The future of Chiropractic in Russia is getting a little brighter. As a follow up to the December trip, the latest developments of the project revolve around a response by Dr. Sherry Durrett to accept an invitation from the Government of St. Petersburg to return to the city to coordinate and deliver an International Symposium on the Art, Science, and Philosophy of Chiropractic. The symposium was held May 26 and 27, 2005 in the city of St. Petersburg and was hosted by St. Elizabeth Hospital, one of the largest and most prominent hospitals in the northwest region of Russia. Speakers at the symposium included Dr. Durrett, Dr. Michel Tetrault, Dr. Dwight Whynot, and Dr. Clifton Bethel. The other delegates in attendance assisting with the symposium with translations and technical expertise were Mr. Larry Berg, Dr. Charles Register, Marina Manidarova, and Elena Bethel.
Day one began with the opportunity for many of the delegates to meet each other for the very first time. Shortly thereafter we were on our way in town for a meeting with Elena Kroutovskja, the representative from the government of St. Petersburg’s Public Health Committee who coordinated the symposium, then headed to St. Elizabeth Hospital to inspect the facility that had been selected for the symposium.
Upon arriving at the hospital, we were greeted very warmly by Dr. Boris Taits, Chief Doctor of St. Elizabeth’s. Following a brief conference, we were escorted to the auditorium that was selected as the venue for the symposium, which was ideal, then toured the entire hospital. We departed from the hospital and headed back to the hotel to begin working on the final renditions for the presentations and practice with the translators so that the delivery would be as smooth as possible for the Russian audience.
Bright and early on May 26 the delegation was picked up and taken to St. Elizabeth’s for the first day of the symposium. We immediately got underway handling the technical aspects for the Russian version of the PowerPoint presentations that the speakers were delivering and set up the material that we would be passing out. Dr. Terry Rondberg and Dr. Timothy Fueling graciously donated Chiropractic First and Chiropractic Works books to be distributed to the very appreciative participants of the symposium.
The first day of the symposium kicked off with Dr. Taits, Chief Doctor prefacing the importance of this symposium and stressed how vital Chiropractic is. His lecture was an unexpected surprise to the Chiropractic delegates as it was very hard hitting on the MDs present as he stressed how doctors have become lazy and that they the overuse drugs and surgery because it is much easier to just give pill to cover up someone’s symptoms than to really locate the cause of the problem and correct that. You would have been hard pressed to find a better pro-Chiropractic message at any Chiropractic college, office, or seminar.
At the conclusion of the first day of the symposium, the head nurse of the hospital hosted the delegation for a tea. At this tea, Dr. Taits’ second in command came and met with us to deliver a message that the hospital wanted to move immediately into formal discussions regarding setting up a Chiropractic facility in their hospital. A concrete proposal was requested of Dr. Durrett to include what would be needed and requested for such a venture. This move by the hospital shed much optimism, as it moved the goals of this project, the establishment of a Chiropractic College and Chiropractic clinics forward by quite a bit.
Day two of the symposium Dr. Taits hosted a luncheon for the delegates and presented a hand-blown carved glass sword filled with cognac. More discussion was held on the expansion of Chiropractic there and champagne was served to toast the optimism shared that collaboration would be worked out in order to help bring Chiropractic to St. Petersburg.
Following the conclusion of the symposium, we were escorted back into the city center to meet with Dr. Youry Petrov, Head of the International Department of the Public Health Committee for the government. It was his department of the government that requested and sponsored the symposium. Dr. Petrov wished to meet with us to get a briefing on how everything went. Here the delegation spoke with him about the success of the symposium and thanked him for his efforts and interest on getting Chiropractic established in his country.
When the delegates were completed with the meetin
g we headed to one of the nicest restaurants in town, Davidoff in the Hotel Astoria, for a celebration dinner to cap off the tremendous success of the symposium and the very bright future for the further expansion of Chiropractic in Russia.
Dr. Durrett presented each delegate with a certificate of appreciation and participation and expressed to each member her gratitude for their volunteering their time and effort to help expand the Chiropractic profession and for making the project such a success.
The next two days were the weekend and brought a little time for sightseeing in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg. Dr. Bethel and wife Elena Bethel, a native Russian and our translator, visited St. Isaac’s Cathedral. We were there during “White Nights” and brought home some compelling photos of that. We also visited the Hermitage national museum, enjoyed the fountains outside of Peterhof Castle. The city architecture is beautiful in St. Petersburg such as the colorful and famous Spilled Blood Cathedral, and there are many green parks throughout the city.
Back to work on Monday brought the last official meeting of the trip. Dr. Taits had requested a final meeting to further discuss the exact terms that we had laid out for our proposal to bring Chiropractic there. Dr. Durrett president of Foundation for Chiropractic Worldwide and Dr. Michel Tetrault, Director of the Chiropractic Diplomatic Corps presented a Memorandum of Understanding which had been crafted to include all the fundamental agreements necessary in order to facilitate moving forward with the expansion project there. All terms were reviewed via our translator and Dr. Taits agreed to each and the document was signed.
In order to show his commitment, Dr. Taits escorted us to a brand new outpatient section of the hospital, clearly the “jewel” of the hospital and offered us any and all of the facility and staff that we needed. He then took us to formal class room spaces, offices, and lecture halls and volunteered full use of whatever facilities were needed in order to establish the Chiropractic educational program. Another building outside the hospital was offered for our use as well.
Overall, this symposium was a great success and a high point in the lives of the participants. The delegates were not necessarily expecting the extraordinary reception and gratitude that was received from all those in attendance at the symposium. “It amazes me how open and reaching people from other parts of the world are towards Chiropractic. I want to make sure that we take advantage of this and establish Chiropractic in this country before the drug industry moves in to the extent that they have in our country and ‘brainwashes’ them to an outside-in health paradigm. That will make our job much harder if we wait. Time is of the essence here,” says Dr. Durrett.
Meanwhile, interest in the art, science and philosophy of chiropractic continues. Today Dr. Durrett is working on recruiting doctors for the Chiropractic Faculty and practitioners interested in practicing there. She is also working on proposals for a possible future symposium on the subject, at the request of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Health and Social Development. Anyone interested in participating in this project in any way as a faculty member or clinician or even submitting a symposium presentation or assisting in any other way should contact Dr. Durrett at [email protected] or via toll-free fax at (866) 831-6755.