Back row from left: Dr. Dave Juehring, Clay Hollenbeck, Dr. Tracey
Littrell. Front row from left: Patricia Mawuli-Nyekodzi, Lydia
Wetsi and Jonathan Porter.
Last August, Tracey Littrell, D.C., assistant professor, Diagnosis and
Radiology, arranged to have one of the founders and two staff
members of Medicine on the Move (MoM)—a kind of “flying doctor”
service in Ghana, West Africa—to receive care in the Palmer
Academic Health Center’s Davenport Clinic. None of them had ever
been to a chiropractor before. The experience was so positive, two
of the three came back for a second time in July 2012, and they
brought Lydia Wetsi, who needed special attention, with them.
MoM was founded in 2006 as a support service for the hospitals,
clinics and Non-Governmental Organization operations in remote
areas of Ghana, as well as an organization to aid West Africans in
health care education training and disease prevention by bringing
health care professionals to them.
A third mission was begun in 2010 to offer vocational skills
training and education to promising young women from the
rural villages around Lake Volta in Ghana. Young women are
recruited from the village schools and given an opportunity to
demonstrate their talents and aptitudes for learning during a trial
period at the Aviation and Technology Academy, in the Eastern
Region of Ghana, where they learn to fly the light aircraft used
by MoM as well as build them.
MoM operations are based out of Kpong Airfield, a 100-acre
site near Akuse Junction, Ghana, and include accommodations,
an administrative center, workshops for building the aircraft and
more. A mini-clinic for non-life threatening trauma, a computer
based training center and an accommodation block for volunteers
is scheduled to open in October.
Jonathan Porter, MoM’s chief pilot and engineer, arranged with Dr.
Littrell and her husband, Clay Hollenbeck, who met Jonathan three
years ago when he helped with the MoM website, to come back to
the Palmer Davenport Clinic in July. With Mr. Porter were Patricia
Mawuli-Nyekodzi, a MoM pilot and aviation instructor who was
the first woman to obtain Ghana’s National Pilots License, and Ms.
Wetsi, who began training with MoM two years ago.
Mr. Porter experienced positive results from his first visit to
Palmer. “Before we came to Palmer last year, I was walking
with a cane because of back problems from driving for hours on
terrible roads to take a little girl to and from the hospital,” he
says. “After the care I received from Dr. Dave Juehring (director
of the Chiropractic Rehabilitation and Sports Injury Department)
and intern Kyle Bloch last year, along with doing the exercises
Dr. Juehring gave me, I was able to function much better within
days, and I haven’t used a stick for a year.”
Though he was happy with his own positive outcome and went
out of his way to tout the benefits of chiropractic to everyone he
met after his first visit last year, Mr. Porter was more excited about
the potential for the Palmer faculty clinicians and interns to help
She likely had osteomyelitis and cellulitis in her right arm
following an insect bite on her elbow and “traditional” treatments
when she was about three years old. Due to contractures,
her hand is now positioned at roughly 90 degrees in ulnar
flexion. She had surgery last year to bring the elbow and
shoulder down a bit and is more functional, but needs more
care to reach maximum improvement.
“After assessing Lydia’s arm and working on it, they gave us
exercises to do on our own to improve its function,” he says.
“What I love about the care we’ve experienced here at Palmer
is that everything is explained and the approach is holistic.
You go away enabled and incentivized to improve your life
with practical and applicable solutions.”
As for what Palmer has done for him and some of MoM’s rising
young stars, Mr. Porter says: “It’s thanks to Palmer, its team, its
interns and everyone from the cleaners to the receptionist—and
the attitude and methodology they use—that today the team at
Medicine on the Move is able to change even more lives, one
flight at a time.”