Our Story

Walking Palms was founded in 2016, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador. The organization is located in the quaint beach town of Bahía de Caráquez, which was deeply affected by this disaster. Walking Palms arose in the interest of bringing down doctors, nurses, and volunteers from around the world to form medical brigades that would provided relief to over  6,000 patients affected by the 2016 earthquake. In doing this work the organization realized recovery efforts needed to be implemented to create sustainable community development.


Today, our organization is composed of three intertwining parts, education, research, and medicine. We are a global health organization that uses Systems Thinking to help our communities recover.  As an interdisciplinary team, we aim to promote and offer holistic, preventative healthcare and education to those affected by the 2016 earthquake. All of our work is community driven and based on data-backed research.

Mission

To connect and empower local communities promoting disaster recovery using education, research and medicine.

Vision

We share a vision in which health care is affordable and preventative care is a lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle—one in which we can afford to take the time to invest in ourselves so that we have the energy to heal and serve where our skills may be needed. With a deep connection to our work and purpose, we can learn practical and theoretical applications toward ongoing global health disaster recovery. We believe that through an interdisciplinary approach to health care, we can help even the most vulnerable populations to overcome destruction and build an even healthier community.

 
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Ambitious science education

Mosquitos Y Yo is an educational program aimed at empowering local youth through science in order to reduce mosquito borne illness in vulnerable communities. Students will question and pursue their own scientific curiosities. Participants learn the connection between mosquito ecology, climate, and disease transmission. Then students will have the opportunity to work with community health workers to monitor mosquito prevalence in their own homes.

 

Vector Borne Diseases

Prevention and Surveillance

Collect long term datasets in post-disaster scenarios addressing climate, stress and public health crisis  in relation to Aedes aegypti borne disease transmission (Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses). These findings will increase our understanding of abundance and distribution of vectors following natural disasters which may amplify human arbovirus infection risk. Our aim is to help reduce the risk of infectious diseases in vulnerable communities.

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Women’s Health

Women’s health and wellness educational empowerment program for emotional and physical abuse victims as well as those highest at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infectious diseases. We aim to provide information and protect patient confidentiality in a safe, supportive environment. We will track data long-term in order to better understand the public health sector and continue to look for gaps for areas of improvement.

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Nutrition and Chronic Disease Program

Our chronic disease screenings help in identifying pre-diabetic and pre-hypertensive individuals. After thoroughly evaluating our patients and only after fully understanding their lifestyles, we prioritize to lower blood pressure and sugar levels as these untreated can further compromise and complicate health. We then create personalized health plans providing information in nutrition & exercise. Included in this program are medicinal community gardens to increase patient access to healthy options.

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Alternative Therapies Mental Health Program

Sharing a vision with Hope Music Ecuador and alongside with Canadian based NGO Peace in Mind, we developed a mental health program for those afflicted with trauma. Launching a music and art therapy program which aims to create a safe space for youth to learn from music all while providing them tools to internalize and express their emotions in a positive healthy way.

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Medical Brigades

Provide quality health care to at-risk communities with minimal access to health care, low-income families, and victims of natural disaster events. We provide care and screenings for hypertension and diabetes and medicine to those in need. Highly trained doctors and amazing students seeking a career in the health or research field volunteer with us from all over the world.

 
 

“A systems approach to community health”

Avriel Diaz  |  Co-Founder

Our Name

Our name originates from the Walking Palm tree, Socratea exorrhiza, indigenous to the rainforests of Central and South America. This tree is capable of moving 20 centimeters per year, extending and growing their roots into a new direction, leaving behind old roots to decompose. Roots left behind enrich the surrounding soils where the tree is constantly moving toward directions of light. Our organization strives to set our roots, enrich the lives of those we are able to touch and always strive to reach new positive light.

 
 

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