Why I do what I do…
May 15, 2014
Get Up and Move!
October 14, 2014

A Balance of Teaching and Learning… In Brazil!

Teaching and Learning, the Perfect Balance… in Brazil Now that I have had a couple of moments to absorb the Brazilian speaking tour, I wanted to share some of the “experiences of a life time” in a country with health care professionals wanting to learn more and genuinely help their communities… I was prepped well in advance by 3 people in particular.  Juliana Piva (Presidente da Associação Brasileira de Quiropraxia), Roberto Bleier Filho (Diretor F Associação Brasileira de Quiropraxia), and Daniel Facchini (representando as especialidades da Quiropraxia), all extremely committed to advancing the profession in Brazil with a goal of regulation and licensure in that country. Seven days, 5 workshops, 3 cities, 2 universities, 1 goal; education.  Starting in Sao Palo, we were greeted by the president of the Brazilian Chiropractic Association, Juliana, and welcomed warmly.  I had the opportunity to visit the Anhembi Morumbi University (UAM) in Sao Palo (the home of the first chiropractic college in Brazil), meet and speak to students, professors and administrators; but in the end, it was me who was educated.  For those entering any graduate school in Brazil, as in many other countries outside the United States, they do it right from high school.  I had a hard enough time figuring it out after 4 years of undergraduate school and could not imagine making a career choice at 17/18 years old. Also in Sao Palo, the university is basically one high-rise building, housing all the fields of study integrated together.    I was very well received by all and enjoyed the time with the future doctors. Over the next 2 days I did 2 talks to students and doctors alike, wanting to learn more about my experiences in healthcare and sports, as well as possibilities for their future. I am a firm believer in educating people about chiropractic and its benefits through athletics.  This is something I practice here in the United States and was proud to share in Brazil.  Not just doctors of chiropractic but everyone seems to relate to athletes (of all ages); and using that to educate the general public  strongly helps the profession and communities everywhere.  I had a great interpreter (as my Portuguese was not up to speed), Thomas, that helped enhance my “entertaining” style of education with a healthy banter back and forth.  I also learned very quickly that all United States jokes and analogies DO NOT translate well in Brazil. We were treated to a home cooked meal by Roberto and his family, sharing many local traditional foods with great new friends.  On another occasion before heading to the airport for Rio, we had another amazing home cooked meal at the home of Juliana’s family, where her dad was in the fruit sales business his entire life (guess what we ate a lot of?).  Her mother, like most old school mothers here at home, cooked for 20 while only 7 of us were eating.  UNBELIEVABLE!!! We were fortunate enough to fly with Juliana to Rio from Sao Palo for our next stop on the tour and where her office was.  Another personalized tour of a beautiful city with her close friend and a colleague massage therapist, Flora.  We referred to each other as “family” over the Easter holiday since we were together and happy in the absence of our true families.  We toured and visited sites that day from Christos (the statue that overlooks Rio), to more “off the beaten path” restaurants.  Rio was also the location where I had the opportunity to speak to Brazilian players, coaches and other health professionals that played American football, on injury prevention and performance enhancement through chiropractic care.  Yes, American football.  I learned that not only did they play American football on a grass field like we do in the United States but they had even more teams playing in a beach American football league.  The translator there was one of their quarterbacks who was also an announcer; part of the broadcasting team with American football.  I was amazed how much he knew and studied.  I was also amazed by the number of chiropractors in Rio.  There are only 7 in the entire state of Rio de Janeiro. I already knew that there were less chiropractors in the country of Brazil then my current state of residence. It was then off to Porto Alegre, (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul) where we were met by our next host (and excellent interpreter), Daniel and headed to Novo Hamburgo, where Feevale University was located at the site of my last 2 workshops.  This campus looked a little more what we were used to seeing in the United States.  Multiple buildings housing multiple career opportunities for students of all ages.  I had a chance to tour the campus, class rooms, and treatment facilities utilized by the public for care.  The first workshop took place only hours after arriving but the second one was in the following evening allowing us to tour the area and eat at a “real” Brazilian steak house (as well as check out a couple of local leather goods).  Both were focused on helping current and future D.C.’s work better and more efficiently with athletes and in the athletic community. We also had an opportunity to discuss techniques regarding lower back conditions that can be utilized in the office and on the field.  And again, I could not have been received any better but the host(s), the University, doctors and students. Here is some of what I learned.  There is a very strong need of doctors of chiropractic in athletics at all levels in Brazil. Things are not the same everywhere as it pertains to the profession of chiropractic and health care in general.  Brazil is where the United States was 30-40 years ago, trying to gain recognition and regulation.  The numbers of doctors are growing equally for both men and women practitioners; but the total numbers are still small. In my talks I enjoy discussing working with athletes of all ages, including high schools and colleges (since we are contracted to work directly with both).  In Brazil, there are no true high school or college sport teams. But they have some of the best athletes in the world playing in pick-up games at play grounds and parks. The leaders in that country are truly dedicated to the profession, its constituents, and their patients; years of service with little if anything in return.  They will increase strength in the numbers of doctors they obtain, focused on the same goal; and it starts with education.  If they can reproduce the passion of the 3 main hosts that I have, there is no stopping their growth. Lastly, Portuguese is a tough language to learn, but I want to thank all of those who aided in my education. On a personal note, I want to thank Dave for all his help in prepping us for this trip (in more ways than you know).  Marie, for her guidance and support throughout the process of this adventure.  From before, during and after the trip; my travel companion for life.  Juliana, Roberto and Daniel; (not only for the sharing of their homes and families) for what chiropractic has become under their leadership and what it will become under their guidance. Pictures attached are only a small sample of a greater experience! Yours in Health, Tchau! Dr. Alan Sokoloff, D.A.C.B.S.P. drsoksofttissue_IMG_2359 drsoksofttissue1_IMG_2363 Dr. Sok demonstrates adjusting and soft tissue techniques drsokteaches_IMG_2010 Dr. Sok addresses a chiropractic students at Anhembi Morumbi University (UAM) in Sao Palo. drsokwdaniel_feevaleun_IMG_2324 drsokwdaniel_feevaleuni1_IMG_2300 drsokwdaniel2_IMG_2331 Dr. Sok and Daniel at Feevale University drsokwithjersey1_IMG_2378 Dr. Sok was presented with a game jersey from the Porto Alegre Bulls drsokwjuliana_IMG_2246 Dr. Sok with Juliana (the team chiropractor for Rio), a couple players, coach and doctors. eatingwroberto_IMG_2076 Dr. Sok and Marie dine with Roberto and family outside Sao Palo marie_IMG_2174 Dr. Sok and Marie overlook Rio on some downtime

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