We Wish Ohana Medical Mission Continued SuccessAnd Encourage Our Community to Support Them

In recent years, medical missions (or short-term medical missions called STMMs) are increasingly becoming a well-established vehicle for extending reach of health care professionals to the developing world. According to research done by Harvard Medical School, there are about 543 medical mission organizations.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that given the large number of Filipino physicians who are immigrants or first and second-generation Americans, and that there is a need for greater health care in many parts of the Philippines – that such an organization like the Ohana Medical Mission, Inc. (OMM) exists. But it’s not just Filipino Americans that volunteer with OMM, but a diverse, multiracial group who all have in common a passion to help others in need.

OMM was incorporated in 2009 as the medical arm of the Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii (PMAH). To date, OMM has done 15 medical missions in the Philippines from as far north in the Ilocos provinces to furthest south in Davao. They’ve provided free medical, dental and surgical services to thousands and donated millions worth of medicines and medical equipment. OMM even donates food.

Innovative through viral mission
Remarkably, the organization’s commitment to providing healthcare to impoverished communities in the Philippines continued during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with restrictions in place. Under the direction of then OMM President Dr. Carolina Davide, OMM was innovative and resourceful to conduct its first virtual medical mission with medicines, eyeglasses, toys and vitamins shipped over to the Philippines.

January 2023 mission
And the organization is on track to send another full-scale mission this upcoming January 9-14, 2023, to Manila, Quezon city and Caloocan city under the leadership of the current President Dr. Ian Guerrero.

OMM is truly inspiring and represents the best in humanity and charity. Their work in helping indigent communities and during crisis (for example after super typhoon Yolanda) uplifts and sometimes saves lives.

Some volunteers who are originally from the Philippines are thankful that through OMM they have the opportunity to visit their hometown and cities and give back to their old communities, which many say, are sentimental experiences they will never forget.

Some volunteers who’ve accompanied their physician parent(s) while in high school are now enrolled in medical school, planning to keep the tradition of health care, and volunteering their skills to help in future missions.

OMM physician volunteers know the medical conditions of the places they visit, the lack of proper infrastructure, often outdated medical equipment, understaffed hospitals and clinics. They also know how many will travel for miles upon miles just to attend an OMM mission and hoping for medicines, hoping for medical services that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Some have never had a physical examination until OMM visited their community.

OMM volunteers also see the gratitude in their patients faces and take to heart the comments patients make and their stories they tell. It’s a blessing both ways for volunteers and the people they help on these missions.

Loads of preparation
The public should also be aware that missions just don’t happen, and doctors show up to their destinations. The logistics and planning of one mission will take over a year of preparation. There is coordination to be made with many groups: the medical and lay volunteers, representatives in the communities they visit, donors on both sides (Hawaii and the Philippines), public relations to inform the communities before OMM arrives, and many more details to be pulled together until the day of departure. Kudos to Executive Director JP Orias and staff for their invaluable work for OMM.

Orias also has been working with OMM President Dr. Guerrero to launch the organization’s first ever Charity Ball to take place in February 2023. This fundraising event will replace their previous golf tournament fundraisers.

Public and private support
The Hawaii Filipino Chronicle would like to encourage our readers to help support OMM.

For more information on OMM or to donate, visit pmah-hawaii.org and select the Ohana Medical Missions, Inc page. You will have the option to make a one-time, monthly or annual donation. Any donation helps. OMM is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, EIN 27-0865868. All the contributions are tax deductible. 

The Hawaii Filipino Chronicle (HJFC) is pleased to have shared news and stories of OMM and their volunteers in the course of over a decade. HFC publishers Dr. Charlie Sonido and Chona Montesines-Sonido, along with their family, have also coordinated and made missions with OMM in the past. We will continue to support OMM and look forward to updating our readers of OMM’s future projects.

A big mahalo and mabuhay to OMM staff, officers, physicians, nurses and lay volunteers. We wish OMM continued success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.