About Us

The idea of providing free hand care to those in need was first proposed by American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) member Arnold-Peter C. Weiss, MD, an orthopaedic hand surgeon, in 2012. Dr. Weiss had a vision of helping adults and children with all different kinds of upper extremity issues.

Based on this idea, the Touching Hands Project (THP) was founded by Scott H. Kozin, MD, in 2013. Dr. Kozin, an ASSH member and orthopaedic hand surgeon, began a pilot program in 2014, completing THP’s first mission in July of that year in Haiti. THP is an ASSH program and is funded by the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand.


What We Do

Each THP medical team is comprised of hand surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and hand therapists. The teams travel around the world to poor countries such as Haiti, Ethiopia and Honduras to treat and evaluate patients for hand and/or arm conditions, deformities and injuries. During each 1- or 2-week mission, the THP team will see and treat around 100 patients!

Many of the patients treated are victims of horrific violence that takes place in these struggling countries. The people in the communities we visit have limited access to healthcare and sometimes have no hand surgeons in the entire country. Our teams are giving children an opportunity to grow up and function as a normal child and are giving adults the opportunity to use their hands again, which can be a matter of survival in countries where manual labor dominates the work force.

The patients we treat are hardworking men, women and children. Those who have sustained trauma from work and from violence have largely learned to live with their resultant disabilities, but by offering them surgery we give them a better chance at improving their livelihood. The children we treat, and their parents, put their trust in us to work to make their lives better and give them a chance to survive and be successful in a country where having a well-functioning hand makes the difference between being hungry and unemployed and being able to work for a better life.

Andrea Halim, MD
Hand Surgeon, Yale Medicine

OUR CONTINUING PRESENCE

Since 2014, our THP teams have visited 11 countries on more than 20 different missions. Our repeated presence in certain locations allows our medical professionals to develop relationships with their patients and provide follow-up care to ensure long-term healthy patients. The patients in these communities rely on our presence for continuing care.


EXPANDING OUR REACH

THP began in 2014 with a single mission, expanding to five missions in 2015 and ten missions in 2016. In 2016, we also completed our first domestic mission, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia at Georgia Hand, Shoulder and Elbow (GHSE). For one day, the staff at GHSE treated patients from and around Atlanta who do not have access to healthcare.

This year, we’ve expanded our domestic reach and will have three additional missions similar to 2016's Atlanta mission, which we’ve named “Hand Day.” We will hold a Hand Day in Nashville, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia in 2017. Our teams also plan to visit new countries such as Ghana and Vietnam, and revisit places like Honduras.

Help us continue to change lives and expand our reach by volunteering or donating today.

We need your help.

Your support can change a life.