Blanca’s House and Valerie Simpson: a personal perspective

posted in: Henry Schein Cares | 3

Inspired by childhood memories of his mother caring for friends and family, nurse anesthetist, Galo Burbano, was determined to use his training to bring medical care to underprivileged children in his native Ecuador. To best serve the poor and sick of that nation, Burbano founded Blanca’s House, named for his mother, in 2008. Blanca’s House is a volunteer-only organization that arranges for health care professionals to spend time helping care for people who would otherwise have no access to modern health care.  Thyroid disease, (including cancer), unrepaired cleft lips and/or palates, women’s health issues, oral disease and lack of preventive care, severe burns, and congenital anomalies are medical conditions that confront our team members on every mission. Blanca’s House medical missions have been focused in Salinas, Playas, Babahoyo, and Riobamba, Ecuador, as well as Rivas, Nicaragua, and Ahauchpán, El Salvador. Team members spend four, twelve+ hour days screening, performing procedures and surgeries to provide care for as many as possible during our short stay. Distinct from other non-profits with a specific medical or non-medical focus, Blanca’s House concentrates on a variety of medical procedures and surgeries. For example, Blanca’s House has provides the following medical specialties: gynecology, gastrointestinal, plastic surgery, general surgery, orthopedics, dental, and otolaryngology. Over the past three years, Blanca’s House has provided medical treatment for more than 2,000 children and adults and accrued more than $3,000,000 in donated medical care and services. .

Blanca’s House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of volunteer medical and non-medical professionals who donate their time to provide free, invaluable medical treatment to children and their families in underserved areas across the globe. Volunteers directly finance their own expenditures, whether through their personal contribution or subsidized by individual fundraisers. These expenses include airfare, lodging, and food. Blanca’s House arranges in-country housing, food and transportation in cooperation with local hosts. Through health screening and on-site surgeries for children and their families, medical supplies, or educational outreach, Blanca’s House provides twenty-first century medicine to the underprivileged. As a non-profit organization, the work we do, and even our existence, depends on the generosity of individuals, our community, and our sponsors, such as Henry Schein Cares.


There comes a time when the opportunity to create adventures for yourself increases exponentially. After retiring as an educator, I began searching for opportunities to continue my passion for supporting the potential of others…then Blanca’s House came along. One may wonder how travelling to remote Latin American locations on medical missions, working 12 to 14 hours a day can be playful; but it is.

As one of many volunteers, the teams I travel with are an amazing group of people, professionally and personally. We’re all there for the same reason and long-term friendships are beginning to be nurtured. The experiences we share are heart-warming and priceless.

I liken the experiences with Blanca’s House to “play;” engaging in an activity for enjoyment. Playing does not necessarily mean laughing out loud, partying, floating in the ocean…. Play can be the soulful private moments that unexpectedly land at your doorstep. Imagine connecting with a two-hour old infant, born into poverty, but loved by all the moment you set eyes on him. The innocence of this little boy is overwhelming and the connection is a quiet playfulness in the midst of the surrounding hustle and bustle of a newborn nursery. Play is in the eyes of the beholder….

As a five-time team member, I would not trade the overwhelming spectrum of emotions from sadness to absolute joy for any other experience I could possibly choose. I encourage others to find their “play” just as I have.

Healthcare: Going Global….

Thanks to Henry Schein Cares, Blanca’s House has received donations of sterile gloves, sutures, dental supplies, and many additional medical and dental supplies that have helped Blanca’s House defray the cost of their medical and dental missions.

 Blanca’s House Dental Mission Pictures:

Blanca’s House: who we are and what we do…VIDEOS

Pictures are worth a thousand words…

TEDx La Jolla Presentation: HEALTHCARE: GOING GLOBAL, September 17, 2011

Thank you for viewing!