job that the Pharmacy staff does.  The pharmacy staff is presented with gifts from those they have helped and are always very touched by that.  With veterans galore, the Pharmacy was in tip top form.  The pharmacy was well stocked, with many thanks due to those companies and individuals who donated medications for the staff to dispense.   Forming the core of the Pharmacy team this year were veterans Eileen Tiexiera RN, Diane Brown King RN, Diane Forest RN and Cheryl Kelley RN.


For the first time, NEVOSH had a registered licensed Dietician working the clinic.  Of course Becky Tiexera is a 6 time NEVOSH veteran, but this year saw her flexing her new diploma and offering sage and pertinent dietary advice for her patients.  Diabetes nutrition was a common concern, we look forward to posting Becky's report on her experience.

The Mobility Clinic was located on the playground at the far corner of the school grounds.  This allowed them  to utilize an existing metal building for storage of the wonderful donated chairs.  The bright red wheelchairs stood out the first day of the clinic, but by Thursday the chairs were barely noticeable next to the bright red skin of the mobility clinic team.  These volunteers really gave it up for their patients this year.  The wind was blowing sand and grit from the courtyard above, and the sun was a constant companion for the crew until a shade area was established with a canopy.  The team worked hard and seemingly did so in total synchronicity. Sarah Chirnside captained the crew that included veterans Dave Pritchard, Shahin Barzin, Ali Hocek, and Ellie Santoro.  The team's hard work changed many lives of those with mobility issues.

Audiology came with their A game again this year, examining, charting, and diagnosing hearing problems for the people of Masaya.  The professionalism and attention to detail in the fitting and calibrating of the hearing aids dispensed is inspiring.  The audiology team "quietly" changed life after life all week long.  With donated hearing aids and a sophisticated variety of equipment, the team has a lot to carry and set up for the clinic, but every patient who received a hearing aid was quite glad that the team had made the trip this year.  Ken Startz led the crew to a very professional and successful mission.


The Dental Team continued this year to impress all observers with the caliber of clinic that they can assemble in a remote location.  With 2 portable chairs and all the myriad gear that they bring to bear, they were able to see and treat 308 patients.  The patients in the Dental clinic were even soothed to music with great sound quality to make them more comfortable!  We look forward to posting much more on the Dental Clinic for you very soon.  Dental has run an annual golf tournament for a few years now.  This year's tourney raised over $10,000 for NEVOSH!

Thanks to incomparable medical illustrator and veteran VOSH fellow, Kevin Somerville, we know that 3,987 patients were seen altogether during the 4 day clinic.  Kevin Worked in Registration and tallied the numbers thusly:

  MON 1/15


TUES 1/16


WED 1/17


THURS 1/18




Cataract Surgeries         30
Optometric 288 415 464 613 1,780
Medical 156 315 364 471 1,306
Dental 39 73 96 100 308
Audiology 59 61 74 89 283
Mobility 61 48 49 122 280
TOTAL:           3987

The website for this most recent January 2007 clinic trip is still under construction.  Please return soon!  We are expecting to add new text and more photos very shortly.

Submissions of photos and stories from those who were on site are being solicited.  For more information on submission, email

Call to Action: especially needs images of Screening, Translators,
Mobility Clinic and Cataract Clinic. Please contact
Two people that help to make the annual trip possible are Dr. Miguel Silva  and his lovely wife Velia Silva.  They help to coordinate the trip from the earliest site selection and planning stages to the completion of the mission.  Being a retired Optometrist from Seattle who is of Nicaraguan blood, Dr. Silva is helpful in facilitation in both the US and Nicaragua.  Dr. Silva is very diplomatic and acts as a liaison with government officials in the town where the clinic is set up.  Dr. and Mrs. Silva assure that the library of donated glasses and wheelchairs is on site and ready when the clinic begins.  Following find an excerpt from the 2004 Mission Report regarding Dr. Silva and his lovely wife:

Once everything is on the boat, it takes about a month to get to Nicaragua.  Once there, it needs to be removed from the container, placed on trucks, and moved to a secure facility.  Luckily, we had trusted people working on the Nicaraguan end.  First and foremost is Miguel Silva.  Miguel is an optometrist of Nicaraguan descent who lived and worked in the Seattle area for many years with his wife Velia.  In December 2002, they “retired” and moved back to the Masaya province of Nicaragua.  I put the word retired in quotation marks because since they arrived in Nicaragua, Miguel has worked very hard on a great deal of projects, only one of which is our mission.  Without him, the mission would have been far more difficult to organize, and quite likely would not have been successful.

