Stillwater Pediatrician Dr. Brian Cress’ Annual Mission Trips to Guatemala

Dr. Brian Cress takes annual mission trips to improve the health of Guatemalan children.
Dr. Brian Cress attends to a couple of his regular clients here in the states—Maya and Leah Mitchell, both of Hudson. Leah was adopted from Guatemala and Maya from Ethiopia.

Ten years ago, Stillwater pediatrician Dr. Brian Cress began searching for a medical mission trip to push himself professionally and get him out of his comfort zone. He found a trip through Health Talents International ( and has been making annual visits to Guatemala ever since.

During his weeklong visits, Cress works with traveling clinics in the mountainous regions of Chichicastenango, helping children receive treatment for nutrition, infections, skin conditions and dental care. The group, which includes a dentist, pre-med and physician’s assistant students, and Cress, sometimes has to drive three to four hours to the rural villages to set up clinics in a community center or church.

Although Cress is not sure why he felt the initial calling to do service work, he says that “working with a Christian organization was one reason he was persuaded to go. Health Talents International made it obvious that it was something I needed to do.” The organization works to provide medical services, food, smokeless stoves and water filters to help entire families achieve better health.

Cress usually visits Guatemala every February or March and says he is committed to going for as many years as he can. He has been able to see many of the same kids on and off throughout the past 10 years, watching them grow up. “These people are some of the happiest and most thankful people I’ve ever met,” he says. “It has been really rewarding to see the joy on the clients’ and parents’ faces.”

Dr. Brian Cress is a pediatrician at Stillwater Medical Group in Stillwater.