Daily Times-Call (Longmont, CO)
Posted on September 29, 2007
By Melanie M. Sidwell
LONGMONT — A group of medical professionals from Russia spent the past week visiting local health-care facilities through an exchange program.
Hosted by the Longmont Rotary Club, four health professionals from Russia and a facilitator visited through the Open World Program.
Created in 1999, the program aims to expose Russian leaders to American democratic and economic institutions — including nonprofits, media, courts and politics — as a way to create understanding between the two countries.
The theme of this exchange was “Social, HealthCare and Hospice Care.” The Russian guests include Tatiana Bondarenko, facilitator; Olga Ivanova, children’s pediatrician; Julia Rusanova, hospice psychologist; Mikhail Sobolev, chief psychologist; and Valeriya Tovpyga, a hospice administrator.
The visitors arrived Sept. 22 and are staying with local host families through Sunday.
On Sept. 23, the program participants toured Rocky Mountain National Park, but they spent the rest of the week hearing presentations at area health-care facilities, such as the Boulder County Mental Health Center, the People’s Clinic of Boulder, Longmont United Hospital, Longmont Clinic, HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, Children’s Hospital sites in the Denver area and the Longmont Senior Center.
The group also visited with the local chapters of the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Speaking through translator Lana Davis, the group shared its thoughts about the week’s presentations and visits to local health-care facilities.
Ivanova said she was most impressed with the medical equipment used to make patients more comfortable during their hospital stays. The high level of health care in Longmont is like that in a major city in Russia, she said.
“This it how it could be done. This is how patients could be cared for in our country and at a high level,” Ivanova said.
Rusanova said she was intrigued by the medical and psychological care available to low-income individuals.
“The majority of my patients do not have the opportunity to obtain high-quality care,” she said.
Sobolev said he was both “fascinated and shocked” during a tour of Longmont United Hospital on Tuesday that doctors address the whole patient — not just physical ailments, but emotional, psychological and family issues as well.
“This is what I have believed. Now I can take it up and use it in my work,” he said. “It is not just fantasy or imagined. This is what American doctors say: respect for the whole patient.”
[Reprinted with Permission]