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Premier's Campbell Donates Time to Medical Mission

bill campbell
Willard B. Campbell, MD, FACS
Premier Surgical Associates

Dr. Willard "Bill" Campbell, a surgeon with Premier SurgicalAssociates, is a man with a mission.

Each January for the past eight years, Campbell has joined other local physicians, nurses, surgical techs and translators on a one-week medical mission trip to Guatemala. The missions are organized by Knoxville Medical Mission and were started with help from Dr. Lytle Brown, also of Premier Surgical Associates, and Olga Aragon, an anesthetist originally from Guatemala.

There are two medical missions planned by the organization each year. Campbell's mission focuses on general surgery, gynecology and urology. The other is used exclusively for orthopedic work.

"I had been on similar trips before, but none that suited my skills as well as this," said Campbell. "This really appealed to me because it's in my field. I'm doing surgery, what I do best."

Campbell added that he gets as much from the trip as he gives. "It's good to know that I'm helping others, and it's like a vacation for me to step outside my culture and my usual routine," he said. "Plus, we've developed close ties with the people in Guatemala; it's always good to see old friends each year."

As with any major undertaking, the mission is not without challenges. Coordinating details takes a tremendous amount of time and organization. Planning for the next annual trip begins almost as soon as the most recent trip ends. Campbell cited the following challenges:

• Transporting the tremendous amount of supplies and equipment needed. "We have very limited resources in Guatemala, so we have to bring just about everything with us. Getting everything into a foreign country isn't easy."

• Manpower. "Every year someone gets sick. Two years ago, it was me."

• Language barriers. "Language isn't a huge issue, but it can cause problems. Spanish is the most common language, but some people speak a Mayan dialect that none of us can translate."

• Money. "Raising enough money is our biggest issue. In today's economy, it's getting more and more difficult to raise the funds we need."

Campbell had a straightforward answer when asked what the average person could do to help. "The best way for someone to make an impact is to donate money."

Checks in support of the mission may be made payable to Knoxville Medical Mission Foundation and mailed to: Dr. Willard Campbell; Premier Surgical Associates; 9430 Park West Blvd., Suite 310; Knoxville, TN 37923.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Premier Surgical Associates has 27 surgeons who perform general, vascular, endovascular, vein, bariatric, breast and laparoscopic (minimally invasive) procedures. Premier has offices in Knoxville, Maryville, Oak Ridge, Jefferson City, Lenoir City and Seymour. Premier physicians perform surgeries at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Parkwest Medical Center, Parkwest Surgery Center, Mercy Medical Center St. Mary's, St. Mary's Ambulatory Center, Physicians Surgery Center, Blount Memorial Hospital and Maryville Surgical Center in Maryville, and Advanced Family Surgery Center in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit and

Published March 27, 2011

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