A Brief History

In 2004, four students from the University of Colorado at Boulder decided to do things differently on their spring break. James Byers, Britt Severson, Brian Morgan, and Anthony Rossi – members of the Colorado Alpha Chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pre-Health Honor Society – wanted to find a way to address the medical needs of a rural community in Nicaragua. Their plan was simple: the team would drive a pickup truck to the center of a small town and meet with local leaders to identify individuals in need of medical care. The patients would be assessed and then taken to physicians in city of León, with all expenses, from

consult to medication to transportation, paid for by the students. Though unstructured and rough around the edges, their plan was successful and the team was able to care for approximately 15 people a day over a period of five days. The experience and the appreciation of the community they served changed the lives of the four students. Word about the trip spread quickly and the next year the team of four grew into a team of 12. In March 2005 they returned to Nicaragua, implementing a network of acute care clinics that was able to serve over 100 people a day. In October 2008, David Baulesh and Anthony Rossi incorporated Health Outreach for Latin America as a 501c3 nonprofit in Boulder, Colorado.

From 2008, the HOLA Foundation broadened its mission, striving to provide integrated and sustainable health care solutions for developing countries in Latin America. HOLA continued to create acute care clinics and promote community health, but also expanded to provide veterinary care and various public health services, including sexual education seminars in rurally located schools.

Throughout its history HOLA has always committed to adapting our operations as we assess the communities we serve, always being flexible with our strategies to ensure our services align with needs of the people. In 2017, following field research conducted by HOLA volunteers and the events of 2018 Civil unrest, which impeded our ability to run volunteer brigades to Nicaragua, HOLA decided to pivot its strategy towards improving women’s health in an effort to have a more continuous and year-round impact in Nicaragua. In late 2017, HOLA hired an OBGYN to work two mornings in a rural clinic in Chacraseca, providing improved access to obstetric and gynecological services to women living in those communities. In March, 2020 HOLA hired a second OBGYN to work in a clinic in La Leona with over 1,000 women expected to visit these two locations annually.