miraclefeet co-founder Bridget with the managing director of CURE International India Trust
We often share stories and updates about the incredible children, parents, nurses and doctors we have met across the world. And we’ve even introduced you to several members of our office. But who is at work behind-the-scenes, actively setting a meaningful course for the future of clubfoot treatment?
Meet the men and women behind miraclefeet’s Board of Directors.
Twelve years ago, Roger Berman and Bridget Ryan Berman were worried when their son was born with clubfoot. Like many in the United States and around the world, they weren’t familiar with the Ponseti Method, at the time not widely known or practiced.
Fortunately, the Bermans quickly learned of the non-surgical Ponseti Method, pioneered by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti of the University of Iowa. With the careful attention of his doctor Joshua Hyman, newly trained in the Ponseti Method, the Berman’s infant son was successfully treated for clubfoot. Today, he walks, runs, plays multiple sports and is a healthy, active twelve-year old boy.
Roger and Bridget felt lucky that their child had access to safe, affordable and very effective treatment, and they asked themselves—why shouldn’t every child have access to the Ponseti Method? And their doctor Dr. Hyman wondered the same thing.
So together Roger, a veteran of the textile and manufacturing industries and current supply chain consultant for U.S. and Chinese retail companies; Bridget, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Direct; Josh Hyman, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and Dr. Jose Morcuende, orthopedic surgeon and leading clubfoot expert from the University of Iowa, created miraclefeet. They were joined by Rodger Raderman, whose daughter was also successfully treated with the Ponseti Method. Rodger remains an advisor to the organization.
miraclefeet Co-founder Richard visiting the Wadia clinic in India
As miraclefeet has grown, so has the Board of Directors.
Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld, who learned of the Ponseti Method while working at the Univeristy of Iowa, home of Dr. Ponseti, had also become interested in the issue of increasing access to treatment in developing countries. She connected with the group just as the miraclefeet plan was hatched and helped develop the implementation strategy. Chesca joined the Board when she became the miraclefeet Executive Director in 2011. Jennifer Tye, who lives in San Francisco and serves as the Associate Director of Genentech
miraclefeet wouldn’t be the same without its amazing interns. It’s time you get to know them!
Joss Warren, Intern, Indian Programs: University of North Carolina
Career Goal: I want to become a doctor and hopefully work overseas in some kind of medical and public health capacity.
Best part about interning with miraclefeet: My favorite part of interning with miraclefeet is how challenging the work is. I am constantly given tasks that are outside of my comfort zone and help to increase my range of abilities within the workplace. I am also learning a lot about what it takes to effectively manage a non profit organization, which is something that is relevant to my hopeful career path.
What’s Next: After college I am hoping to go to medical school and pursue a graduate degree in public health.
Mary Charles Hale, Intern, Social Media: North Carolina State University
Career Goal: In the most general answer possible, I hope to have a career that makes me happy and has a positive impact on the world. I love to write, I love to travel, and I love to laugh, so a career that combined all three would be great! I would be head over heels to end up in an organization like miraclefeet. Either that or become stage manager of Good Morning America.
Best part about interning with miraclefeet: I have two favorite parts—I couldn’t pick just one! First, the people. Chesca, Lauren and Leslie have all been so welcoming and are a really fun, caring and committed group of people to work with. The stories I have heard and the children I have learned about since interning with miraclefeet are the other best part. miraclefeet is doing incredible work around the world and getting to share stories like Jorgito’s and Melvin’s and Marli’s is a special job.
What’s Next: This year I plan on playing a lot of trivia, watching the Wolfpack win an NCAA Basketball Championship and finishing my senior year as an English major at NC State University.
Taylor Craig, Intern, Research and Outcomes: North Carolina State University
Career Goal: To work for an organization that promotes global health care and addresses health care needs around the world.
Best part about interning for miraclefeet: Being a part of a passionate team of professionals that work to improve the lives and create positive outcomes for families in low-income countries.
Whats next: Continue to raise awareness of the importance of health care around the world, continue to gain experience through internships and traveling before going onto graduate school for a Masters in Public Health.
A recently published article shed light about girls in Maharashtra State in India being named Nakushi, which means “unwanted” in a local language, Marathi. A district health officer said “So strong is the desire for a male child that these girls are called Nakushi, without any proper naming ceremony.”
