Dave Kramer-Urner Volunteered in Haiti with Physicians for Peace
WHO: Dave Kramer-Urner, Supervising P.T. with California Children’s Services of Santa Cruz, Physicians for Peace and the Haitian Amputee Coalition
WHAT: Provided physical therapy services to the people of Haiti who are in need of rehabilitative help following the January 2010 earthquake
WHERE: The Haitian Amputee Coalition, a long-term prosthetic and rehabilitation center at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti
WHEN: Mr. Kramer-Urner was in Haiti from June 11 to June 26
WHY: Dave Kramer-Urner is following in his wife’s able footsteps with his physical therapy mission to Haiti. Mary Anne Kramer-Urner was the first Physicians for Peace physical therapist to volunteer at the Hanger Prosthetic Clinic at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles, Haiti from March 19-April 2. Her two week experience, beautifully captured in a journal she kept during her time there, left such a lasting and profound impression upon her, that Dave has also volunteered to spend his “summer vacation” helping the amputee victims in Haiti. Prior to his mission, Mary Anne described the facilities and scarce resources that would be available to Dave in Haiti. She also helped Dave to prepare for the mission by teaching him the important Kreyol (the Haitian native language) phrases that he would need to use as a therapist.
Dave’s own experiences also made him an excellent candidate for this very difficult experience. Dave was the physical therapist in charge of the amputee program at the V.A. in San Francisco. In fact, Dave and Mary Anne met and worked together there. Mary Anne refers to Dave as her mentor.
Dave describes his work with amputees as a labor of love. He enjoys giving back to amputees the mobility that they had lost. “It is really satisfying to see such tangible results of rehabilitation. The opportunity to do this in a place with such great need really speaks to my heart.” He also knows from Mary Anne’s experience that the two week mission is grueling. “It’s very much like a marathon. You train for it, you give it all you have, and it’s exhilarating; but afterwards, you’re depleted. Then, once you are able to replenish your strength, you start to plan your next marathon.”
Dave has also been pleased at the reaction of their 12 yr old daughter, Sage. “She has become so supportive of our efforts in Haiti that she has been willing to suffer the hardships of not having both parents available, taking on more chores and responsibility around the home.” When Sage learned that her middle school was raising money to buy a tent for a homeless Haitian family, she asked her father to hand carry the tent to Haiti with him. Dave delivered it when he arrived in Haiti.
Since 2005, internationally recognized Physicians for Peace (PFP) has been providing amputee rehabilitation services in Haiti. The number of injured and disabled in Haiti has risen dramatically because of the earthquake. At the same time, much of the resources that had been established to treat the disabled in Haiti have been destroyed.
The Coalition is staffed by volunteer U.S. prosthetic experts from Physicians for Peace and Hanger Orthopedic Group and in conjunction with local Haitian medical professionals.
Physicians for Peace is providing donated medical supplies, teams of physical therapists to deliver direct client care and training, expertise and is using protocols from its Walking Free program.
CONTACT: Monika Bridgforth
Senior Director of Development and Communications, Physicians for Peace
757.625.7569 x316 / email@example.com