Esperança finds success in Nicaragua visit

Due to an unstable sociopolitical climate, it had been almost two years since Esperança’s last surgical visit to Nicaragua. After diligently monitoring Nicaragua’s political state and travel advisory rating, and with encouragement from its in-country partner, AVODEC, Esperança’s staff, board members, and medical volunteers returned to Nicaragua in late January.

In a new model of surgical mission, Esperança board member and general surgeon Dr. Brandt Feuerstein from Delaware and two of his colleagues integrated with local medical professionals to form one cohesive volunteer surgical team. In one week, the team of 14 performed 79 successful general and gynecological surgeries, significantly more than anticipated. 

“Following this successful mission and site evaluation, Esperança plans to reinstate surgical missions with international volunteers in Nicaragua,” said Anna Ortiz, international program director.

Through their local partner, AVODEC, Esperança understood there was a huge gap in primary care in the country’s rural communities, and this temporary hiatus in mission work allowed them to establish a primary care program to fill that need. This program is led by a local doctor, dentist, nurse and medical students, and has served more than 7,700 men, women and children since its inception in 2018. 

With the reinstating of surgical missions to Nicaragua, Esperança is currently recruiting new teams for specialties including general, general pediatrics, gynecology, hand, neurosurgery, orthopedic, plastics, varicose veins and varicose ulcers. 

For more information about Esperança or joining a surgical mission, visit

Arizona Lottery awards $50,000 grant to Human Services Campus

A $50,000 grant from the Arizona Lottery will provide financial support for critical collaborative programs and resources by the Human Services Campus (HSC) including campus partners Homeless I.D. Project and St. Joseph the Worker for men and women experiencing homelessness.

“Addressing and ending homelessness requires community-wide support and the Arizona Lottery has consistently been a leader in that effort,” said Human Services Campus Executive Director Amy Schwabenlender. “We are proud to partner with the Arizona Lottery and for their commitment to changing lives.”

Arizona Lottery funding will assist The Homeless I.D. Project work with homeless individuals to secure necessary documentation, including driver’s licenses and birth certificates, to obtain employment and rent an apartment.  Through St. Joseph the Worker, HSC helps connect these individuals with employers to secure the steady income and health insurance benefits require to avoid returning to homelessness.

“The Arizona Lottery, through transfers to our state-mandated beneficiaries, has supported organizations like the Human Services Campus for decades,” said Arizona Lottery Executive Director Gregg Edgar. “This Core Initiative grant is further supporting that mission – helping individuals experiencing homelessness get the documentation they need for both employment and services that can help them towards a path to permanent housing.”

St. Joseph the Worker has been providing employment assistance and resources to the most vulnerable in our community since 1988. In 2019, St. Joseph the Worker assisted more than 3,800 individuals gain full-time quality employment, “putting them back on the road to self sufficiency for them and their families,” said Executive Director Brent Downs.  

“We are grateful that the Arizona Lottery recognizes the power of collaboration at the Human Services Campus and is willing to help our organizations remain true to our laser-focused missions and sharing the story of the life-changing impact of our collaboration on the most vulnerable in our community,” he added.

Rick Mitchell, executive director at the Homeless I.D. Project said that “we are excited to work with the Arizona Lottery.  Their ability to tell the story of our agency and of our clients’ journey as they end their homelessness and rebuild their lives is important and powerful.”

The Human Services Campus is a 13-acre property where 16 independent nonprofit organizations collaborate on services and resources for individuals experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County.  HSC provides a full range of services from mental, physical and dental health to shelter, employment, legal services and housing.

Every day, the campus hosts between 800 and 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness.  According to the 2019 Point-in-Time Count, roughly 3,200 unsheltered people experience homelessness in Maricopa County.

For more information, visit

Dogtopia will sponsor nationwide screenings

Dogtopia, the nation’s leading dog daycare, spa, and boarding franchise, in partnership with The Dogtopia Foundation, announced today that it will sponsor screenings of the documentary, To Be of Service, across at least 10 cities in North America. The film, which provides an in-depth look into how service dogs can improve the lives of our veterans, will screen in major markets including AustinChicagoDallasJacksonville, New YorkPhoenixSacramentoSan DiegoSeattle and Washington D.C. throughout 2020.

Since its inception, The Dogtopia Foundation has enabled dogs to positively change our world through supporting causes centered on youth literacy programs, employment initiatives for adults with autism, and providing service dogs to veterans and first responders. The story told in To Be of Service falls right in line with the Foundation’s mission to aid those who have served in the United States military and armed forces.

To Be of Service is the latest documentary from Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Josh Aronson. It spotlights veterans with PTSD who, after years of struggle with substance abuse, suicide attempts, therapy and prescription medications, finally have the chance to bond with a highly trained service dog. Through the unconditional acceptance and love of their service dogs, these veterans re-establish their lives and family connections and find a way back to independence, emotion and love.

The nationwide sponsorship is kicking off with a community screening next Sunday, February 23rd in Phoenix at The Filmbar. There, the film will be shown and will be followed with a Q & A with veterans whose lives have been changed through service dogs. In addition, members of the Dogtopia corporate staff will be present with other service dogs. Tickets are available for purchase on FilmBar’s website:

PCA Skin launches new chemical peels

PCA SKIN® has reinvented two of its most popular chemical peels and added a new physician-only chemical peel, making it the most comprehensive portfolio of professional peels.

PCA SKIN, a trusted innovator of highly effective professional skin treatments and daily care products, announced new professional chemical peels joining their extensive lineup of custom-blended peel options.

“Combining 30 years of extensive knowledge and research, we have renovated two of our most popular chemical peels and developed an all-new medium-depth peel for physician use only,” said Anish Agarwal, Chief Marketing Officer at PCA SKIN. “These state-of-the-art peel formulas now feature the latest innovation in stability, delivery method, and ingredient blends to provide increased efficacy for transformative patient results.”

The PCA SKIN peel portfolio features TCA and lactic acid blended peels, modified and enhanced Jessner’s solutions, retinoid peels and boosters, and chemical peel alternatives.

About Ranking Arizona

Ranking Arizona is an annual publication that ranks businesses in more than 300 categories based on public voting in the state’s biggest and most comprehensive business opinion poll. Ranking Arizona is based purely on opinion and ranks companies based on how voters answer this simple question: with whom would you recommend doing business? The magazine is published by AZ Big Media. To learn more about Ranking Arizona, contact Sheri King, director of sales.