World View: Care in the Dominican Republic

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Trisomy 21 Update

In July 2017, a physical therapist from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) presented a poster about the global reach of the Trisomy 21 Program at the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group, USA (DSMIG-USA) annual symposium.

The DSMIG-USA is an an interdisciplinary group of healthcare providers and researchers committed to promoting optimal health and well-being of individuals with Down syndrome across their lifespan. Each year, the group hosts a joint symposium with the National Down Syndrome Congress to share knowledge and experiences related to clinical care of children and adults with Down syndrome, clinical research related to Down syndrome, and development of Down syndrome clinics.

This year, Helen Milligan, PT, MPT, detailed how the Global Health and Trisomy 21 programs at CHOP worked together to help a child with Down syndrome living in the Dominican Republic to meet appropriate developmental milestones. A small group of CHOP clinicians visit the Dominican Republic twice a year as part of the Global Health Allies Program to share knowledge with local nurse and local community health promoters.

Over the past several years, Milligan and the Trisomy 21 team have provided suggestions to the direct-care workers in the Dominican Republic to assist with the boy’s development. In June 2016, Milligan visited the Dominican Republic as part of the Allies Program and was able to meet the boy and his family in person.

“Children with special healthcare needs and disabilities represent a forgotten group in global setting,” says Milligan. “They can benefit significantly from long-term innovative international healthcare partnerships. The CHOP global model represents a sustainable approach to providing needed services to patients who are otherwise unable to access services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.”

“I am honored to be a part of helping this young boy grow to reach his full potential,” she continues. “I plan to continue to keep in touch with his providers and provide suggestions to help with his development.”