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A United Mission Improves Health Care Access in Jamaica

June 8th, 2017


While the island of Jamaica boast some of the most beautiful beaches and endless summer fun—it remains to be one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean—and for many locals access to health care can be very challenging. Thanks to organizations like The United Mission of Goodwill (UMG), a charity founded and run by Lorna Rawle, CRNA, MSN, MSA, access to health care for those in need is made possible, and most recently with the support of St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center.

UMG’s purpose coincides with Catholic Health Services mission to advocate for the poor and the underserved, so when asked to help support the most recent UMG mission to Portland, Jamaica, St. Catherine’s Administration willingly assisted with much needed equipment and supplies.

Experienced physicians, including Urologist Thomas Harrington, MD, and General Surgeon Joseph Vitolo, MD, joined the mission from April 29 - May 6, 2017. There they performed a variety of surgical procedures, including, inguinal hernia repairs, transurethral resections of the prostate (TURP), a urethrotomy and supra-pubic prostatectomy, all for urinary retention. The physicians also assisted with some pediatric and gynecological procedures. 

“This was the third trip for both Dr. Vitolo and I—and the people of Portland were among the nicest, most grateful people we'd ever encountered”, said, Dr. Harrington.  “I'm eternally grateful to St. Catherine’s leadership for their willingness to donate equipment for the trip—it wouldn't have happened without them.” 

The development of UMG is an outgrowth of a personal tragedy of founder Rawle, who experienced first-hand how the lack of access to health care can be life-changing. However, Rawle took her experience and vowed to help others gain access to proper health care within their respective communities. “Dr. Harrington and Dr. Vitolo have been a beacon of hope for the poorer group of Jamaicans,” said Rawle. “Their dedication to humanity is exceptional—their humility is palpable—they are indeed a blessing.”


Photo (L-R): Dr. Adrien Kant, Dr. Peter Judge, Head OR Nurse Janet Rowe-Panton, Dr. Thomas Harrington and Dr. Joseph Vitolo.