One Year. One Boat. One Doctor with a Mission to Change the World.
Floating Doctors is the world’s first globally-mobile, self-contained medical aid and research team traveling by boat. The team will embark on a 12-month medical relief voyage aboard a sailing vessel to various remote locations, arranging 10-day clinics onshore to treat local citizens. Floating Doctors is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, in which all donations are 100% tax deductible. Please visit www.floatingdoctors.com for more information.
Led by Dr. Ben LaBrot (33), a doctor and marine biologist hailing from California, Floating Doctors consists of a team of dedicated volunteer sailors, medical professionals and support staff, including Dr. Ben’s sister, Sky LaBrot (27). The team will travel to more than 15 countries along the coast of Central America and throughout the Eastern Pacific including Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Micronesia and Tonga to provide modern healthcare to those in need.
“Floating Doctors is about more than providing short-term relief; it’s about using advanced medicine and health education to create long-lasting health benefits in areas where the sea, the land, and even politics have prevented sustainable care from being delivered in the past,” said Dr. Ben.
Floating Doctors’ mission is simple – with the capabilities of their vessel and support from major sponsors such as Direct Relief International, Abbott and MEDA – the organization plans to make a lasting impact on healthcare in remote third-world countries along their 20,000 mile route. At each destination, the crew will deploy their mobile tented clinic to provide free medical treatment and preventative health education to families in developing communities. Throughout their journey to treat more than 15,000 patients, the Floating Doctors crew will be joined by visiting physicians and medical students who share the same passion and desire to help those in need.
“I do not want to have to treat a couple hundred people and then have to go. I want to treat thousands and thousands of people – and, better than that, I want to be able to provide the people we treat with the capabilities to carry on what they’ve learned so they can continue to help others after we leave,” said Dr. Ben.
Floating Doctors is also eco-friendly, focused on making a difference with maximum benefit and minimal environmental impact. By sailing to their destinations and using solar and wind power, Floating Doctors will be entirely self-sufficient, and will be able to conduct their travels while leaving a minimal carbon footprint.
As the project grew, so has their sailing vessel. The team, which originally planned to travel aboard a 45-foot boat, is now using The Southern Wind, a heavily modified 76-foot sailboat. The boat, which will carry more than 20,000 pounds of medical supplies and up to 20 crew members, will also house and transport the crew, and has the capability to serve as a mobile high-tech medical facility. Among other state-of-the-art instruments and resources, the team will utilize on-line video conferencing throughout their journey to utilize advice and diagnoses from specialist physicians around the world.
In addition to providing medical care and education, Dr. Ben and his team will gather data to create a global health study based on the World Health Organization’s 2000 World Health Survey. The crew will generate a 2010 report on the progress that has been made in improving world health, the effectiveness of current strategies and the challenges that remain.
While embarking on their life changing journey, Dr. Ben and his team will be documenting their travels – so they can share what they’ve done with the world and help expand Floating Doctors’ mission, one boat at a time.