Hanger prosthetist Gilberto Mejia, CP was recently honored with the 2009 Volunteer of the Year/Medical Diplomat Award from Physicians for Peace. Mejia was recognized for his efforts in the Dominican Republic where he has been working with the Physicians for Peace Walking Free program to provide amputee care and physical therapy education to patients and prosthetists for 8 years.
“It’s very rewarding to see patients get what they need despite the fact they are unable to afford it,” Mejia said in a news release. “I’m honored to receive this award and know that my efforts and work are appreciated.”
When Mejia first started providing training to local prosthetists as part of the Walking Free program, the clinic in the Dominican Republic was making as few as seven prostheses a week. Now, the same clinic has a robust staff, is known for their quality of service and is a self-sustaining operation that makes more than 30 prostheses a week, helping amputee children and adults rebuild their lives.
“Physicians for Peace volunteers are the forefront of our organization,” Physicians for Peace president and chief executive officer, Brig. Gen. Ron Sconyers (USAF, Ret.), said.
Since beginning his work with the organization Mejia has taken nearly 30 trips abroad to help local practitioners create sustainable prosthetic programs.