The legacy they left

Written by Nancy Kelly 

Left: Mattilou Catchpole  Right: Nancy Kelly, Dr. Zutz and Kate Fincham

 

In 2006, as HVO celebrated its 20th anniversary, the Board of Directors created the Golden Apple Award, an annual award that would acknowledge those HVO volunteers who had made extraordinary contributions toward our mission of education, training and professional development.  As we prepare for the 2022 award recipients, I wanted to take time to reflect on some previous honorees. Although they are no longer with us, the legacy of their commitment to HVO’s mission continues. 

One of the 2006 inaugural group of honorees was Mattilou Catchpole, CRNA, PhD, who was committed to training and developing nurse anesthetists around the world.  I had the privilege of knowing and working with Mattilou.  She was tenacious, hardworking, devoted to the success of her students, and had high expectations of herself and others. Between 1993 and 2008, she completed 18 volunteer assignments with HVO, in Belize, Eritrea, Guyana, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda. In all, she spent more than 380 days overseas with HVO providing training.  What is not reflected, of course, are the many hours spent preparing for a trip and the many, many hours she spent developing curricular and educational materials for the sites. 

Mattilou was extremely generous with both her time and expertise, and many nurse anesthetists and nurses around the world benefited from her support and mentoring.  Driven by a strong sense of social justice and a commitment to doing her part to improve the global condition, Mattilou’s legacy will be felt for years to come through the many nurse anesthetists she trained, and with whom she shared her enthusiasm for teaching and learning. 

Another honoree in that first year was Ray Defalque, MD, an anesthesiologist who began his volunteer experience with a trip to Vietnam.  There, he worked closely with Dr. Chung, the Chief of Anesthesia at the Hospital of Traumatology and Orthopaedics (HTO) in Ho Chi Minh City.  The two physicians developed a strong professional and personal bond, which drew Ray back on an annual basis for ten assignments.  His lectures were thoughtful and well-respected and his sense of adventure was also much appreciated.  He was planning a fourth volunteer assignment to Peru, where he had also shared his knowledge, when illness cancelled his visit.  Not only did he leave a legacy of well-trained anesthesiologists, but his good friend Dr. Chung has become a remarkable teacher as well.  

Harry Zutz, MD was also in the inaugural group of Golden Apple honorees. He was a member of the original working group that conceived of HVO.  He spearheaded the development of the anesthesia division of HVO – traveling extensively to visit prospective project sites and to work in Ethiopia, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda.  For more than 20 years, Dr. Zutz served HVO in multiple capacities – project director, member and chair of the Anesthesia Steering Committee.  He felt strongly about ensuring that volunteers were properly prepared for their assignments and he dedicated a tremendous amount of time to that effort in his leadership roles.   

Thoroughly committed to HVO’s educational mission, he generously donated many educational materials to HVO sites, and then became a mentor for the Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA)-HVO Traveling Fellows program.  The program allowed for senior residents to volunteer for a month in Tanzania, a country with which Harry was quite familiar.  He shared his knowledge of the country, its culture, and the skills that would be appropriate for the residents.  His mentoring of the fellows helped them to teach confidently in such a different environment.   

As Harry aged and was no longer able to travel, he continued to be a generous donor and became a member of the HVO Legacy Circle. He was the epitome of sharing in different ways across a lifespan. 

Today, the work he did with HVO continues to have an impact across many fronts.  The SEA-HVO Traveling Fellowship remains active, sending senior anesthesia residents to current HVO sites.  To date, over 143 fellowships have been awarded, improving skills at project sites and building awareness and commitment to global health among a new generation of physicians.  

In addition to the many anesthesia providers Harry trained and mentored, he also shared his passion for global health and commitment to HVO with his family.  His daughter-in-law, Maureen, serves on the HVO Board today – Harry arranged for us to meet and have lunch.  The timing was perfect (as I suspect Harry knew) for Maureen was retiring and looking for a new opportunity to put her fundraising expertise to work.