GEO was started in 2000 with the vision of helping the underserved in developing countries suffering from ear disease. With funding from a single donor, the first GEO program started in rural Honduras, and since then has developed into a global initiative, which has touched the live of people living on all continents and in 25 countries, who are affected by substandard housing, poverty, violence, epidemics, and lack of speciality care in ear disease.
GEO specializes not in short-term emergency interventions, but in partnerships expected to last a lifetime and beyond. Increased awareness of hearing loss, along with the disabling effects, has provided us with new and daunting challenges of how to continue our work, and also expand and make our model of care sustainable, widely available, without sacrificing quality for quantity, and principles for expediency.
For the past 15 years, GEO’s guiding principles have been determined by the collective voice of the communities in which we serve rather than by the ever-shifting demands of government policies, economics, or our own beliefs. Our goals and the number of lives that we have helped have increased hand-in-hand, thanks to the growing cadre of funders who have supported GEO. Over the years, one patient has become ten, then hundreds, and as the number of patients served has grown, so have our efforts to document and disseminate the best parts of our model of health care to new generations of clinicians through education and service to the underserved.
In early 2007, I was talking to a young medical student in El Salvador, and in that discussion, she asked me why I was involved in the work that I do. I told her that I had been treating patients in private practice in the USA for many years and that I realized that in order to use ones human potential, one has to give back to the world and live life to the fullest. On this note I recalled the quotation from Churchill, "You make a living by what you get and a life by what you give". Her question reminded me that many people are not aware of the remarkable abilities that they possess and how in an idealistic and yet realistic way they can make a difference in the world by unselfishly sharing their knowledge and skills with others. At GEO we have opened doors for many who would otherwise not have had the opportunity for health care in access limited communities, and as well, we have exposed students, residents, fellows, nurses, and physicians globally the concept of helping to make the world a better place.
It is because of the many partners and long associations from supporters and coworkers, that GEO is making a difference in the world. We hope when we depart those countries, that we leave an ever lasting presence of knowledge and skills to those physicians, so that they may serve in our footsteps, and as well as a life of better hearing to our patients.
Explore the pages of this website and you will learn about our projects, the people we work with, and the realities of ear disease unseen before. Here is the evidence….