by Dr. Jill Howe and Dr. Sherry Durrett
On a cold and snowy night the first part of December, five Chiropractors and two Chiropractic business professionals from three states and two countries arrived in Moscow to take the next step in expanding chiropractic for the Russian people. This project was headed by Dr. Sherry Durrett, founder of the Foundation for Chiropractic Worldwide, a non- profit organization she established to further the goal of expanding Chiropractic by initially establishing a chiropractic college in Russia – and until it’s generating Doctors of Chiropractic, a clinic abroad program to care for the Russian people.
The delegation was composed of Dr. Durrett; Dr. Charles Register, a local Chiropractor; Mr. Larry Berg, director of a Chicago Chiropractic Clinic; Dr. Jill Howe, from Chicago; Drs. Zia and David Bellin from Atlanta; Mr. Vladimir Uzhva, Director of the Regional Center for Chiropractic, “Spine,” in Vladivostok; and their local translator, Elena.
Thursday, December 2, 2004:
All members of the delegation arrived from their area of the world and converged in the lobby of the local American hotel in the center of Moscow for introductions and a briefing regarding our goals and purposes for this humanitarian endeavor. The setting was beautiful, albeit cold and snowing as we concluded our meeting over local cuisine at a nearby Pectopah (restaurant)
Friday, December 3, 2004:
We were welcomed into the Ministry of Health Care and Social Development of the Russian Federation for a meeting with Anatoliy Scherbakov, the Chief of the Protocol Department of the Ministry. His duties entail coordination of all top level meetings for the Ministry.
Formal introductions were made in the lobby of this traditionally stark Soviet building and the tone of the group was filled with excitement and yet a sense of uncertainty regarding what to expect as this was the first encounter with the Russian Federation for most of us.
We were escorted to the heart of the building to formal negotiation rooms to begin our initial dialogues. Mr. Scherbakov opened the negotiations by asking in Russian, “How can I help?” Dr. Durrett stated that we were Doctors of Chiropractic from the U.S. there to help the Russian people.
Mr. Scherbakov informed us of the protocol and ways in which future negotiations would proceed. It was obvious that his intentions were to help us in any way he could with future endeavors, as well as, having a successful meeting the following Monday with Mr. Voladin, a head in the Ministry of Health & Social Development in the Russian Federation. His domain is Pharmacology, Human Welfare, Education, and Science.
At the close of the meeting, Mr. Scherbakov graciously indulged us with a few photographs to commemorate our initial meeting. Upon departing, we were informed by Mr. Scherbakov that a higher level translator would improve our future success when meeting with Mr.Volodin. Based on our meeting, Mr. Berg analyzed the information and began to reconstruct the power point presentation for Monday’s meeting with Mr. Voladin.
Following our brief sightseeing excursion, it was back to work for Monday’s upcoming meeting where Dr. Durrett, Dr. Howe and Mr. Berg began interviewing for the best possible translator. We concluded our interviews over a brief dinner with our final candidate and quickly realized she was the best person for the job.
Saturday, December 4, 2004:
Our meeting successfully concluded, we decided to do some sightseeing and headed to Red Square in time to witness the ceremony commemorating the day the Fascist army was driven from Moscow during WW II. The ceremony was attended by the Lord Mayor, veterans and local government officials. Dr. Durrett, Dr. Howe, Mr. Berg and their translator were captivated by the precision and formality of the presentation.
We proceeded to the Kremlin’s Armory where we toured the exquisite displays of historical and religious artifacts dating back to as early as the 12 century A.D.
We returned to our hotel with our new translator, Julia Gould, where we got right down to work reviewing and modifying the presentation for our Monday meeting to best suit local culture and proper Russian etiquette. As the clock struck ten, we sent our translator home with books and materials in English and Russian to better prepare her for the meeting ahead. Yet again, we worked until the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday, December 5, 2004:
Following a “unique” Russian brunch, we embarked on a brief cultural excursion to a local outdoor market. We picked up a few souvenirs and returned to the hotel, as there were more preparations to be made. We were met by our new translator, Julia to review the information she received the previous evening and our current changes to the presentation.
Dr. Durrett and Larry Berg worked until 6:00 a.m. fine-tuning the presentation and documents. The last minute translations of several other documents needed for the meeting in a few hours were still yet to arrive via e-mail.
Monday, December 6, 2004:
Larry Berg was awakened with a start when Dr. Durrett called at 9:00 a.m. with the news that they would need to travel to a business center in a hotel 20 minutes away to print final revisions for the meeting. Our hotel business center was closed for relocation on Sunday and had promised to be open Monday at 8:00 a.m. To Dr. Durrett’s extreme disappointment, the business center rescheduled their opening for 11:00 a.m., our scheduled meeting time with Mr. Volodin.
The challenge was met head on as Larry Berg and Dr. Durrett braved the cold and rainy weather to fulfill their mission of printing the finalized documents for the negotiations. After re-coordination of the rest of the delegates to ensure their timely arrival at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Durrett and Larry Berg successfully completed their cross-town journey to the business center. Upon completion of their task, which included its own set of technical difficulties, they arrived at the Ministry with 1 minute to spare!
