Helping Hands Medical Missions (HHMM) was formally established in 1996 after 3 years of developing a program for a Catholic medical mission. The idea originated in Dallas in 1991 when a Catholic priest recognized the need for Catholic medical professionals to provide health care services for the poor in rural areas of developing countries. In Holy Week of 1996 a pilot group of medical missionaries from various areas of the U.S. joined the youth missions in Michoacán, Mexico. The mission was a success with a small group (7) of medical personnel. In the fall of 1996, the first mission under the name of HELPING HANDS Medical Missions took place in Cotija, Mexico, with 30 participants: doctors, nurses and volunteers serving more than 500 patients and providing 91 surgeries in just 5 days!