Doctor to Doctor has been involved in number of kinds of activities:
Doctor to Doctor has sponsored visits by one or two health professionals to foreign countries where our volunteers meet with local health professionals and go on rounds and exchange information one-on-one with their colleagues. Sometimes these visits come about because of a special connection an American health professional may have with a specific country. For example, an American physician who was born in a foreign country or who has relatives there may wish to travel there to learn more about the health care situation there. Sometimes an American health professional becomes friends with an individual from a foreign country and that friend suggests that a visit might be interesting. Sometimes an American volunteer simply goes to a country which sounds interesting. These visits usually last a week or two and are at times combined with vacations and/or with visits to relatives. The volunteers bring with them medications, books, and supplies which will be useful in the hospitals or clinics they visit.
Doctor to Doctor Conferences
We have organized and produced one or two day educational conferences for healthcare practitioners. For example we have put on conferences in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City attended in each city by about a hundred Vietnamese psychiatrists, medical students, and nurses. In the Philippines we put on a conference in Iloilo City on the Island of Panay where over a hundred mental health professionals met in a conference center for two days and heard lectures by American clinicians representing the fields of psychiatry, psychology, pharmacy, public health, speech therapy, and internal medicine.
When we put on these conferences we bring with us books, journals, educational tapes, and medications which we donate to the hospitals and clinics we visit. Also for each conference we publish a written syllabus which is given to the conference attendees. Most of the time we videotape the conference and leave tapes behind so the health professionals who were not able to attend can see what was presented. Altogether we have put on 6 such conferences, some in Vietnam, some in the Philippines. Generally the American presenters number from 7 to 15 individuals. Sometimes volunteers bring family members with them, including at times children, who say they have had wonderful experiences.
Locally Sponsored Conferences
In the Philippines, in Myanmar, and in Kazakhstan Doctor to Doctor has been asked to send delegates to give lectures on specific topics at conferences which were planned in the host country, usually by the psychiatric society or association of that country. Smaller groups of American volunteers go on these visits. As always books, medications, and supplies are brought which are donated to the hospitals and clinics abroad.
We were invited to teach electroconvulsive therapy at Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo, Panay, Philippines. We learned that there was no ECT machine there so Doctor to Doctor purchased a state-of-the-art Mecta machine along with supplies and consumables and brought the machine there. We spent a week instructing Philippine psychiatrists and anesthesiologists and we helped them to treat patients. Western Visayas Medical Center now has the only electroconvulsive therapy service outside metropolitan Manila.
Now we have been invited to teach electroconvulsive therapy in Cambodia where there is a machine but no knowledge of how to use it. This trip is in the planning stage now and may take place in early 2009. Psychiatrists in Honduras have requested a course in schizophrenia and this mini-course is also being planned for later this year.
Direct Shipments of Medications and Books Abroad
When we receive donations we send medical supplies, books, journals, and medications directly to healthcare professionals in the clinics and hospitals where need exists. We have taken on the longterm treatment of a few specific patients for whom we may be able to send enough medication to ensure that they won't run out between visits from Doctor to Doctor volunteers.
Sponsorship of Visits by Foreign Health Professionals to the US
On one occasion we were able to bring two Vietnamese psychiatrists to California to attend professional meetings. Only rarely have we had funds for such visits. We saved some money by housing the psychiatrists at an American doctor's home.