Through a partnership with five of her peers, local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rinelda Horton has created Women Orthopedist Global Outreach, a not-for-profit volunteer medical service organization. WOGO is the newest team of Operation Walk, a 16-year non-profit medical service organization.

The WOGO team is comprised of six fellowship-trained female orthopedic surgeons located in Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, Phoenix, Texas and Tennessee.

“WOGO has joined Op Walk’s global campaign because, although thousands of joint replacement surgeries have been performed, millions more are needed,” Dr. Horton said in a press release. “We have seen first-hand the power of joint replacement surgery to transform the lives of those who suffer from arthritis, the most disabling chronic disease in the world.”

WOGO’s inaugural mission is slated to begin in September 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal, where there is a vast need for support.

“In this country, we take so many things for granted,” Dr. Horton said in a press release. “Despite any challenges I face as an African-American female orthopedic surgeon, I still have so many options in a world where many women around the world do not. With WOGO, I have the opportunity to perform life-changing joint replacement surgery on women, restoring their ability to take care of themselves, their families and their communities, and share my knowledge with the Nepalese medical community.”

The surgeons will to travel to Nepal in April for a pre-mission trip to evaluate their patients. Drawing from their personal experiences in the U.S., they are committed to serving the women of Nepal.

“A larger segment of my patients are women who have more severe hip and knee arthritis, experience greater pain and more disability,” Dr. Horton explained in a press release. “There have been various studies by the National Institutes of Health and the CDC about the disproportionate impact of arthritis on women. While our mission is to provide care for anyone in need, we have a special connection to the plight of women in under-served communities due to the physicality of their lives and the lack of access to orthopedic care.”

Nepalese women endure severe poverty in addition to cultural, social and political biases. Serving as the head of their households, they carry out traditional roles in addition to being primarily burdened with economic responsibility – which in many instances require them to work a minimum of 11 hours each day.

During the mission in September, WOGO surgeons and over 50 volunteers will perform free joint replacement surgeries, train and mentor in-country surgeons and healthcare workers and spend time in the communities they serve.

Zimmer, a global leader in orthopedic solutions has agreed to support WOGO during its formative period.