Taking care of individuals limited by crippling deformity in our international communities is not only a privilege but our obligation.
The Foot and Ankle Association Inc. is chartered as a nonprofit 501(C)(3) corporation in Baltimore, MD and was established in 1999.
Its Advisory Board and Board of Directors have been drawn from the Internationally respected medical community who have extensive experience with humanitarian organizations, orthopedic leadership in their countries, and particular understanding of managing severe limb deformities with limited available resources in settings similar to the programs we plan to initiate.
The Foot and Ankle Association Inc was developed and incorporated by Dr Mark Myerson as a response to the ongoing need for education and training of international foot and ankle surgeons who had little access to ongoing and advanced training in this specialty. The primary goal of the Association at that time and over the ensuing 15 years was to increase the knowledge and skills of international orthopedic surgeons who visited Dr Myerson at the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction for further training. Simultaneously, although Dr Myerson participated in various humanitarian programs abroad, performing surgery and teaching, these site visits were performed annually and not on any continuous basis. The emphasis of the Association at its inception was therefore education of international orthopedic surgeons.
In preparation for the limited number of humanitarian programs, considerable organization and logistics had to be planned and accomplished by Dr Myerson working alone with respect to the site, the local state or mission hospital, meetings with the Ambassadors to the United States, obtaining appropriate support from the ministers of health, and then coordinating and expediting the donation and transportation of orthopedic equipment to these sites. This was in addition to the considerable organization and planning of teaching programs which were given by Dr Myerson to local and regional orthopedic surgeons in each country. To some extent the latter was facilitated by surgeons whom Dr Myerson had trained and were now recognized as regional leaders in their field.
The cities where Dr Myerson and his colleagues worked over the past decade included Lima Peru, Cali, Colombia; Cape Town, South Africa; Windhoek, Namibia; Beijing and Jinan, China; and in Rome, Italy. Dr Myerson was always the lead surgeon in these programs, and assisted by orthopedic surgeons who worked in that particular city and whom had previously been trained in the US by Dr Myerson
Organizing corporate support for these programs was often difficult. The product had to be carried on the airline by Dr Myerson, since advance shipping of large quantities of orthopedic instruments and product was not permitted by any of the countries in which surgery was performed. This required authorization by the state, as well as letters of support from the Embassies and the ministers of health where necessary.