For girls with clubfoot born into these situations, their futures can be grim. Many of the 222 girls named Nakushi in Maharashtra were born into poor families. For poor families, paying for clubfoot treatment is impossible. If left untreated, clubfoot can prevent children from walking and thus, going to school. They risk living their lives in shame and humiliation.
miraclefeet has launched a new clubfoot initiative in Maharashtra State India. miraclefeet targeted Maharashtra due to the very large population living in Mumbai as well the other major cities, and the very limited availability of proper clubfoot treatment in public hospitals. miraclefeet is working in Maharashtra through a joint venture with CURE International India Trust. The goal in Maharashtra is to initially establish clubfoot clinics in 7 public hospitals (or hospitals serving low income populations for free) with the expectation that over 250 children will be enrolled in the first 6 months.
To learn more about our program in Maharasthra, our other programs around the world, and how to help, visit our website.
Did you know that July is Make a Difference to a Child Month? Did you further know that miraclefeet believes that every month should be dedicated to enriching the lives of children? That’s why we work hard to ensure children in developing nations such as Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua and India can walk normally and treat clubfoot with a non-invasive procedure using the Ponseti Method.
We have numerous stories about children who can now walk, run and play with their friends without the shame and stigma attached to clubfoot. A lot of these inspirational stories can be found on our website and we’d love to add more with your help. So how can you make a difference? Easy!
By giving to our Summer of Miracles Challenge you can help give the gift of walking to a child forever. You merely go online to our secure form and fill out the necessary information and hit send. It’s that easy. The money will be used to provide treatment to children, buy plaster and supplies for casting or for leg braces.
You can help children like Alino, Alan or Deborah who have already benefited from miraclefeet and its team of international doctors. Help make a difference in the life of a child this month and donate to miraclefeet today!
On miraclefeet’s recent trip to Mumbai, India we had the opportunity to work alongside CURE in providing a Ponseti Method training course to orthopedic surgeons and medical residents. Ninety-five medical professionals attended the one day training course where they casted at least one foot model and in most cases an actual child with clubfoot. There were six stations with 15 participants and one trainer who ensured that active participation by everyone took place. There was also a live demonstration of a percutaneous tenotomy via webcam, which further helped attendees learn about clubfoot and treatment procedures using the Ponseti Method.
All participants underwent a pre-training test and post-training self-assessment and 60 of the 95 medical professionals returned evaluation forms. Here are some great statistics from survey respondents who attended this VERY important training session in Mumbai:
Pictured above: Dr. Mathew Varghese, Head of Orthopedics, St. Stephen’s Hospital, Delhi, demonstrates the correct Ponseti Method casting technique to attending doctors and residents
Last week in India was filled with extraordinary extremes. We started at Lady Hardinge Hospital in Delhi, where Cure Clubfoot Worldwide (CCW), has created what they believe to be the biggest clubfoot clinic in the world with more than 700 children enrolled since its inception two years ago. All counselors were there when we arrived, getting ready to receive the 50 patients they expected that day. The hospital recently added a second clubfoot day due to numbers, and had seen more than 75 children the day before.
From there we went to the ultra-modern Delhi airport and were immediately transported into a world of air conditioning and global brands. The contrast serves to illustrate the extremely different worlds that exist within India; a country of rapid economic growth and opportunity, yet home to 49% of the world’s malnourished children (according to an article published in the Times of India three days ago).
Upon landing in Mumbai, we went straight to one of the five hospitals that will house miraclefeet/CCW clubfoot clinics. Passing decrepit apartment blocks and large areas of slum housing, and with people, rickshaws and wooden carts competing for space on the crowded streets, it was immediately clear that this vast city teems with humanity and poverty.
The All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation treats complex orthopedic cases from many states and is one of two public hospitals in Mumbai that has been using the Ponseti Method for several years. Despite this, it was probably the most run down hospital we have visited so far in India. A number of successfully treated children had been lined up for us to inspect as part of our official visit, but there were also signs that others have not been so lucky, ending up with early surgeries or relapses.
The hospital is clearly a great candidate for outside support. Many of the necessary building blocks are in place, including a supportive Director and a number of trained Ponseti doctors. However, some simple changes in process, plus the addition of counselors, will allow the doctors and residents to improve their outcomes, follow up and tracking capacity dramatically. Over time, this hospital will be able to make an even bigger dent in the problem of untreated clubfoot in India’s biggest city.
Maharashtra State (population 100M), with Mumbai as its capital, is estimated to have 1,500 new cases of clubfoot each year and approximately 10,000 neglected cases (aged 10 and under). There is a lot of work to be done to alleviate the misery of untreated clubfoot here, but the Delhi clinics that we visited give us confidence that it will be possible.