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Classroom Education

Teaching residents is the most important work we can do. We work with both residents and providers to develop skills that will last generations.


Working side by side with residents in clinical applications.


Taking classroom and clinical experiences into the operating room.


Multiple yearly trips have created friendships that go beyond being medical colleagues.

Hear from members of our missions team


On-Belay Missions started when Mark traveled to Africa with TIVA Water, world water project, working to supply safe drinking water in the city slums and remote villages of Uganda. Mark learned of a medical clinic named Wentz and went there to introduce himself.  Against all odds, he met Dr. Martin Nkundeki which led to an introduction to Dr. Tony Mutanda, an orthopedic surgeon at Mulago Referral Hospital. Three days later Mark was invited into surgery at Mulago.  The rest is history and Mark, Martin, and Tony remain good friends.


In the spring, two crates of spine instrumentation and implants were loaded onto a ship headed to Africa Renewal Ministry outside of Kampala, Uganda. The first On-Belay surgical team of five surgeons including: Dr’s John Hicks, Josh Miller, Adam Lewis, Tom Large, and Michael Wattenbarger. The team gained strength when Dr. Wattenbarger accepted the role of CMO for On-Belay’s Missions. Many resident lectures, patient clinics, and surgeries were performed, and mutual trust was emerging.


On-Belay’s surgical team added Dr. Tim McHenry, a soon to be critical component and cornerstone, and increased its efforts by moving to two trips per year. CoRSU Children’s Hospital was engaged in hopes to move the pediatric scoliosis surgeries to a more child friendly environment. Trust was being built on both sides.


Once again, On-Belay’s commitment to Uganda increased by initiating a three trip per year schedule, needed to include the benefits of pediatric scoliosis traction. Another important addition occurred when Dr. Julius Ebinu, a neurosurgeon born in Uganda, but practicing in Sacramento, CA, joined our team. Julius fit perfectly. We became “One Team” determined to advance spine care in Uganda. We teach, see patients together, perform surgeries together, break bread together, laugh…a lot, sleep fast, and repeat.


In the summer On-Belay took an important step towards sustainability by hiring our first Ugandan employee, Mark Mbayo, to be On-Belay’s feet on the ground and serve Mulago Hospital, CoRSU Children’s Hospital, Africa Renewal Ministry, and Wentz Medical Clinic.

As we all know, 2020 is marked by COVID – 19 and we longed to return, so we did. In October, Entebbe Airport opened to international travel, so our support team got on a plane to work on inventory and to further establish a much-needed supply chain.


Our team got stronger with the addition of Dr. Solomon Ondoma to our April team’s trip. Like Dr. Julius Ebinu, Solomon was born in Uganda and has family there. He attended medical school at Mbarara Univ. Medical School before coming to the U.S. for his residency at the Univ. of Wisconsin. Today he practices neurosurgery in Mason City, IA, and Mason City is home to his family. Yes, Dr. Solomon Ondoma is a highly skilled surgeon but he is even a better man and represents everything On-Belay strives to be. Welcome aboard Solomon and we are thankful that you showed up in our world.


Uganda’s challenges are highlighted in the fact that immediately following the spread of Covid, an Ebola outbreak cancelled the teams Fall of 2021 trip. That said, Dr. Josh Miller returned to Uganda again in 2022 to work with the spine team at Mulago Hospital once more. The fellowship with the spine team added immeasurable benefit in clinical education, maintaining friendships, and setting up the team for the next trip in 2022.


This trip was special to us all. We added depth to our surgeon team with Dr. Scott Spann, (see post link here – Billy, I think I will add to each trip. Tells the story better than we have room here.), started a halo traction for severe scoliosis patients, began the move for the pediatric patients we have been working towards for eight years, and saw plans for the hospital On-Belay is partnering with to build at Wentz Medical Center!


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November 23, 2020

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On-Belay makes meaningful progress in Africa.

November 9, 2020

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Let There Be Light…

November 18, 2019

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The Importance Of Medical Missions And Giving, One Person To Another

August 26, 2019

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"Make No Small Plans . . ."

February 21, 2018

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"Screw Business As Usual" - Sir Richard Branson. . . . . Converting Medical Device Profits Into Financial Generosity.

August 8, 2017

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“How a third world hospital can change your business or practice for the better.”

February 22, 2016

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