The new mission statement by the World Chiropractic Alliance puts an emphasis on humanitarian work around the world, re-dedicating itself to “ Develop, promote and support humanitarian programs that reach out to populations that, due to geographic or economic factors, cannot access chiropractic care,”
We’re obviously not the only ones recognizing the desperate need for chiropractic care as well as basic health care, food, water, clothing and shelter. That’s why the chiropractic profession continues to have a strong presence in Haiti, redoubling its humanitarian and relief efforts in the wake of the January 12, 2010 earthquake that left some 300,000 people dead and more than 1.5 million homeless.
Around the world, chiropractors have demonstrated compassion and generosity in a wide variety of ways, from fundraising by individual practices to ambitious on-site mission work.
Among a few of the many efforts:
Mission Chiropractic—Peter Morgan, DC, reports that the humanitarian group has already made four trips to Haiti this year. They returned just days after the earthquake and helped install water purification units to bring fresh water to a small village that was nearly totally destroyed in the disaster. They continue to provide chiropractic care at the Mission Chiropractic Clinic in Port Au Prince, are rebuilding a school and church, building a homeless shelter, and continue to distribute water and food. “The people in this community begged us to not forget them. We will not,” pledged Dr. Morgan. The group is the process of helping to open a chiropractic-based orphanage called Organisation Des Families Pour La Croissance Des Enfants Demunis: Mission Pour La Vie Internacionale. (Mission Life International: Family Organization for Orphaned Children). For more information, visit www.mission-chiropractic.com.
Heather Jones, DC—When ChiroMission put together a team of 36 chiropractors to provide chiropractic adjustments to anyone in Haiti who needed them (including medical doctors and nurses who were there as part of other relief efforts), Canadian chiropractor Heather Jones, DC, didn’t hesitate. “I was amazed at how everyone worked together to help each other,” she told her local newspaper, which ran a feature on her experience. “I will never forget the children. Even with these tough conditions, there was joy in their eyes. All they wanted was to hold my hand and to hug me.” The team also brought donations of food, clothing and other much needed supplies.
Rennie Statler, DC—This Danbury, Conn., chiropractor received an e-mail asking him to help out on a Stepping Stones mission trip to Haiti shortly after the earthquake. Within 45 minutes, he had made plane reservations and arranged for another doctor to cover his office. In addition to distributing rice and water in Port-au-Prince, the team set up adjusting tables and was immediately surrounded by a crowd of some 300 people wanting the healing only DCs can give.
The Martineau Chiropractic Clinics—In England, the Devon-based clinics held a raffle to raise funds for the Haitian victims, giving away prizes such as a free chiropractic session, a massage and even Pilates instruction. Plus, they matched all the money raised by the raffle!
Cheryl van der Mark, DC—The Ontario, Canada doctor sold her practice to devote herself full time to work in Haiti, where she has been living for the past two years. After surviving the quake, she decided to accept an offer to manage the Mission of Hope Haiti health care facilities. Now, she oversees an outpatient clinic staffed by Haitians, orthopedic surgery, prosthetics laboratory, and an in-patient ward—not to mention working to build a new hospital! An article in the Oakville Beaver newspaper noted that, in addition to all this, she also provides chiropractic care to Haitians and North American doctors working in Haiti. “I’m doing a lot of hands on and a lot of administration at the same time,” she stated in the article. “There’s no set hours. We’re working pretty much round the clock and on weekends as well. We live on the compound where the clinic is, so working has been improvised.”
Tzu Chi International—The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation continues to provide health care to Haitian survivors. Unlike many medical organizations, Tzu Chi provides a wide variety of health services, including oriental medicine, dental services, and chiropractic care. So far, since the earthquake, volunteers have made 13 trips to Haiti, most recently providing school supplies to children along with health care.
Shannon Johnson, DC—Dr. Johnson left his Greenup, Ky., practice for more than a week to work with Angel Missions Haiti, a non-profit medical and education group. As he told local reporters at WOWK-TV, “They were just in so much pain and hurt and there’s no help. I felt I needed to go and I spoke to my wife and asked if she cared if I volunteered and she said no, you need to go.”
Elliott Chiropractic Center—The Canonsburg, Penn., practice sponsored a four-mile relief walk, where participants paid $10 to participate. All proceeds went to benefit the earthquake victims in Haiti. In addition to the walk, Elliott offered free services to new patients who donate $20 to the relief effort.
The list goes on and on
“The World Chiropractic Alliance applauds these efforts and encourages all DCs to look for opportunities to help whenever a crisis hits, whether it’s in their hometown or across the globe,” said Terry A. Rondberg, DC, founder and president of the World Chiropractic Alliance.