Registration open for race supporting Inova Mount Vernon team’s Panama mission

Group of doctors in front of Hospital Santo Tomas
Operation Walk Virginia 2018 mission members at Hospital Santo Tomas, Panama City, Panama. (Operation Walk VA image)

A team of about 50 healthcare professionals — almost half of whom are affiliated with Inova Mount Vernon Hospital (IMVH) — will be participating in a humanitarian medical mission to Panama this fall and are raising funds for it via a charity race.

The Operation Walk Virginia Annual 5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Run will take place Saturday, May 4 at 8 a.m. at Fort Hunt Park. Registration costs $35, and all proceeds will be used to support the mission, which provides free surgical treatment for patients with little to no access to life-improving care for arthritis.

The mission team will spend one week performing dozens of knee and hip replacement surgeries in Panama this September, ensuring that patients are discharged home with necessary medications and supplies. The team will also train Panamanian medical personnel on surgical techniques and protocols in patient management.

Kevin Fricka, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon with Anderson Orthopedic Clinic, has been involved with Operation Walk Virginia since 2005 and finds the missions rewarding.

“As an orthopedic surgeon, there is no better reward than helping patients who suffer from joint disease walk again,” he said. “The team building we gain while on the mission is brought back home to my operating room here at Mount Vernon. Volunteering and sharing in the joy of helping patients in need rejuvenates the team members at Inova Mount Vernon and translates into better care for patients at home.”

To sign up for the race, visit