Written by: Gail Grisetti
From the Field: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Note: The focus of this trip was to introduce Korinne Chiu, our new on staff Program Evaluator, to the ongoing programs in the Dominican Republic in both Santo Domingo and in Santiago. Korinne is tasked with the job of assisting and developing program evaluation guidelines.
Korinne was able to witness first hand, our Walking Free training program which provides a combination of Distance Learning and face-to-face instruction in the fabrication of orthotics and prosthetics. She was able to meet two of the instructors, both Oscar and Ranvier - who graduated from the Don Bosco University in El Salvador in 2008. Both spoke Spanish fluently which was a huge help to us. Along with the instructors, Korinne got to learn more about our history of Walking Free program from Gilberto Mejia who was one of the first prosthetic trainers in the Walking Free/DR program.
On a separate day, Korinne spent her time focused on the Resource Mothers program. She met with most of the Madres Tutelares, toured the barrios and visited the Maternity Hospital.
I have been working on a new project to see if Skype - an online, real time text and video communication tool - can be used as a method to provide additional feedback to techs from North American O&P professionals in between face-to-face trainings. I discovered many barriers to this project such as intermittent internet access and the pace of the clinic time. There are a number of issues that will need to be worked out in order to develop this project further, but I'm up to the task and evaluating the format of many elements.
We got to travel to Santiago where Korinne visited the Burn Hospital and both sites of Patronato, the main center and Las Colinas, the satellite center. Korinne was able the ask questions, see patient treatments and to better understand the challenges faces by the health professionals who provide care to burn victims. As usual, Dr. Lopez was an excellent host and helped Korinne better understand the Dominican culture.
There will be much work to be done upon our return and we appreciate the opportunity to further the work of Physicians for Peace in the Dominican Republic.