After a service trip to Guatemala opened his eyes to the need for trained medical staff abroad, Oakland Medical Center, certified registered nurse anesthetist Ricardo Charles dedicated his life to the helping underserved populations by providing them with culturally competent healthcare.
Ricardo’s community service endeavors have taken him across the globe, from assisting in orthopedic surgery alongside Operation Rainbow in Latin America to orchestrating liver transplants in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ricardo still travels regularly to Guatemala, where he volunteers and organizes for the Hospital de la Familia foundation, which repairs cleft lips and palates.
Ricardo volunteers his time to underserved populations at home, too. He regularly participates in free surgery days with Operation Access, where he offers free care to residents of the San Francisco Bay Area.
When Ricardo is not on a medical mission trip himself, he is helping others secure supplies, equipment, and staff for their own trip. In the eyes of Ricardo’s colleague Nicholas Riegels, Ricardo is a hero. “Ricardo has improved the health and well-being of thousands of adults and children in some of the most impoverished places in the world,” Nicholas said. “His impact is measured in the smiles of the cleft lip and palate kids he has cared for, in the movement of kids with congenital limb deformities whom he has helped to walk, and in the heartbeats of those who are still alive today because they received a liver transplant that would have been impossible for them otherwise.”