UKIC / Shoulder to Shoulder Global / Our Work

Our Work

Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG) is a UK Global Health Initiatives organization that integrates academic and community partners to improve the health and wellbeing of an underserved community in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, as well as India. 

Students, faculty, staff & community members can participate in this transformative, education experience by joining one of the brigades. 

STSG aims to have a long-term sustainable relationship with the communities where we work. This opens possibilities for continuity of care, health promotion and disease prevention.  

Long-term relationships also lay a foundation for health education, public health issues – including family planning and reproductive health – economic development, agricultural development, improvement in schools and many other activities that impact the health of the underserved. It is this broader, comprehensive vision of sustainable community growth that underserved communities deeply desire and Shoulder to Shoulder aims to promote. 

Click on each section below to learn more about the work we do in Ecuador and India.

Our Locations


STSTG-UK formally supports the matching Ecuadorian non-profit group Hombro a Hombro Ecuador. Through this partnership, Hombro a Hombro Ecuador currently receives funding, in-kind and volunteer support for a modernized medical clinic called the Centro de Salud Hombro a Hombro (CSHH), which has been functioning since 2007 with one physician, a nurse, a coordinator, community social worker and other staff. 

The clinic is located in a peri-urban community on the outskirts of Santo Domingo de las Tsáchilas, Ecuador called “Carlos Ruiz Borneo,” and also provides some services to the nearby communities of “Luz del Dia” and “Plan de Vivienda”. Within these communities with a total population of over 20,000 are thousands of families living with extreme poverty and malnutrition. Many families have no indoor running water, no community health resources, insufficient schooling for their children and little economic opportunity. Family incomes average less that $80-100 a month. 

In addition to the support of the CSHH clinic, STSG also coordinates and supports 4 health brigades per year to this area, which have grown greatly over the past few years and now consist of an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students from the University of Kentucky (UK) Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Public Health and the undergraduate program. This is supplemented by invited Ecuadorian students and occasional faculty from Ecuadorian Schools of medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Physiotherapy, who serve both as interpreters and colleagues to the communities.


Mayasandra is an agrarian village of roughly five thousand inhabitants in the taluk of Turuvekere, located in the southwestern part of the administrative district of Tumkur in Karnataka, India. The only access to health care is through a government-operated primary care, which provides primary care services, uncomplicated deliveries and government-run immunization programs. There is no access to pediatric care in the area. 

In the winter of 2009, University of Kentucky Shoulder to Shoulder Global (UK STSG) director Dr. Thomas Young led a small exploratory medical brigade to India. The brigade, consisting of five UK pediatric faculty and six pediatric residents, provided free medical treatment to children in Mayasandra during a health fair day and collected data to conduct a needs assessment of the population. With the assistance of community members and nurses from the Bangalore Hospital, 419 children were examined and treated during a one-day clinic. Many of these children were found to have special health care needs and a wide range of disabilities and none of these children were receiving active rehabilitation services. 

Dr. Subramanian has been the local champion and has formed a non-profit organization to provide rehabilitation and educational services to children in Mayasandra and 16 other villages. Currently, over 50 children receive services at the center. Once a year, an interdisciplinary team from STSG-UK provides assessment and treatment recommendations for children treated at the center and for new referrals from surrounding communities. This team includes faculty and students from college in special education, pediatricians, pediatric residents, physical therapy faculty and students from the College of Health Sciences of the University of Kentucky.

Health Brigades


Urgent Needs