Chiropractic Identity

Chiropractic Identity

Defining who we are for health care
Fall 2012

Davenport Campus

Visitors from Ghana’s Medicine on the Move

Back row from left: Dr. Dave Juehring, Clay Hollenbeck, Dr. Tracey Littrell. Front row from left: Patricia Mawuli-Nyekodzi, Lydia Wetsi and Jonathan Porter.
Dr. Juehring, Clay Hollenbeck, Dr. Littrell, 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 Ms. Wetsi.

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.”

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