WEST CHESTER (November 22, 2019) – Two doctors from Chester County were recently recognized for their extensive contributions and service in assisting the medically underserved people of Honduras, state Senator Andy Dinniman said.
James Gustainis, D.M.D. and George Trajtenberg, M.D. were each honored with the Exceptional Service Award from Serving at the Crossroads, a nonprofit organization that provides medical and dental care to the people of La Entrada de Copan, Honduras.
“The people of Chester County have always given back to those in need, locally, nationally and globally. Serving at the Crossroads is an excellent example of that ethos in action, as our doctors, dentists, and surgeons continue to answer the call of a community nearly 2,000 miles away,” Dinniman said. “And it would not be possible without highly skilled volunteers like Dr. Gustainis and Dr. Trajtenberg, not to mention the guiding vision, dedication, and hard work of the organization’s founder, Dr. Robert Sumner.”
Founded by Sumner, another local dentist, in 2004, Serving at the Crossroads provides medicine and supplies, and coordinates medical brigades from the U.S. to serve the people of Honduras. Working with Manos Amigas, the organization opened a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art clinic there that houses medical and dental examination rooms, an operating room, a training/lecture room, pharmacy, x-ray machines, an ultrasound, blood analyzer, and other medical equipment.
In recent years, Dinniman has helped organize a trip of West Chester University graduate students to visit the clinic and to see firsthand how health care services are delivered in Latin American culture.
Dr. Gustainis, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who works at Oral Surgery Associations of Chester County and is Chief of his section at Chester County Hospital, has spent a week serving patients at the clinic every year since 2010. He has provided oral surgery services, averaging more than 100 extractions per trip, in addition to complicated oral surgical procedures.
Dr. Trajtenberg, who served as Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff at Chester County Hospital prior to his retirement, has led a surgical brigade to the Manos Amigas clinic every year since 2013. He has led a team that has performed about 70 surgeries each year. Dr. Trajtenberg was also instrumental in gathering the equipment and supplies necessary to establish the clinic’s surgical center and securing the donation of an operating room light.
Since 2006, the Manos Amigas clinic has treated more than 80,000 patients. With the help of talented volunteers like Gustainis and Trajtenberg and mentoring from Serving at the Crossroads, the clinic staff and Manos Amigas directors have taken ownership of the clinic, addressing the day-to-day operating challenges and planning for the future.