Tegucigalpa, Honduras –
Thirty-two U.S. soldiers and airmen launched the inaugural U.S. Southern Command Health Engagements Assistance Response Team (HEART) 2022 operation in Tegucigalpa, Honduras July 18, 2022.
The team arrived in the city three days prior to unpack supplies and meet the Honduran teams, with whom they will be working side-by-side daily throughout the four-week partnership, allowing them to immediately begin the pre-scheduled surgeries on the official start date.
Within the first week, this total force, joint team of guard, reserve, civilian, and active-duty Army and Air Force medical and support members assisted their Honduran medical partners with 174 patients. Treatments included dental procedures, orthopedic and ophthalmic surgeries.
“While Joint Task Force-Bravo consistently sends troops into hospitals and villages throughout Honduras to provide care, this operation consists of a larger group of military members staying in one place for a longer period of time to allow for more immersive integration and collaboration,” explained Capt. Alexandre Rogan, the medical planner and officer in charge of HEART 22. “We are extremely excited to be here building relationships and assisting our neighbors.”
When Rogan met with the directors of the two participating hospitals, Hospital Escuela and Hospital San Felipe, they also expressed their gratitude to be a part of the operation.
“Thank you for the effort, for all the support and cooperation you are bringing to Honduras,” said Dr. José Elías Mendoza, medical director of Hospital San Felipe. “As you can see, there are many areas that need help, and I am very grateful that you are coming and supporting this hospital, but also the Honduran population.”
Medical engagements, such as HEART 22, enable all involved to foster professional relationships, exchange knowledge, and improve ability to partner for future disaster relief situations. The operation will continue in Honduras through mid-August and then transition to Guatemala through early September.