I am a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist and I had the opportunity to work in Nicaragua with NDI. I was deeply impressed by the experience. Over the 10 days that I was there we were able to see hundreds of people who would normally not get healthcare and it was free. The naturopathic and chiropractic medical students had a fabulous educational experience being able to see so many people with very diverse complaints and learning about international healthcare issues. Overall this was a wonderful experience and I hope to return.
NDI has brought awesome ideas into action -- influencing the global health model in the most positive ways imaginable. Dr. Tabatha Parker truly is a visionary with a brilliant mind, huge heart and obvious desire to be of service. As a result, NDI continues to expand, attracting and incorporating the ideas of a dynamic multicultural team of game changers!
I had the great privilege to participate in a global health course in Nicaragua as a doctor in 2007 with medical students from several schools in the U.S. and was blown away by the education, inspiration and heartfelt connection to the community they found.
Additionally, I received tremendous support from NDI for my work in southern Mexico over a period of several years -- including mentoring and resources, a fantastic permaculture intern and even a grant to complete a community health project with local Mayan midwives. NDI has been a powerful force for positive change in my live and the lives of many people in Nicaragua, Mexico, the USA and beyond by providing opportunities to be part of the change we want to see in the world!
Tabatha Parker was named as a visionary in 2011 by Utne Reader. But we already knew that Dr. Parker was a visionary with a personal drive that made things happen.
In my former roles as Executive Director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Associate Vice President College Relations for National College of Natural Medicine, I was proud to participate in the emergence of the first integrated medicine global health nonprofit and assist with planning the first international naturopathic global health conference. NDI is led by cutting edge visionaries who work collaboratively within the cultures they serve and beside affiliated health professionals. NDI was formed to participate in worldwide humanitarian medical relief efforts in response to overwhelming naturopathic medical professional response as both volunteers and with resources. To further develop training and expertise in global health, to gather data for professional research and to develop global health policy. This is an excellent emerging organization with outstanding leadership and an impressive list of health and community service accomplishments.
I volunteered at NDI this february and it was the most rewarding experience of my life. As a future naturopathic doctor, this experience gave me more confidence, more passion, respect and pride for what we do as NDs, all in a very positive, non-judgemental environment. The NDI team is full of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things for the community in Nicaragua and globally as well. The medical care that is delivered to the community is exceptional and it was so fulfilling to be able to contribute to that. I am sooooo grateful to Dr. Tabatha and the rest of the team for being part of this amazing organization and giving us the opportunity to also be part of it.
I was an intern in 2008 - the first Dr. Parker took on! I was thrilled to have been accepted to take this role and spent 2.5 months in Nicaragua with a host family. An experience that truly changed my life. I am now a naturopathic doctor and remember all of the amazing things naturopathic medicine did for the people of Ometepe. I am grateful for Dr. Parker's hard work and dedication to NDI as she has truly made an enormous impact to the health and wellbeing of those on Ometepe. I do hope to go once again and volunteer my services as a doctor. I am so blessed for opportunity she gave me and for everything the people on this island taught me!
My gratitude for the opportunity to share time with the people of Ometepe. I brought knowledge and experience, along with an open-mind, to the NDI clinic and received so much more from my Brigade this past April 2014. The journey allowed a collaboration of efforts by professionals and students to provide this community with much needed healthcare services. We listened as each person described daily health challenges and offered our helping hand to bring comfort. Many thanks were offered with smiles, hugs and tears. In addition to the clinic experience, I was enlightened by our evening gatherings to discuss our experiences of the day, as well as, learn more about history, politics, culture and the future of Nicaragua and its people. My experience with the 'home stay' was invaluable to understanding life on the island. I left behind a piece of my heart, but will return to continue the mission that "healthcare is a human right". I recommend this trip to anyone interested in being a part of this global effort. Much appreciation to Dr. Farr and his wife Laura for leading our Brigade.
In 2009 my husband and I were visiting Nicaragua. He wanted to see the island Ometepe. On the last day as we were checking out in the open lobby I heard what sounded like a mower or weed cutter. In a moment a man came around the corner spraying pesticide to kill the mosquitoes. Everyone started running and the man spraying refused to stop. I inhaled some of the spray and ran as quickly as I could, but there was no where to hide. I was crying and very upset. My husband called a cab and we left for the town where we would catch the ferry hoping to find some medcial help. After going to pharmacy and being directed to the local hospital on the island, I was exhausted. We speak limited Spanish which made it all worse. The doctor wanted to inject me with a benedryl type of medication. I would not accept any meds and asked for Oxygen. While I was sitting in a wheelchair receiving oxygen Dr Tabitha Parker walked out in her green medical clothes and said, "are you alright." I was so happy to hear these words in English, I started crying and told her what happened. She assured me I would okay and explained that she was a Naturpathic Physician. I was so HAPPY and relieved. Dr Parker was my ANGEL and treated me with herbs and homeopathic medicine. I would have never known the amazing work this organization does if I had not had this experience. They were such a blessing to me and I felt so much better after being treated that we all went out for an awesome vegetable pizza! Thank you Tabitha for all your amazing work that you are doing on the planet. I am eternally grateful. Warm Regards, Marika Baris
NDI was a truly eye-opening experience, and the work it does has an immediate impact on the community it serves. It's a remarkable NGO that spreads a truly global message.
