Who We Are
The Operation We Care Mission (OWC) consists of medical and non-medical professionals and volunteers committed to the improving the health and lives of underprivileged people in the Philippines who have limited or no access to the most basic medical health and necessities of life especially in the far flung villages and squatter districts.
The members of OWC come from different States such California, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, Illinois, West Virginia, Washington State, Ohio as well as Canada and Germany.. Half of us are Rotarians. The members pay for our own air fare, travel expenses as well as hotel accommodation. However, local Rotary Clubs and Rotarians as well as government agencies handle our daily transportation, food. snacks before and after surgery during the entire mission as well as different Rotary Receptions. The local pharmaceutical company provide a Conference Auditorium as well as food during the CME (Continuing Medical Education)..
We set aside one afternoon and evening for CME and Dr, Simon selects speakers with University affiliation as well as subject matters relative to each specialty. Sometimes a similar local speaker is also chosen to present scientific papers of high interest. This training is one of sharing our medical knowledge with our colleagues in the Philippines including students, nurses, residents, Interns and local professionals to fulfill the educational portion of our OWC experience..
The audience invited include medical and dental professionals such as general surgeons, thoracic & vascular surgeons, urologists, anesthesiologists, dental surgeons as well as, reconstructive and plastic surgeons, cardiologists, internists, dental surgeons especially medical students, hygienists, nurses and operating room nurses and surgical technicians as well as pharmacists. The non-medical include teachers, accountants, statisticians and computer analysts.
Our membership comes from the different states of the United States as well as from the Philippines. Initially, this group was first formed in 1985 by Dr. Mel P. Simon, Past District Governor of Rotary International District 6690, USA with the assistance of his wife, Lydia S. Simon, a registered nurse. Dr. & Mrs. Simon migrated from the Philippines to the U.S. in 1959 and lived in Chicago, Illinois for 7 years while completing his internship, general surgery and urology residency at Cook County Hospital while she worked at Columbus Hospital as a staff nurse. Dr. and Mrs. Simon moved to Gallipolis, OH in 1966 where he continue in private practice in Urology until his retirement in 2011..
Committee Members include:
Mel P. Simon, M.D. Chairman - Rotary Club of Gallipolis
Rafael A. Zaragoza. M.D., FACS, Rotary Club of Dover, DE
Albert Torralba - Secretary, Winnetka, CA
Bayani Ignacio, M.D., Chair on Continuing Medical Education, Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, CAN
Manny Roco, M.D., Member, Centralia, Washington
Pete T. Simon, M.D., Member, Caribou, Maine
Lydia S. Simon, R.N., Treasurer, Member, Gallipolis, OH