Dr. Cesar Jara Brings Care To Those In Extreme Poverty
By Maria Sonnenberg, Space Coast Medicine // November 25, 2012
2012 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN
‘Grains Of Sand Will Eventually Form A Beach, So I Do My Part’
The Peruvian people hold a special place in the heart of Dr. Cesar Jara. As part of medical mission teams of PAMS, the Peruvian American Medical Society, the Melbourne interventional cardiologist brings heart care to remote communities in his native Peru.
Every year since 2007, Jara has participated in at least one of PAMS’ 26 annual missions to Peru.
“The society has been working for almost 40 years to improve the health and the social and economic status of the people of Peru,” said Jara.
“Healthcare in Peru has improved over the last decade, but there is still much that needs to be done. A lot of problems are related to lack of resources and to the need to raise awareness of the need for healthcare, particularly among the native populations of the Andes.”
With PAMS, physicians such as Jara – as well as nurses, dentists and paramedical volunteers – travel to Peru at their own expense, motivated by a passion to help those in desperate need of medical care. In his last medical mission, Jara was even able to perform interventional cardiology procedures in the permanent mission PAMS has established in Lima.
“Even in the big cities such as Lima, there is still significant need,” said Jara.
In previous missions, Jara has traveled with portable EKG and echocardiogram equipment to distant communities, such as the village of Cangallo in the province of Ayacucho. “The area has a very large native population,” said Jara, referring to the Andean native culture also found in Ecuador and Bolivia.
Last year, Jara traveled to Chincha, heavily affected by the devastating earthquake that struck southern Peru in 2007. Extreme poverty is a fact of life in these areas, where regular medical care is basically nonexistent.
“The hospital is a hospital in name only,” said Jara. “It has none of the equipment of a hospital. It doesn’t even have an x-ray machine.”
Hypertension is common among this population, but the medicine, though only a couple of dollars in cost, is a luxury the people often cannot afford to buy. Jara brings the necessary medication so his patients can continue treatment after he leaves.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is emerging as a major issue in developing countries like Peru, so Jara’s intervention is timely.
“This issue is starting to surface even in rural areas that are not too far from the large cities,” said Jara. “High cholesterol and diabetes are on the rise. There’s an epidemic of heart disease coming and we need to educate people.”
Born in Lima, Jara studied at the Universidad Peruana Gayetano Heredia and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.
At home, Jara also strives to educate about the issue of heart disease. He is a member of the volunteer faculty at the University of Central Florida’s medical school and at Florida Institute of Technology. The physician also leads lectures for local professionals and laymen alike. He has focused on getting the word out about heart disease to special populations such as African Americans and Hispanics, both groups with high incidence of cardiovascular issues.
Board-Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Interventional Cardiology, and Cardiac Computed Tomography, Dr. Jara is a member of the medical staffs at Cape Canaveral Hospital and Holmes Regional Medical Center.
He attended medical school in Lima, Peru, at Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University and served an internship and fellowship at VAMC/University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami where he served as Chief Medical Resident and a member of the Adjunct Faculty. He received additional training in carotid stenting at Northwestern University, Chicago, and in cardiac computed tomography at University of Florida, Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Dr. Jara’s primary Health First Physicians Interventional Cardiology practice is located at 7640 N. Wickham Road, Suite 118, in the Suntree, Florida area. He also sees patients at his offices at Cape Canaveral Hospital Medical Plaza in suite 503 and at the Health First Healthplex on Merritt Island, 2nd floor. He can be reached for appointments at 321-434-6650.
Jara walks the walk when it comes to volunteering. “Grains of sand will eventually form a beach, so I do my part,” he said.
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