Rotarians bring health care to Mexico

Fellow Rotarians,

The following is a wonderful article about our Club's Los Barriles project by Michael Young that is in the current Nevada City Advocate. We added extra photos from Michael.  Enjoy and many thanks to all who made the trip in service to the well-being of the children and communities around Los Barriles.

Michael Young
Nevada City Advocate
, April 2019

For the fifth year in a row, a contingent of Nevada City Rotarians flew down to the tip of southern Mexico’s Baja peninsula last month to take part in health screenings for local residents.


More than 400 school children in the town of Los Barriles and families in remote outlying areas were tested for glucose levels as a precursor for diabetes, blood pressure, vision and dental. Records were kept and follow up visits will be held for those with immediate medical needs. 

“We found a lot of bad eyesight,’ said Charlene Wegner, a former U.S. Army nurse who founded a health care clinic in Los Barriles and helps organize the screenings. “We need to get them in to see an ophthalmologist. One woman had cataracts.”

The Rotarians brought down a number of eyeglasses to distribute to those who need them for reading.

Wegener said they found a couple of people with high blood sugar who “should be in the hospital with an insulin drip.”

“There were a number of kids with elevated blood pressure and blood sugar,” she said, and children with dental needs. A local dentist and her staff also volunteered to do that screening and will be contacting those who require further care.

According to studies, Mexico has the highest obesity rate in the world, much of it attributed to diet, Wegner said. Carolyn Feuille, who directs international projects for the Nevada City Rotary, said 14 Rotarians and spouses made the trek this year, leaving on March 21 and returning March 25.

“This was the largest contingent we ever sent to Mexico,” she said. “Because of its size, we were able to do a lot more screening of children and adults.”

In addition to the town of Los Barriles, the screeners also drove to the isolated communities of El Cardinal, El Campamento and San Bartolo where there is no health care.

The residents were appreciative of the efforts of their local medical practitioners and of the Rotarians. Two retired Nevada City physicians, Drs. Christine and Bill Newsom, were among those performing the tests. In addition, a number of Rotarians spoke Spanish, which made it easier to communicate with the patients.


In the past, Rotarians flew down to the Baja to work on repairing buildings, such as schools. But two years ago, Dr. Christine Newsom suggested to Chris Geyer, of the Los Barriles Rotary, that health screenings were needed. Geyer, who previously lived in Nevada City, then helped organize the new mission. His Rotary club, which is a sister chapter to the Nevada City group, is also working on a project to improve potable water, especially in the remote areas.

“Clean water is a huge issue in these communities,” he said. “They have found naturally occurring arsenic in the water and it needs to be filtered.”

About the photos provided by Michael Young:

Rotarian Cathy Wilcox-Barnes with a student from Los Barriles elementary school in Mexico. 

Rotarian Michael Young conducts eye tests.

NC  Rotarians Carolyn Ingless (l) and  Carolyn Feuille (r) help a man get fitted for some much needed glasses. 

Rotarian Nathan Leishman takes blood samples.

Drs Chris and Bill Newsom conduct wellness screenings.


Thank you to Michael Young and Nevada City Advocate for this story and your service in Baja with Nevada City Rotary and Club Rotario Los Barriles. To read this and other local interest stories, visit Nevada City Advocate Online or pick up the April edition of Nevada City Advocate for free at your favorite grocer or local retailer.


Club Leadership


President: Tom Ryan 
President-Elect: Cathy Wilcox-Barnes
Past President: Cathy Wilcox-Barnes
Secretary: Robin Milam
Treasurer: Carla Burke
Public Image: Michael Young & Robin Milam
Youth Service: John Wilson
Community Service: Carolyn Inglis

Club Social:  Judy Soldavini
Sergeant at Arms: Walt Stickel
International Service: Carolyn Feuille
Vocational Service: Nicole Dillard
Foundation: Christine Newsom
Membership: Stacy Drake
Program Chairs: Christine Newsom
At Large: Dennis Geare

For additional calendar events please visit the calendar at
If you have a whine, write it on the back of a 20 dollar bill and give it to your president.
If you have an idea for a club program please contact Nancy Kemp or Christine Newsom.

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*Starting a new year with President Tom, Board Meetings are held on the third Monday month at 5:30pm at John Hensley's Recreation Realty/Nevada County Properties office at 432 Broad St. Nevada City. Our next Board meeting is Monday April 15, 2019.   All club members are encouraged to attend a meeting. Location subject to change, please ask.

Rotary Club of Nevada City — Established October 3, 1935

Thursday Meetings
1st & 3rd Thursdays for Social Mixer at 5:30pm and
2nd & 4th Thursday for Lunch Meeting at 12:15pm
at Trolley Junction Restaurant at The Northern Queen
400 Railroad Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959 Directions
Note: Lunch $14  Social Mixer $5 + BYOB — PO Box 74 — Nevada City, California 95959

Mission Statement:
The Nevada City Rotary Club is a diverse and welcoming group of people who live Service Above Self by giving financial and hands-on support to local, national & international communities while exemplifying ethical leadership, cooperation and good, clean fun.