Global Health & Health Disparities Program (GH2DP): Yoro, Honduras


This site represents the principle international focus of our global health program. Since 2008 we have focused our efforts on communities in the Yoro area of northern Honduras, with our current efforts primarily focused in and around the rural, mountainous area of La Hicaca.

Since 2006 the VCU Department of Internal Medicine has partnered with the Honduras Outreach Medical Brigada Relief Effort (“HOMBRE”) organization, a 501c3 non-profit organization affiliated with Virginia Commonwealth University, to send medicine residents to remote areas of Honduras to participate in direct medical relief work as well as public health projects. In 2008 a formal elective within the Department of Internal Medicine was created, the Central American Relief Elective (C.A.R.E.) (now known as the Global Health & Health Disparities Program, GH2DP). Over the years we have continued our productive relationship with HOMBRE, and have also partnered with multiple other organizations, as well.

Since 2006 we have sent nearly a dozen medicine interns and residents on these relief trips and have involved nearly 40 medical students, as well. We have seen over 4,000 adult patients over a total of 34 days of clinic. We have distributed and analyzed data from 2 large scale needs assessment surveys and have helped to distribute, test and maintain over 150 water filters (each of which can provide clean water to an entire household for 2 years). We have reached approximately half of the families in the area around La Hicaca via the water filter project, with the incidence of diarrheal illness decreasing by 50% since the project’s inception. In 2010 we adopted a novel project, the Adult Health Initiative, that utilized a novel clinical encounter form and encounter mechanism that significantly improved both the quality and consistency of care we provided on our short-term relief mission (more about this can be found here).

We primarily serve patients in and around La Hicaca in the Department of Yoro area of Northern Honduras. This is a rural, mountainous area with limited to no access to medical care. Approximately 2,000 people live in this area across 17 different villages. Our brigades are designed to provide care to the majority of residents living in these villages.

Our relief work has typically involved a 2 week brigade in June, with a second planning trip in January. We partner closely with the local Ministry of Health and community leaders to integrate into their health efforts and to guide our direct medical and public health initiatives.


Department of Yoro, Honduras

For more information contact:

Michael P. Stevens, M.D., M.P.H.

P.O. Box 980019

Richmond, Virginia 23298-0019

Phone: (804) 828-2121

“My experience on two brigades in rural Honduras radically changed my world view. Being on the ground in areas of need is a powerful, enlightening experience that challenged me to think beyond the microcosm of medicine I practice in the US and to recognize the impact of poverty on the third world.”

                                     -Dr. Dan Markley