World Spine Care Clinical Supervisor, Dr. Alan Bertolero Shares His Experience
Dr. Alan Bertolero was the Clinical Supervisor at World Spine Care’s clinic in Moca, Dominican Republic in 2019. He found that the experience transformed his career, providing invaluable patient experience and learning opportunities. Read on to learn more.
WSC: Thanks for sitting down with us today. We’d love to hear about your current role, and how you got to where you are!
AB: It’s a pleasure to share my experiences with you, and others who may be interested in volunteering.Just a few weeks after returning from the Dominican Republic, I started working at Cornerstone Community Chiropractic in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. We have two office locations in Oahu. I am blessed, the office I work in is exceptional. I work with an amazing team of four chiropractors, who make work not feel like work.
We do something called You’re the Best (YTB), where throughout the day when someone does something helpful or positive, we write it down to be read the next day during the morning huddle. For example, “YTB front desk crew for handling patient flow smoothly today!”
“Uplifting” is the perfect word to describe Cornerstone!
WSC: That’s wonderful! Sounds like a dream job! How did your experience volunteering for WSC help prepare you for your current position?
AB: My time at World Spine Care was truly transformational. I learned how to work with political leaders and other senior leaders in the Dominican Republic, and that really was a valuable experience. I remember the first meeting we had with the Senator I was so nervous, especially since I didn’t really know what people were saying due to the translations. Out of necessity I quickly gained more confidence and got better at my communication skills in those types of situations. Also, my Spanish improved dramatically. People can spend all kinds of money on languages programs, but working right there, you receive the wonderful side effect of learning a new language. The World Spine Care clinic – and our clinicians, are very well respected in the Moca area so it showed that what we are doing is very needed and is benefitting people greatly.
WSC: What was the most memorable/important thing you learned from your experience volunteering for World Spine Care?
AB: I played with one of the local professional basketball teams for a couple months, so I thought it was pretty cool when I was shooting some hoops at the park one day and a kid came up to me like I was a celebrity.
WSC: How did the WSC Volunteer experience line up with your expectations?
AB: I thought it was going to be mostly clinical work, but many of the challenges were outside of the clinical setting. Through my role at World Spine Care, I learned a lot. I was exposed to much more business development, the research process, as well as learning how to deal with unexpected challenges which became the norm.
WSC: Do you have any advice for anyone considering volunteering for the WSC DR clinic?
AB: If you are thinking “maybe this isn’t the right time to go,” or “I have too much student debt,” just realize that if you are waiting for the perfect time to go, then you will be waiting your entire life. You can always think of some reason for you not to do this but taking the leap of faith and joining an amazing organization like World Spine Care will give you an experience that far outweighs any issues you may encounter.
WSC: What advice would you give someone coming to volunteer?
AB: Try things! There is so much opportunity in the Dominican Republic that if you want to work in the hospital, organize an event, set up a program, it really is just a matter of putting in the effort to make it happen. Also, be patient! Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area where life is very fast paced, it took some time getting used to the slower paced lifestyle. There are going to be frustrating delays which may drive you crazy, but be persistent and things will happen in time.