Renato Zalamea first began mission work by joining Health Volunteers Overseas in 1998. He served in Guyana teaching regional anesthesia and techniques to the local physicians. After his two weeks of service there, he began to contemplate service of the challenged community in the Philippines. He organized the first medical mission of Memphis Mission of Mercy in 1999 to Guimba Nueva Ecija. Since then, he has conducted annual and sometimes semiannual missions to various parts of the Philippines, both rural and urban. In 2017, the group will conduct its 22nd mission.
Norma Zalamea, RN, Co-Founder, Secretary
Norma Zalamea is a Registered Nurse from Bulacan, Metro Manila Philippines. Along with her husband, Renato Zalamea, founded Memphis Mission of Mercy in order to provide essential surgical and medical care to various communities in the Philippines. She has extensive experience from work in neonatal and pediatric intensive care, medical-surgical and psychiatric medicine. She is essential in the development and training of our teams prior to going overseas, as well as the functionality and leadership in the Mission Pharmacy.
Nia Zalamea, MD FACS Daughter, General Surgeon, Vice President
I was supposed to be an English professor, but the English major at the University of Virginia was way more work than I could handle. It turns out my gifts lie in the area of applied sciences, and things like biology, biochemistry and how things work in general. I found my calling on my first mission trip in 1999. I found a way to utilize all the things I love about science and technology for the good of others, and in a way found my own version of poetry. I continue to write, but I continually rediscover ways in which to create beauty through action. Over time, my faith has gone from dismal to something worth something, and I am ever open to the mercies and graces the Lord gives continually. I feel a lot of us want to be like the widow with the copper coins. Working in medicine and surgery for the underserved is my small couple of coins to put in the basket of life.
I have had the joy of practicing General Surgery since 2009. After completing training in Santa Barbara in 2009, I a joined private practice group in Abingdon Virginia in order to serve and work alongside the communities in Southwest Virginia. This was such a joy. I then felt called to work in the non-profit arena of medicine and joined the Church Health Center for three years.
In 2016, I officially joined the University of Tennessee as full time faculty and Assistant Professor, and continue to have the privilege of caring primarily for the under-and un-insured of our community.