Skip to main content

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project

School of Podiatric Medicine

About the Project The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project began as an outgrowth of humanitarian relief to the Yucatan in 1988 after Hurricane Gilbert ripped through the region. Gilbert, a category 5 storm, left 500 people dead and widespread destruction. Relief aid to the region came from throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Dr. Charles C. Southerland, working with other health care professionals and public officials in Mexico hoped to bring medical care to the crippled children in the Yucatan as an ongoing project.

 

Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine offers its students many opportunities to volunteer in the local and global community consistent with the mission of the institution. Select third- and fourth-year students are permitted to participate in the Yucatan Project mission trips, which normally take place several times per year. The team usually consists of one surgeon, three residents and one student per trip.

A humanitarian effort of the Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine which provides indiegnt crippled children from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with surgical care of deformed limbs.

image alt

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project Mission

On July 4, 1996, Dr. Charles C. Southerland of Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, led a team of podiatric physicians on a mercy mission to Merida Mexico to perform surgery on disadvantaged crippled children from the Yucatan Peninsula. Every month he returns the lines of children waiting to see him and his medical team get longer and longer.

It is difficult to imagine in our U.S. society, that so many children with twisted limbs have never had an opportunity to be treated outside of the United States. Medical care of this nature is largely unattainable among the economically disadvantaged, unless "it's a question of loss of life or limb," according to Dr. Southerland.

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project has rendered treatment to more than 7,400 children in its first 15 years of operation. Dr. Charles Southerland and Dr. Keith Kashuk as co-directors have coordinated more than 70 trips to the Yucatan. Sixty eight doctors have volunteered their valuable personal time, over 80 students and residents have been trained and have assisted in surgeries, and more than 23,000 volunteer hours have been logged.

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project has rendered treatment to more than 7,400 children in its first 15 years of operation.

image alt

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project Training and Research

The traveling surgical team is composed of two residents and two attending surgeons. The project provides a valuable training opportunity for physicians and residents as many of the foot deformities seen in the Mexican children, such as clubfoot, are treated at birth in the United States.

To date, the team has been highly successful in helping children with lower extremity deformities to walk. The project is also a source for valuable research on medical care in developing countries. Further, international collaboration between the United States and Mexico brings these two neighboring countries closer together.

image alt

Support How You Can Help

The Dr. Charles C. Southerland Jr. Yucatan Children's Project is in vital need of financial contributions to continue to provide care for these children. Equipment, medical supplies, and travel costs are substantial, and the program must rely on the generosity of individual and corporate gifts.

Dr. Southerland was asked how he copes with caring for these children -- many so profoundly deformed that he may not be able to help. In reply, he recounted a story he had heard a long time ago:

The tides wash up thousands of starfish on the shore, where they will dry out and die. An old man, walking along the sand, is picking up newly beached starfish and throwing them back in. Someone asked him, "Why are you doing that? It doesn't make a difference. More starfish will be washed up to die with the next tide." The old man picks up a starfish, throws it back, and says, "It made a difference to that one."

You can help Dr. Southerland make a difference in the lives of these crippled children.

image alt

News and Events

  • Danielle Green (L) and Marien Rodriguez (R), HPMSA president, present Dr. Southerland Barry Students Donate to Yucatan Crippled Children's Project

  • Commemorate 15 Years of Service Donations of $8,000 made to Yucatan Crippled Children's Project

  • Lewis Foundation Yucatan Crippled Children's Project Receives $10,000 Grant

  • Lewis, Abraham, and Milagro Foundations Yucatan Project Receives Gifts

  • Award Barry University Yucatan Crippled Children's Project Receives Award

  • Dr. Charles Southerland Yucatan Project Seeks Funding Support

Sign in to use the pins