WEST HILLS 7230 MEDICAL CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 401 WEST HILLS, CA 91307 WEST LOS ANGELES 10474 SANTA MONICA BLVD, SUITE 435 LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
WWW.M3PT.COM / LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 / JULY 2018
M3 AND ME
A MOVING STORY INCREASING ACCESS TO QUALITY REHABILITATION MEDICINE IN GUATEMALA
physician, who reached out to Move Together to collaborate on this project. He had been experiencing back pain and was forced to drive over an hour to the closest city to get the help he needed. Looking around his community, he realized there was a real need for a local therapy clinic and reached out to Move Together to collaborate. At times, it may be easy to forget that many communities don’t have access to health care. On one of our first days doing treatments and evaluations, one woman came in having difficulty standing, and she was hardly able to walk with two canes. She was experiencing lower back pain with radiating pain into her legs, a common condition in the U.S. But without access to care, it can become extremely debilitating. Thankfully, our team was able to relieve her pain and get her moving comfortably using one cane, and she was able to enjoy lunch with her family that afternoon. Although it was great to help individual patients move better through physical therapy, the real importance of the trip was to ensure that the people of San Pedro Sacatepéquez continued to receive quality care in the years to come. It wouldn’t be enough to go in, treat patients, and leave. We had to help establish a sustainable clinic run by local professionals. Together with local municipality workers and Guatemalan health care professionals, we were able to set up a fully functional clinic in an unused wing of an existing medical building. We worked to beautify the outside and inside of the building, including painting, gardening,
and cleaning, to create a healing environment for future patients. It was great to see that no one in the group was above doing
Most physical therapists have what I like to call “the altruism gene.” If it weren’t for student loans and the need to feed our families, we’d give our services away. One of our newer therapists, Nicole Bartels, is an embodiment of this giving spirit, combining her lifelong passion for service and social justice with her skills as a physical therapist. Nicole recently returned from a service trip to Guatemala, where she helped rural communities get access to physical therapy care. Our clinic couldn’t be more proud, and I couldn’t be happier to share her story with you. –Dr. Raul Lona Yes, last month, I was fortunate enough to work with a great nonprofit: Move Together. Partnered with the American Physical Therapy Association, the organization strives to “increase access to quality rehabilitation medicine around the corner and around the world.” I volunteered with Move Together to aid them in their efforts to collaborate with local city officials and medical professionals to increase access to quality PT services in Guatemala. In mid-May, our group of 24 volunteers made the journey to the south-central part of the country. Our goal was to establish the first rehab clinic in the municipality of San Pedro Sacatepéquez, something that would not have been possible without collaboration with the local city officials, physicians, and physical therapists. In fact, it was the local mayor, also a Thanks, Raul!
this type of work because everyone cared so much about the future of the clinic and knew that this space would one day allow more people to receive the quality health care they deserve.
One of the most important values of Move Together is sustainability, and the organization makes every effort to ensure their projects will last. If the clinic Move Together established last year in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, is any indication, it’s going to be a big success. The Guatemalan PTs working this clinic have been providing care to 700 patients per month who otherwise would not have had access to PT. So far, it has proved to be valuable and sustainable! I’m incredibly grateful to have gone on this trip with such compassionate, driven individuals. To my patients and M3 team members who wished me a warm welcome when I returned to L.A., thank you for your awesome support! While we were able to increase access to PT in one area, there is still a lot of work to be done to help create a healthier world. Move Together is currently raising funds to stock a new hospital in Guatemala with rehabilitation tools and equipment. They also support local pro bono projects in the U.S.! If you’d like to give your support to this important cause, please visit MoveTogether.org to learn more.
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