San Juan, Guatemala
Developing healthy communities requires more than doctors and nurses curing ailments. Dr. Jose Israel Hernandez’s passion for ministry in San Juan, Guatemala, is geared toward community development.
Hernandez had been in a private practice clinic, but desired to have a larger impact in Guatemala. He began working with the Luke Society in a ministry called Acción Médica Integral San Lucas in San Pedro la Laguna in 2003. The ministry was formed on Hernandez’s vision for better community health.
He and his wife, Gengly, began the ministry by speaking to church members and students and providing techniques for proper hygiene, handling natural disasters and preventing diseases.
The ministry, which has since moved to San Juan, works closely with local churches to develop leaders who encourage residents in their faith while integrating health education, training and other techniques.
Dr. Jose Israel Hernandez
Dr. Jose Israel Hernandez lives in a part of the world where natural disasters are common. He has been a motivating influence to members of his community to be proactive in the prevention of disease and damage from hurricanes, floods, mudslides and other natural disasters. He is a confident, flexible and methodical Christian leader. The Partnership Ministry Team for Acción Médica Integral San Lucas is Paul and Susan Soper and Peter and Ann Dieleman.
Population: 14.9 million
Size: 108,889 sq. km, or slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Capital: Guatemala City
Borders: Mexico to the north and west; Belize, Honduras and El Salvador to the east; Pacific Ocean to the south.
Religious groups: Roman Catholic; Protestant; indigenous Mayan beliefs
Primary language: Spanish
Literacy (age 15+): 81.5%
Physician density: 0.9 doctors per 1,000 people.
Population below international poverty line: 54.0%
Life expectancy: 72.0 years
Infant mortality rate: 22.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Major exports: Sugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits, vegetables, precious stones and metals
Climate: Tropical; hot and humid in the lowlands; cooler in the highlands.
Terrain: Mostly mountainous with narrow coastal plains.