I've been on two brigades with NDI. The most important thing to note, in my mind, is that it isn't a light, meaningless-beyond-entertainment, tourist experience. Dr. Parker and her staff educates volunteers on the realities of global health and the implications of those realities, in a way that is engaging, feels very personal, and that changes one's worldview. I've recommended this to all my medical student and doctor friends who are at all, or potentially, interested in global health or underserved populations - I'd even say it's powerful enough to be a requirement for anyone wanting to work in that aspect of healthcare.
My NDI trip was one of the best experiences of my life. I highly recommend this to ANYONE, not just those interested in healthcare. My soul was re-awakened on this trip :)
During naturopathic medical school I had the opportunity to vunteer for NDI. Amazing experience, from discovering pathology to participating in community activities. I felt like my work was truly appreciated and everyone made to feel like a member of a unique and beautiful family. I felt very blessed to be able to share my skill set to help others but I feel even more blessed because I received far more from volunteering with this group than anything. The people of Ometepe are always in my heart. I hope to return sometime soon.
I was on an NDI Brigade in Ometepe in 2008. I spent one short week working at the hospital in the main town and also setting up remote clinics for villagers who lived in areas accessible only by horseback. Lines and lines of people waited hours to see us. It was the only medical care they would get until the next time NDI was able to return. The experience made a huge impact on my life and I know it made a huge impact on the lives of the people we treated. NDI's work is so very important not only to the volunteers but also for Nicaraguans and the people of other countries where NDI keeps resident doctors who actually live there and become a part of the community.
I had the opportunity to volunteering with this organization in Feb 2014 on a medical brigade. The experience was phenomenal. The organization of the trip from start to finish was really well done and communication with the country director, Kelly, was reliable and frequent. Overall, NDI was very accommodating to us a volunteers, ensuring that we too have a good experience and they welcomed feedback. Volunteers were well respected by NDI.
The clinic itself was a very educational and fun experience. We had the opportunity to see many patients, work with a few doctors, were able to fully contribute to the patient interaction from obtaining subjective and objective information, diagnosis and the creation of treatment plans. Outside of the clinic we had a great opportunity to learn about global health, recap and reflect about our day, participation in a children's run, and have many opportunities to team build with our fellow brigaders including climbing Volcan Concepcion.
One of my favourite aspects was our accommodation and meals. NDI cooperates with local mothers in the area and has brigaders stay in home stays. This was an incredible experience to learn first hand the life of families that live in Ometepe, experience the food, the culture and the language.
I was part of an NDI brigade to Ometepe, Nicaragua in 2011. The experience was humbling, satisfying, educational, motivational, fun and much more! We stayed with local families and offered free medical care to the local community. The brigade was able to see patients of all ages with a variety of medical conditions. The response by the community for our efforts was extraordinary. NDI was very well organized in their efforts. In fact, the trip was essentially flawless.
Just an amazing charity. One that takes the talents of underappreciated students and professionals and allows them to work holistically and sustainably in an underserved community. The volunteers fundraise to get themselves there as well as sourcing donations to stock the health clinic, then they work tirelessly and have such a rewarding experience as a result. NDI is a true model for how health care and charity work should be done in the future; integratively and at a sustainable community level involving locals and the personal strengths of the volunteers themselves.
My time in Nicaragua at the NDI clinic has been the most meaningful volunteer experience to date. I cannot wait to return in the next round of brigades, and I am sharing the excitement with friends and family. This clinic is doing SO MUCH GOOD for the community, but they rely on donations that we can help provide. I will continue to do whatever I can to support their integrative healthcare mission!
NDI does so much for bridging the gap between international medicine and natural medicine. I am SOOO grateful for having an opportunity to visit on a brigade.
NDI runs a free health clinic in Ometepe, Nicaragua, a town with little access to health care within one of the poorest counties in Central America. The doctors volunteer their time for (minimum) one year to service the clinic and become an integrated part of the community. On top of that, ALL of the medicine, supplements and equipment used by the clinic is collected by brigades of North American medical students who travel to the clinic for 10 day global health volunteer trips; in other words, the daily functioning of the clinic is COMPLETELY sustained by donated medicine from North American companies, and transported to the clinic by volunteer students. NDI is truly a model for effective, grassroots global health care. Everyone involved (myself as a past volunteer student) from patients, to doctors, to the students and our home-stay families within the community have been incredibly effected by the work that NDI does as an organization!
