Hospital Regional de Occidente, Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

VECDor Fellowship Site Directors:

Doug Morgan, MD, Vanderbilt University

Ricardo Dominguez, MD (Hospital de Occidente, Honduras)

Site Contact:

Site Specialties: Cancer, NCDs (esp diabetes), biomed engineering

Navigate to:

Site Highlights
Facilities and Resources
Research Opportunities
Trainee Housing & Safety

Site Highlights: Hospital Regional de Occidente

The Hospital de Occidente is the principal Ministry of Health facility for rural western Honduras, with a catchment area of approximately one million. The Western Honduras Gastric Cancer Initiative, established a decade ago by Drs. Morgan and Dominguez and led by Dr. Dominguez, is based in the hospital, where the majority of gastric cancer patients receive their medical care. The Initiative has hosted two VECDor Scholars and a Meharry medical student who is now a resident at Yale University. The hospital’s endoscopy unit performs 800-1,000 procedures per year and houses endoscopes, video processors, specimen preparation equipment, refrigeration, and freezer storage areas.

  • Ricardo Dominguez leads the Western Honduras Gastric Cancer Initiative and conducts research with Doug Morgan (described for Dr. Morgan, above) on gastric cancer that has supported medical students and postdoctoral fellows, including two VECDor trainees in 2012-17. Dr. Dominguez is highly invested in building capacity, training clinicians and scientists in global health research. 

VECDor has proved superbly collegial and effective in fulfilling its purpose and that of the GHF Program in enabling trainees of the highest caliber to explore global health research in LMIC institutions with strong track records of mentorship and research achievement. We also work extremely well with the other consortia. Our particular strengths include:

  • • VECDor has had overseas partnerships that have nurtured some of the best quality researchers and research units in the countries where they have worked, including:
  • Vanderbilt and the Central America cancer research initiative. Over the past decade, Dr. Morgan has led investigations focused on gastric cancer epidemiology in Central America, including the role of host genetic, H. pylori virulence, microbiome, dietary and environmental factors in gastric carcinogenesis. Dr. Morgan and his colleagues have established programs in Latin America that provide a robust platform for collaboration and research infrastructure.

Facilities and Resources

  • The endoscopy unit, research areas and Medicine and Surgical Units are all within 25 meters of one another. The endoscopy unit currently performs about 800-1000 procedures per year, the majority of which are upper endoscopies. The endoscopy unit was upgraded through foundation funding obtained by Drs. Morgan and Dominguez in parallel with the ongoing Central America gastric cancer epidemiology initiative. The unit is currently state of the art with two endoscopy rooms, clean and dirty areas, patient prep and recovery areas, and an administrative area. The endoscopy unit houses video Olympus equipment of the 140 series (e.g. endoscopes, video processors) as well as specimen preparation equipment, refrigeration and freezer storage areas.
  • The hospital is equipped with the following services: Emergency Room (emergency, minor surgery, early interventions and treatments), hospitalization, outpatient, labor and delivery, surgery, orthopedics, intensive care unit, pharmacy.

 Research Opportunities

Recently Completed Research Support as Honduras site-PI
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation #43930 07/01/2009 – 12/31/2011 
Latin American H. pylori and Gastric Cancer Consortium (PI, Lawrence Baker, SWOG)
Randomized controlled trial of H pylori eradication regimens, with gastric cancer biomarker collection, in high incidence areas of Latin America (Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile).
Role: Advisory Committee, Biomarker studies, oversight of collaboration sites (Honduras, Nicaragua).

K07 CA125588 (PI, Morgan) 09/01/2007 – 08/30/2013

Gastric cancer epidemiology initiative in Central America, western Honduras.
Prospective population-based study of host genotypes, H. pylori virulence and diet.

5P30 CA068485-16 (PI, Pietenpol) 01/31/2013 – 08/30/2014
NIH/NCI Pilot Project (Morgan) 

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Translational Support Grant (CCSG T/C)
Study: Modulation of H. pylori virulence by iron status in a high risk population in Honduras.
Role: PI for this pilot study within the CCSG.

Trainee Housing & Safety