We are so excited to begin relationships in the DR! We will ease into commitments with the church and health care community once we arrive as we get to know eachother and realize the assets, needs of each. Below ideas are what we anticipate being involved in from prior trips to the DR. We are, despite these thoughts, not looking to overload ourselves but learn to live more simply and relationally from the Dominican culture.
PERSONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH
We plan to set aside time for developing our own spirituality, for regular prayer, fellowship with the church, and slotted time for guided reading/reflection.
COMMUNITY and CHURCH OUTREACH
We plan to live next to our new home church in Santiago to facilitate continuity of life with the church. We may work with the church’s compassionate ministries: a home for women who have been abused and a ministry for children without stable homes. We would enjoy cultivating our own vegetable garden plot and if it were helpful, facilitating a community garden as health outreach to supplement the church’s lunch program for kids.
DOMINICAN PHYSICAL THERAPIST (PT) TRAINING
We plan to work clinically 2-3 days a week at one of the hospitals or clinics that we have worked at before. We may provide clinical education experiences for PUCMM students, at the free clinic that the University hosts. There are several areas of physical therapy that have not developed yet in the DR, such as wound care and inpatient care, and these are holes in the overall health care system that we hope to encourage through collaborative education. The fruits of this work may be slower than with direct patient care, but educational work will more sustainably impact the healthcare system after we are gone.
CONTINUING EDUCATION, DEVELOPMENT COLLABORATION.
Physical therapists in Santiago are looking to develop opportunities for ongoing clinical education as a profession, which is currently non-existant. We may come alongside them in this work. We have a previously formed relationship with the director of one of two physical therapy programs in the DR, at PUCCM. She has invited us to participate in their program, capacity yet to be determined. The time commitment could vary considerably.
COMMUNITY BASED REHAB.
We may partner with our Lutheran and Baptist friends who are working on disability rights in the country and on a project of opening Christian homes of hospitality for children with severe disabilities instead of the current large orphanage system in place. These friends are also looking to start a community rehabilitation training program, which we may be able to assist with.
HAITIAN THERAPIST TRAINING. Because of the great need, there is a possibility that we might teach for a month at the fledgling PT tech program at Hopital Albert Schweitzer (www.hashaiti.org) in Haiti that Health Volunteers Overseas coordinates. The program is supported with rotating teachers to bolster the scarce skilled rehab available in the country. www.hvousa.org