I was on the Island of Ometepe for one of the NDI brigades and it was absolutely life changing. NDI is providing excellent health care to those who would not have any otherwise in addition to working to improve the community as a whole and on top of all of that, educating and empowering students to make a difference as well. Natural Doctors International is doing all of the right things and making a HUGE difference.
I spent 9 weeks volunteering for NDI and it absolutely changed my life. The service it provides for the community and the opportunity it provides for students and doctors is unrivaled. The most amazing aspect during my time there was how integrated NDI is into the community of Ometepe. As a primary care clinic but also as an advocate, educator and friend of the people. My experience as an intern radically changed my life for the better by exposing me to the real, day-to-day work involved in helping so many people on such a consistent basis. Dr. Parker is an absolute mastermind and her work warrants further recognition and support so that clinic models like NDI's can be expanded and replicated elsewhere to heal even more people.
I was on the island of Ometepe twice, as a part of a medical brigade, which volunteered on the island with NDI. This is an amazing organization which not only helps people by taking care of their health issues, but also through it's support of the local community. We, as a brigade, stayed with local families, and everyone told us how different the island is, since NDI has been established there, how much more support they have, and how they have someone to turn to when they need help. In the days we spent in clinic, we saw people from all over the island, people who traveled for hours to come and see us, people who were so grateful and people who left having felt heard. This is truly an amazing organization and I can only hope that it keeps growing and giving.
NDI is doing amazing work on the island of Ometepe and beyond. In a clinical setting, they offer free, quality healthcare to a population with very limited access to quality healthcare. In a community setting, they are involved with social and public health issues that positively affect the local communities. And in a global setting, they are educating international students and doctors on global health and the role that we can have in improving not only health care but also the greater global community. I have volunteered on three medical brigades with NDI and while the work is challenging, the rewards are great and it is easy to see how meaningful their work and presence is to the people of Ometepe, Nicaragua.
I have been volunteering on and off with NDI since 2006. This organization attracts the most wonderful people, people who honestly want to change the world, whether it's by brightening someone's day or changing the way the entire worlds sees and utilizes natural medicine. If you want to be inspired, work with NDI. They have projects ranging from water purification to women's health and empowerment to building safe playgrounds to starting organic community gardens! There is a place for every kind of skill in this organization.
What an amazing experience for young open minded medical students. Wonderful opportunity to learn about Naturopathic primary care and global health. Dr Parker has done an amazing job training families in the local community to look after the students and volunteers. So you feel part of the family and community in such a short time. Everyone is very welcoming.
Natural Doctors International is an amazing organization. I spent one week volunteering at the NDI clinic and staying in a sponsored Nicaraguan homestay this past September, and will remember my time there for the rest of my life. I learned so much about global health, the history and politics of Nicaragua, got to practice my medical Spanish, and received a wealth of clinical experience while also providing much needed holistic health services to the members of the Ometepe community.
It was so satisfying and worthwhile to be a part of the clinic: patients were very well served by the naturopathic, holistic, and psychological treatments offered and overall, all of the participants and volunteers were able to contribute greatly towards the clinic's goals. Knowing that the NDI Clinic is a permanent fixture of the Ometepe community makes it even more uplifting and positive to contribute towards it: as a volunteer, you bring much-needed medical supplies and an infusion of energy to a long-standing, sustainable mission.
Overall, the Natural Doctors International Clinic provides a superb service to the community members of Ometepe, Nicaragua while also offering an extremely positive, thorough global health experience for its clinical volunteers. I came away from my week volunteering in the clinic with an amazingly nuanced and rich understanding of the healthcare situation in Nicaragua after just one week. I was so thankful for the extra global health courses and processing work that the NDI team facilitated outside of clinic hours.
I was in Nicaragua, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. But all that quickly didn't matter. NDI welcomed us like we had always been a part of their family. We had group and personal challenges but at the end of the day they always made time to decompress and they gave you a space to express in a real way what it felt like and meant for you. I am a first year naturopathic medical student and don't feel like I know very much yet. Being with the NDI doctors in the clinic was amazing because they were so great at explaining things if you had questions but they also completely respected your input as an equal. In the classes we learnt so much in such a short time. We also got hands on experience in learning about the community by living with a home stay family, budgeting for a family for a day in an assignment, and working out on a plantation. This experience left you inspired to try to be as amazing as the doctors were, so directly changing lives, and to work to build community. I am very grateful for my experience there.