Miguel and representatives of the mayor of Nindiri met the shipment of glasses and wheelchairs
from the boat and transported them to a secure location in Nindiri.  But this is not the only 
thing that was done locally.  Before beginning an undertaking such as a VOSH mission, you 
must have an organization working to make sure everything is taken care of locally.  
Read more of the 2004 Mission Report by Jonathan Wasserstein, OD

Hernando Alfonso OD and his lovely new wife Anita were honored at the final dinner at the Alhambra Hotel in Grenada.  They were presented with a charming hand carved wooden figure produced by a Rhode Island artist.  Hernando is an Optometrist practicing in Tarrytown, NY.  He has been traveling with MDVOSH cum NEVOSH since the second trip in January, 1988 to Omoa, Honduras.  Hernando met Anita in Nicaragua on previous NEVOSH trips and the couple were married in Nicaragua in November, 2006.  They honeymooned on Corn Island on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua.  While Anita has been waiting to join Hernando in the United States of America, the two have spent time together traveling in Central and South America.  NEVOSH congratulates the happy couple.

Many healthcare professionals in Nicaragua have helped to facilitate the success of the NEVOSH mission.  Dr. Martin Ugarte, a dentist and a Rotarian has been most helpful to NEVOSH.  Dr. Raul Harquin and his wife Sylvia have helped NEVOSH.   Dr. Martha Castillo, Rotarian and director of the Masaya Hospital has been instrumental  in the success of the NEVOSH trips in Masaya.

This year at the final group dinner at the Alhambra in Grenada, Dr. Vidal Ruiz MD of Ticuantepe, Nicaragua was honored with a hand carved figurine for his continued involvement in the annual visit by NEVOSH.

The January 2007 Trip to the neighborhood of Monimbo in Masaya, Nicaragua proved successful and well orchestrated.   Once again the group worked closely with the Rotarians of Masaya to coordinate the clinic site, advertisement, translation, lunches, admissions, and ease various aspects of the group's visit to Nicaragua.  The Rotarians have been a big part of the success of NEVOSH from the very early years and without their annual assistance the clinic and trip would likely be very different. IMG_7081.JPG

Angeles Bermúdez Perez
Masaya Rotary Club

Please read the La Prensa Article on the 2007 clinic in original Spanish and a somewhat rough mechanical translation in English.  Do not miss the article in the Warwick Beacon online on Tom Geruso's experiences.



NEVOSH trips:
2012 Panama & Tennessee
2010 Nueva Esperanza
2009 Nueva Esperanza
2008 Nandaime, Nicaragua
2007 Monimbo, Nicaragua
2006 Nandasmo, Nicaragua
2005 Catarina, Nicaragua
2005 Mus, Turkey
2004 Nindiri, Nicaragua
2003 Jinotepe, Nicaragua
2002 Ticuantepe, Nicaragua
2001 Monimbo, Nicaragua
2000 La Concepción, Nicaragua
1999 Masatepe, Nicaragua
1998 Niquinohomo, Nicaragua
1997 Lake Yohoa, Honduras
1996 Jutiapa, Honduras
1995 Omoa, Honduras
1994 Vera Paz, Guatemala
1993 Coatepeque, Guatemala
1993 Salama, Guatemala
1992 Chimeltenango, Guatemala
1991 Chichicastenango, Guatemala
1990 Comayagua, Honduras
1989 San Manuel, Honduras
1988 Omoa, Honduras
1987 S
anta Rosa, Honduras


This page was last updated UTC 2008-02-25 01:11 -0000

2012 Panama & Tennessee | 2010 Nueva Esperanza | 2009 Nueva Esperanza | 2008 Nandaime | 2007 Monimbo | 2006 Nandasmo | 2005 Catarina | 2005 Mus | 2004 Nindiri | 2003 Jinotepe | 2002 Ticuantepe | 2001 Monimbo | 2000 La Concepción | 1999 Masatepe | 1998 Niquinohomo | 1997 Lake Yohoa | 1996 Jutiapa | 1995 Omoa | 1994 Vera Paz | 1993 Coatepeque | 1993 Salama | 1992 Chimeltenango | 1991 Chichicastenango | 1990 Comayagua | 1989 San Manuel | 1988 Omoa | 1987 Santa Rosa

Contribute to NEVOSH | NEVOSH Home

Copyright © 1987-2012 Northeast VOSH, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, a not-for-profit organization, or our suppliers.  Contact for reproduction permission.