In December, COE staff physician Dr. Robert Brody travelled to Panajachel, Guatemala with Naturopathic Medicine for Global Health (NMGH) to provide medical care to people in this poverty stricken area. NMGH is an organization that promotes naturopathic medicine as a feasible and costeffective means of healthcare in developing countries with a unique, sustainable health care model.
While there, Dr. Brody supervised naturopathic medical and physician assistant students as they treated patients at the main clinic in Pahajachel and made home visits to bedridden individuals. Even the local police and fire department staff were treated to well-care from Dr. Brody and his team.
Dr. Brody learned about Naturopathic Medicine for Global Health while he was a medical student and started a local chapter at his school, eventually being voted student chapter president of 2014. He wanted to participate in this program because he believes everyone should have access to naturopathic health care and wanted to share his passion for helping people outside of the US.
“It’s humbling to see the socioeconomic state of the Guatemalan people, most living off of only a few dollars a day. The population, however, are some of the most loving and appreciative people I have ever known. They are truly thankful for any and all help they receive. With the donations I collected from Dr. D’Adamo and the Center of Excellence, I was able to help these people with their medical needs.”
Dr. Brody was particularly moved by one woman he treated during his mission. “The most exciting part of this experience would have to be my first and last patient of the mission. She was a diabetic patient who wasn’t taking her insulin regularly and was bed stricken. She was told by her doctors that if she opened her eyes that they would pop out. When I met this patient, she had no vitality. With a combination of vitamins, minerals, herbs, a homeopathic drug, and support from her family, I was able to lower her blood glucose back into normal range and find an insulin regimen that would work for her. A week after I left she was able to get out of bed and is currently walking around.”
While the experience was rewarding, Dr. Brody says that there are many challenges facing poverty-stricken Guatemalans when it comes to health care and diet. “The social economic toll in Guatemala is a hard factor to confront. When it comes to diet and exercise most of the patients I have seen are just trying to survive. They work really hard for the little bit of money they receive and this makes talking about diet a really hard task. Most of the people are eating to survive. Eating what they can when they can. While starvation is a concern in Guatemala most people have just enough to buy rice, corn, and some of the other basics. Most of my work I did down in Guatemala, focused on using blood type as one of my treatment tools. If the patient did know their blood type, I would be able to prescribe the proper supplement in order to activate certain molecular pathways that need to be regulated in certain blood types. For the few patients who had a more affluent income sources I focused on making small changes to their diet (i.e., Blood Type O’s avoiding wheat and Blood Type B’s avoiding chicken, etc.)”