Our Mission

We believe that all individuals deserve access to medical care and for those suffering from neurological diseases, access to care begins with us. For each region, we organize a one-week international neurological mission a year. Continuous consultation is provided via email, teleconferencing and videoconferencing. We collaborate with local hospitals and volunteers to provide training and educational workshops toward our goal of creating local sustainability.

Our History

At the 2008 Seminario Internacional en Neurociencias (International Neurosciences Seminar) in Quito, Ecuador, the American physical therapist Nicole Falcone, founder and Director of the Pedi Habilidad rehabilitation program in Tena (www.pedihabilida.com) approached neurologist and Director of International Neurology Foundation (INF), Dr. Patricio Sebastian Espinosa, about the possibility of providing neurological care to the patients in her community. These patients, she explained, had no access to neurological care and no means to travel to Quito (5 hours away), but were suffering from seizures, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, and migraines among other neurological issues. Dr. Espinosa accepted the challenge and, after a year of preparation with Ms. Falcone, and in collaboration with medical student Aaron Berkowitz, came to Tena in March of 2009 with two  EEG technicians, one donated EEG machine, and a team consisting of neurologists, neurosurgeons, and pediatricians. 

Ms. Falcone organized a list of patients from her rehabilitation center, invited referrals from local physicians, and produced a radio announcement to invite patients with neurological illnesses to come during the dates of the visit from the greater region. Space, resources, and volunteer staff were provided by Pedi Habilidad and the Hospital of Tena. Medicines were made freely available at the hospital pharmacy through the Ministry of Health. In seven working days the team evaluated a total of 475 patients with neurological complaints (including 165 cases of epilepsy) and performed 125 EEGs. Twenty-eight patients with a prior clinical diagnosis of epilepsy were changed to more appropriate medications based on clinical evaluations and EEG results.  

Team members also consulted on several neurological cases in the emergency room (meningitis, stroke, post-neurosurgical altered mental status). Local internists and pediatricians attended and assisted in consultations. All patients were provided follow-up appointments with local medical staff. Dr. Espinosa and colleagues continued to provide consulting services via email, teleconferencing and videoconferencing on patients seen during the mission and with new patients with neurological issues.  

Educational workshops were provided for the physicians of the hospital as well as local police, firefighters, teachers, educators, psychologists, and nurses on the recognition of their first response to seizures. In response to the need for care of the patients with epilepsy, the hospital in collaboration with us created the first epilepsy clinic in this region, this will assure that patients with epilepsy will have continuity and follow up care. 

The mission is organized each year in coordination with Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra (JMVI) Hospital from Tena. Dr. Patricio S. Espinosa is a leading Neurologist who founded INF in 2011 with his wife, Dr. Yaira Garzon. International Neurology Foundation (INF) was recognized in the U.S. as non-profit organization on, February 14, 2011 and as a tax exempt organization under section 501(c) (3) on June 2011.