We were met by Mr. Scherbakov who escorted us to a U.N. style negotiation room complete with microphones. We were assigned one side of the table and Mr. Volodin was to be seated on the other side. We performed the necessary preparations for the meeting – including positioning the key speakers, Dr. Durrett and Mr. Berg along with each of their translators and the power point presentation. Mr. Volodin promptly presented himself and was introduced to each member of our delegation. We were warmly received and proceeded with our meeting straight away.
The size of our delegation surprised Mr. Volodin and he commented on this as we sat down to begin our negotiations. He was previously forwarded and reviewed our proposal, so he opened the meeting by asking for our specific purpose and objectives. Mr. Volodin, a Neonatologist himself, proceeded to acknowledge that people with a gift to heal should be given an opportunity to practice their art. He further discussed the parameters of the Russian medical system and that all specialists are initially trained as Medical Doctors.
As the negotiations proceeded, Mr. Volodin conveyed his strong interest regarding the forward progression of chiropractic in his country. He said he’d like doctors in Russia to learn more about chiropractic and proposed we create and present for approval, a 10 day symposium regarding our specialty. Other suggestions were made for future training and what might be possible within the framework of their system.
Dr. Durrett presented the power point presentation outlining the exact plans for chiropractic expansion in Russia. The meeting concluded with Mr. Volodin encouraging us to forward our initial proposal for the 10 day symposium he suggested. Following the meeting, Mr. Scherbakov escorted us to our initial negotiation room for a de-briefing. He was optimistic regarding the success of our meeting due to the fact that more information was requested for consideration vs. the bad news of being told “thanks, but no thanks.”
The delegates departed the Ministry and over lunch, reviewed each person’s viewpoint of how they felt the meeting went. The pros and cons of future expansion of chiropractic in Russia based on Mr. Volodin’s suggestions were discussed.
Dr. Durrett and Dr. Howe and Larry Berg along with one of our translators proceeded with Dr. Charles Register back to his office. Here we observed Dr. Register treating several of his patients and we had the opportunity to adjust Dr. Register. Dr. Durrett was excited to see Dr. Register’s CA, Marina again and to thank her personally for her efforts to forward this project. Marina expressed her pleasure in being able to contribute to such a humanitarian effort, as she was responsible for pushing through Dr. Durrett’s communications to Mr. Scherbakov, resulting in the initial meeting.
Tuesday, December 7, 2004:
We got six hours of sleep, the most amount of time on the whole trip!. After lunch, Dr. Durrett, Dr. Howe and Larry Berg headed to the mall in search of a gift of appreciation we intended to present Mr. Scherbakov at our diplomatic dinner for the care and attention he demonstrated to us during our trip. We met Mr. Scherbakov and Dr. Register at the restaurant at 6:00 p.m. and shared our mutual views on the Monday meeting. However, the majority of the evening was dedicated to foreign relations. Mr. Scherbakov expressed his viewpoint regarding the future success of the project. The evening definitely opened the door to a positive and optimistic working relationship.
Mr. Anatoliy Scherbakov, Mr. Larry Berg, Dr. Charles Register toast to a great evening and an optimistic future for both the US and Russia.
After dinner Dr. Durrett, Dr. Howe and Larry Berg took the overnight train to St. Petersburg for a meeting that Mr. Scherbakov arranged following our Monday de-briefing where he asked us “Is there anything I can do to help you with this cause?”
Wednesday, December 8, 2004:
We arrived in St. Petersburg at 6:45 a.m. and proceeded to our hotel. After checking in and eating breakfast, we phoned Mr. Scherbakov’s contact, Dr. Petrov, Head of the Department for cooperation with Domestic and International Medical Institutions at the city of St. Petersburg Government Public Health Committee. A meeting was convened for two o’clock that day at the St. Petersburg Government building with Mr. Petrov. We were very graciously accepted.
Dr. Durrett’s main purpose for this meeting was to discuss the possibility of coordinating and bringing a clinic abroad program or “Chiropractic Mission” to this area. Dr. Petrov was very excited and optimistic about St. Petersburg and the northwest region of Russia cooperating in such a program.
To accomplish such an endeavor, Dr. Petrov suggested a possible symposium shipboard on the Neva River as early as this coming May. He proceeded to share with us his opinion regarding the demand and high interest for chiropractic in his region of the country. Dr. Petrov stated he would fax Dr. Durrett a formal letter of protocol regarding our future working relationship.
Mr. Larry Berg, Dr. Sherry Durrett, Dr. Youry Petrov, Dr. Jill Howe, and Elena Kroutovskaja, translator.
Overall, I would say that our trip was very successful as well as an incredible experience. We opened new roads for the expansion of Chiropractic in Russia and made many valuable contacts along the way. We were very graciously received by all that we met with and more than anything else, observed that there was a very strong interest Chiropractic.
During the rest of winter Dr. Durrett coordinates the proposals for the symposiums that were requested. The plan for the symposiums would include presentations on the Art, Science, and Philosophy of Chiropractic. If you have interest in submitting a presentation for the symposium, your are encouraged and welcome to contact Dr. Durrett at [email protected] or by toll-free fax at (866) 831-6755. And, if you have desire to help on this project in any other possible way now or in the future, please contact her. Your help is very appreciated.