As a medical student in 1997, Dr. Cremer spent a semester in Arcatao, a small village in northern El Salvador helping to provide basic healthcare needs to the community. While there, a woman bled to death from an advanced case of invasive cervical cancer. The woman had never received cervical cancer screening, and during the final stages of cancer had no access to pain medication.
This incident prompted Dr. Cremer to conduct a pap smear campaign in which she performed close to 70 pap smears on women living in the village and worked with a pathologist who read the slides for free.
For years after her initial visit, Dr. Cremer returned to El Salvador and helped provide reproductive health care and cervical cancer screening for thousands of women. With the support of dedicated volunteers, pediatric check-ups and eye care clinics were also made available to the local inhabitants during these medical delegations.
In 2005, Basic Health International was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the United States. Three years later, Basic Health International was incorporated as an official non-profit in El Salvador.
I am so fortunate that what began as a small project while I was in medical school has led to a national cancer prevention program.