At Marathon Health’s Engage conference this year, attendees assembled 1,200 supply kits for use on a medical mission trip to Cusco, Peru.
Randy Archibald, PA, Dr. Michael Huang (pictured above) and Lisa Murphy, RN, helped distribute those kits in October as part of a team providing essential medical care to residents in Cusco and surrounding remote villages.
The trip was organized by the Making a Difference Foundation (MADF), a global nonprofit created by our client CHG Healthcare. In 2024, the foundation will support three ambassadors to join them on a global medical mission trip.
Learn more about our new partnership with CHG and this year’s mission trip to Peru.
Supporting Healthcare Needs Around the World
Physician Assistant Randy Archibald
The Making a Difference Foundation was born out of the compassion and generosity of CHG employees, along with a belief that every person can create a ripple effect of positive change in the world.
Since then, the nonprofit has evolved into a world-class organization with a proven track record of success in caring for underserved populations across the globe. Their success is rooted in a deep understanding of the communities they serve.
Marathon Health made its first connection with the foundation in 2019 through Randy while he was working as a PA for CHG’s Salt Lake City location. The group invited Randy on their medical mission trip to Guatemala that year, and his profound experience inspired him to join the foundation as its first and only non-CHG board member in January 2023.
“My medical mission to Guatemala affected me positively in so many ways. I felt so happy helping and interacting with the Guatemalan people while I was there, and then when I returned home, I brought a new perspective and energy to caring for my Marathon patients,” Randy explained. “The memories, photos, and friendships from that trip continue to bring me joy every day.”
The idea of a partnership between Marathon Health and the foundation came to Randy during MADF’s board retreat early this year.
“Our focus group was discussing how we could expand our provider grant program and find more high-quality providers for our medical missions at the same time. I immediately knew that Marathon providers would be the perfect fit!” he said.
“On my return, I immediately updated my 2023 professional development goal to organize a medical mission trip for Marathon ambassadors, presented the concept to the foundation and Marathon leadership, then arranged their initial meeting. I’m so grateful for the vision and support of both organizations, and I can’t wait to see what our ambassadors accomplish worldwide through this program in the coming years.”
Making a Difference in Peru
Lisa Murphy, RN, Vice President of Organizational Development
To understand the logistics involved with bringing this program to Marathon Health, the Making a Difference Foundation provided grants on behalf of Randy, Lisa and Dr. Huang to participate in a week-long medical mission trip to Cusco, Peru.
The foundation partnered with A Broader View Volunteers, a nonprofit volunteer travel organization based in the U.S. that sponsored the overall trip.
In Peru, there were 10 volunteers with medical expertise in obstetrics and gynecology, family practice, internal medicine, physical therapy, and nursing and one non-clinical volunteer who was a board member of the foundation. They were guided by a dedicated team of six interpreters and an onsite director/coordinator who supported them throughout the week.
The trip was a huge success, with the volunteer team serving over 1,000 patients in just five days.
“We had long lines waiting for us when we arrived in the morning. We were often greeted with applause, which was very rewarding. I was surprised how appreciative and friendly the patients were, even after waiting in line for hours,” Dr. Huang said.
Like Lisa, Dr. Huang and Randy were deeply moved by their interactions with the residents. “We did five outreach clinics which all were extremely busy, amazing and rewarding, but two of them stood out. On Wednesday we went to a remote village high in the mountains an hour from Cusco, and it was truly remarkable,” Dr. Huang shared. “The people had virtually no access to quality healthcare, and were so friendly and appreciative. The entire day was memorable due to the beautiful landscape, the friendliness and appreciation of the people, and the important work we did.”
He added, “By far my most emotional day was Friday when we set up a clinic at the boarding school/home for special needs children and their mothers. I literally cried all day thinking about how lucky I am, and how my son is healthy and has everything he would ever want. To see these children and the stress their parents are under with such limited resources, it was a heartbreaking and rewarding day all in one.”
For Randy, it was their visit to the local special needs school that most touched his heart. “As the father of a 27-year-old autistic daughter, I understand the significant challenges of caring for a child with autism, even with all of the medical resources we have available in the United States,” he explained.
“Many of the students’ mothers live on-site at the school to supplement the school’s staffing and had gathered together in a large classroom to meet our team. As I introduced our team, I mentioned my autistic daughter and that I hoped to be able to share some ideas that would help their families. Three mothers jumped up from the front row to hug me and thank me for being there.”
The kits assembled during Engage, which included children’s kits, hygiene kits, and basic first-aid kits, were eagerly received and much appreciated, and they played a key role in helping the mission team teach about basic hygiene — and in making the kids smile.
“The supply kits were a perfect addition to our medical mission. While the kits were assembled in a matter of minutes, they gave days and weeks of joy and comfort to our patients and their families,” Randy said.
“All of the kids were excited about the sunglasses, bouncy balls, and bubbles in their kits, and the mothers were equally excited about having hygiene supplies for their families. Some of my favorite photos from the trip are of the kids with their new toys.”
Living the Mission
We’re excited to announce the launch of the new Living the Mission Medical Program in 2024!
Next year, the Making a Difference Foundation will support three ambassadors — two clinical and one non-clinical — to join them on a group medical mission trip to care for an underserved population somewhere in the world.
Ambassadors must meet certain eligibility requirements and submit an application to be considered. Those selected will have the chance to provide essential medical care to people who otherwise may not have access, learn about different cultures and perspectives, and build relationships with fellow volunteers.
Thanks to Lisa’s time in Peru, she knows firsthand that this program will lead to transformative experiences for our ambassadors and the people they serve.
“It was eye-opening to witness the challenges faced by those living in poverty and to learn about the importance of global health equity. It was difficult to see what people endure, and it can be frustrating to know that there is so much need that cannot be met,” she said.
“However, the spirit, joy, and gratitude that people showed for even the smallest acts of kindness was a humbling experience. It reminded me to appreciate the many blessings in my own life and be grateful for the things I take for granted.”