Who we are

Partner for Surgery originated when Todd Peterson, a Peace Corps volunteer in the most remote areas of Guatemala, realized the need for surgical care but found that many of the villagers:

  • lacked experience with medical care;
  • feared health centers and hospitals;
  • experienced discrimination because they were indigenous and poor;
  • were unaware of the opportunities available to them;
  • lacked the financial resources to pay medical bills;
  • lacked access to transportation (many had never left their communities);
  • spoke only their Mayan language and didn’t understand the Spanish spoken in hospitals.

Troubled by the number of disabled villagers, Todd investigated several local hospitals in search of one that would treat poor Guatemalans. He eventually discovered a hospital in Antigua where a handful of patients received surgical care and were freed from their former disabilities.

In 2001, Frank Peterson traveled to Guatemala to visit his son, Todd, a Peace Corps Volunteer. During his visit, he saw the overwhelming need for surgical intervention for people in rural areas and the unfortunate lack of resources to get them.

Seeing the significant needs of people in the farthest regions, he returned to the United States, determined to help. He left his employment and founded Partner for Surgery (PFS) with his wife, Linda, and has dedicated the rest of his life to ensuring the surgical needs of thousands of Guatemalans are met.

With the unconditional support of Linda, Frank founded our implementing Partner, Compañero para Cirugia (ACPC), in 2008, which is currently led by Guatemalans who continue to work in the country to fulfill the mission that began in 2001. The staff is present year-round in Guatemala, building trust locally by strategically building relationships with local governments and community leaders so that teams of medical and non-medical volunteers from the United States and Canada can go to the most challenging and remote places where quality health care is scarce and ineffective.

Vision: For all rural Guatemalans to have access to life-changing care.

Mission: To build partnerships that enable the ability to provide surgical care and other medical and prevention services to rural Guatemala.

We aim to:

  • Improve Health
  • Empower Communities
  • Overcome Barriers

How we do this

  • We support local organizational development. We have stimulated the founding of Asociacion Compañero para Cirugia, our sister organization and implementing partner in Guatemala.
  • We work to build trust and develop sustainable health programs in rural Mayan communities.
  • We promote community participation in healthcare activities and train local leaders to support their communities: We have trained a network of Health Promoters – local leaders who are the motors that make our programs successful.
  • We seek collaboration with the Guatemalan government on a local and national level to better reach our patients in their hometowns and villages.
  • We collaborate with international volunteer surgical teams, organizations and individuals who participate in rural medical missions and surgical missions.

How you can help

Through our programs, tens of thousands of
Guatemalan men, women, and children have
received medical attention and health
education. This is only possible thanks to the
generosity of our donors and volunteers.
Every bit counts for our patients!