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Two ClassACT health care charities join forces in Costa Rica

August 29, 2018 3:33 PM | Anonymous

“The KidsCareEverywhere software will absolutely help us. It will be a huge benefit. You saw the enthusiasm of our doctors here. They were in love with it,” observed Dr. George Whitelaw, president of Childrens Well Being Foundation (CWBF) in Costa Rica, where KidsCareEverywhere (KCE), a San Francisco charity founded by Dr. Ron Dieckmann, ‘73 had just completed a physician software donation and training. The two global health groups had been linked through Jonathan Sprague of ClassACT earlier this spring, as part of a collaborative attempt to bring together Harvard-affiliated nonprofit organizations working in health care. 

Three men pose in front of a KidsCareEverywhere bannerDr. George Whitelaw, president of CWBF; Jean Carlo Brenese, CEO of Children’s Well-Being Foundation, Costa Rica; and Dr. Ron Dieckmann, Executive Director of KidsCareEverywhere in San Jose, Costa Rica. Ron donated a tablet PC to help improve clinic access to the medical software he gifted to CWBF on his July, 2018 visit to Costa Rica.

         George, an orthopedic surgeon and husband of Dr. Phyllis Carr, ’73 began CWBF over ten years ago. The organization is based in San Jose, Costa Rica and serves poor children—mainly Nicaraguan immigrants. They offer free medical, psychological, eye exams, and dental care to children and adolescents from communities with limited access to health services. CWBF is currently under enormous strain from a flotilla of refugees from their northern neighbor Nicaragua, who are fleeing from violence in their own country and entering Costa Rica, whose lean health care system is already unable to care for their own Costa Rican children.

         Ron, A pediatric emergency physician, professor emeritus at UCSF and medical software developer, founded KCE in 2006. The organization donates state-of-art medical software to doctors working in low-income countries and serving impoverished children. KCE has sites in 25 different countries on three continents—Asia, Africa, and South America. The software is gifted to KCE by EBSCO Health Care in Ipswich, and Ron has been intensely involved with development of the pediatric components. Ron says the software is a transformational experience for the doctors and changes practice almost instantly by providing an encyclopedia of current, evidence-based medical knowledge though a mobile app. The app does not require web access and is available at the bedside—so it works very well for doctors in the low-income world.

         “We really enjoyed working with George and his group at CWBF”, commented Ron. “His organization is doing totally fantastic work. We want to support his doctors who are dedicated but overwhelmed with patients and have almost no resources or information sources”. The software will allow doctors to access medical information in seconds, and will help identify sick kids that need life-saving drugs or referral into the public Costa Rican system.

         The two groups want to continue working together. Ron and George will be looking for each other at the 45th reunion this fall to plan their next collaboration!

ClassACT HR ‘73

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