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3rd Continuity of Care Clinic Site Opening in Tecpan, Guatemala

DOCARE is proud to announce our 3rd continuity of care clinic site in Tecpan, Guatemala!

Alan Schalscha, DO, DOCARE board member and medical director of DOCARE’s first continuity of care clinic in San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala, has fostered a partnership with local organization Educa Pueblo Viejo (EPV) to operate the Tecpan clinic in the impoverished community of 90,000.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to provide more osteopathic medical students with exposure to international medicine and the needs of the indigenous Guatemalan population,” Dr. Schalscha said.
EPV’s director and American ex-pat, Jon Mellen, has lived in the community several decades and is dedicated to empowering the local people by aiding local farms, businesses and supporting four schools in the area. Both Dr. Schalscha and Mr. Mellen recognized the need for improved health care in the community and began the relationship to establish the clinic.

The community is made up of 90% indigenous Mayan people. A long history of social inequality has contributed to very limited access to healthcare and education in the area.

“Our goal is to create an environment where patients can have access to healthcare and are treated with respect regardless of ability to pay for services,” Dr. Schalscha said.

Mr. Mellen has generously donated several acres of his property for the clinic. The building, just under 400 sq. ft, consists of 2 small exam rooms, bathroom facilities and a lab. DOCARE will employ a local physician to staff the clinic.

In keeping with DOCARE’s commitment to providing educational opportunities for osteopathic medical students, students will be able to rotate at the clinic in the future.

In addition, DOCARE and EPV have partnered with Project C.U.R.E., a non-profit that provides medical supply donations to under-resourced hospitals, clinics and community health centers in developing countries, to outfit the Tecpan clinic. Project C.U.R.E. staff traveled to Tecpan in September 2014 to conduct a needs assessment at the clinic.

The result was a donation of large cargo container with $750,000 worth of equipment from Project C.U.R.E.. Donated items included dental and basic laboratory equipment, patient care supplies and diagnostics to stock the two exam rooms.

The clinic is expected to begin seeing patients soon. Watch for news in the weeks ahead!

Clinic Updates

The DOCARE continuity of care clinics in Chacraseca, Nicaragua and San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala, are doing well in their respective communities.

A dental suite has been added to the clinic in San Andres. Three dentists participated with one clinic and treated over 350 patients. The support for materials has been overwhelming at the clinic. In addition to the equipment for the clinic in Tecpan, Project C.U.R.E. donated an ultrasound machine and numerous supplies for the San Andres clinic.

The DOCARE clinic in Chacraseca, Nicaragua celebrated its first year of partnership with JustHope. In the past year, the clinic has also has added dental services and a lab technician visits weekly to obtain blood samples and run basic tests.  In addition to working in the clinic, students have had the recent opportunity to work alongside Nicaraguan physicians at a public hospital in nearby Leon.

DOCARE continues to get excellent feedback from students representing 19 colleges of osteopathic medicine that have done rotations at the clinics and each year there are more students on the schedule. A total of 30 students rotated at the clinics during 2014. 

Here's What Students at the Clinic Had to Say...

“Having done medical work in Guatemala prior to rotating through DOCARE along with other global health experiences, I can honestly say that the set-up of the rotation and clinic far exceeded my expectations. In the past I have struggled with the concept of working with organizations where there is acute care but no way for patients to follow-up. Having a continuity clinic in an area such as San Andres is invaluable to the community. I have been back home for just over a week and am trying to figure out when I can get back to Guatemala!” Catherine Pinkston, OMS.

“The clinic was a great opportunity to practice Spanish and the staff at the clinic were all very kind and helpful. I highly recommend this rotation for anyone who wants to rapidly improve their Espanol. Thanks for providing the opportunity to be part of such an incredible experience!”
Laura Bach, OMS

DOCARE Presents Allaby Founders Award to Gary L. Willyerd, DO

DOCARE was honored to present the Ernest A..Allaby Founders Award to Gary L. Willyerd, DO, at AOA OMED 2014 in Seattle last October.
Dr. Willyerd, a deep-rooted supporter of DOCARE’s programs and valued board member since 2003, was honored for his outstanding service and dedication to DOCARE’s mission to provide medical care to underserved communities around the world.
“I was honored to receive the Allaby award, yet humbled to receive it for doing something that brings me such joy,” Dr. Willyerd said. 

Dr. Willyerd (back row, center) pictured with a group of his students in Guatemala, March 2015
Dr. Willyerd has participated in 27 international medical missions in the past 18 years and leads an annual trip to Peru for MSUCOM students.
“I love the opportunity to explore developing countries, experience their culture and to provide health care services while experiencing it through my students' eyes,” Dr. Willyerd said of his time mentoring and working with students.
“My hope is that they return to their careers with new tools in their armamentarium and a passion to give back.”
The Ernest A. Allaby Founders Award is DOCARE’s most prestigious honor and is presented annually.

SAACOFP Supports DOCARE Through National Service Project

The Student Association of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (SAACOFP) partnered with DOCARE to collect medicines and supplies for DOCARE’s continuity of care clinic in San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala.  
“This project to support DOCARE gives students great pride to perform service work as a united effort across all campuses and even more so in knowing that the donations are being put towards a DO-directed effort that has such significant effect,” Anne Hutchinson, OMS IV, National Executive President of the SAACOFP, said.
In a lively competitive spirit, the 15 SAACOFP chapters were challenged to collect the most items. Congratulations to LECOM who collected the most supplies! DOCARE leadership presented representatives from LECOM with a framed picture to express appreciation for their efforts.
In all, the chapters collected 1,502 items!

MSUCOM DOCARE chapter enters second year with a focus on international service

Source:;  Apr 8, 2015 7:00 AM
About 50 first- and second-year MSUCOM students marked the International Osteopathic Medicine Organization’s (IOMO) second year as an official DOCARE chapter with a luncheon and presentation on March 26 at the MSUCOM Macomb University Center site.
The Michigan Osteopathic Association hosted a luncheon, during which the student group presented DOCARE international board members with their dues check. The event was broadcast to East Lansing and Detroit.
In addition, the IOMO eboard presented international travel scholarships to two recipients who were honored with certificates at the ceremony. Following the awards, the DOCARE representatives (Dr. Gary Willyerd, Dr.  Mary Jo Voelpel and Dr. Craig Magnatta) talked about opportunities for the students to get involved with international medicine and answered questions.
The students learned about the challenges and importance of international leadership and were inspired to continue pursuing international medical trips into clerkship, residency and beyond.  

DOCARE Board Members, Dr. Gary Willyerd, Dr. Mary Jo Voelpel and Dr. Craig Magnatta, pictured with MSUCOM students.

DOCARE Highlights

  • DOCARE is excited to welcome Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, located in North Carolina, as our newest student chapter!
  • A record 18 global health outreach trips were conducted in 2014 to clinic sites including; Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Malawi, Dominican Republic, Uganda and Kenya.
  • 17 global health outreach trips are on our schedule for 2015. Check out our list on the DOCARE website!
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