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Aerial photo of the Okavango Delta
02
Feb

The Origins of the First World Spine Care Clinic

February 2nd is #WorldWetlandsDay.

According to WorldWetlands.org, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is perhaps the most famous wetland, “flooding an area the size of Belgium, providing a home for 200,000 large mammals and 400 bird species during that region’s parched winter season.” It has served as the cinematic backdrop for movies as well as the sprawling landscape captured by photographers. Yann Arthus-Bertrand included it in his book Earth From Above: 366 Days, which was given to Dr. Outerbridge as a birthday gift a few years before he got involved with World Spine Care.

Aerial photo of the Okavango Delta in Botswana
Image by Freek Van Ootegem from Pixabay

Perusing the pages, Geoff found the photo for his birthday was of the Okavango Delta, complete with latitude and longitude in Botswana. Curious, he flipped to the page for his wife, Sophie’s, birthday. It was a second photo of the Okavango Delta.

That’s a little too strange. Maybe there’s something in Botswana for us.

Geoff recalls, “So imagine, somebody makes a book 366 Days from Above. They get pictures from all over the world, thousands of pictures. They narrow it down to three hundred and sixty-six. They randomly assigned them to every day of the year. What are the chances of them being on Sophie’s and my birthday? Like millions to one.”

Geoff and his wife looked at each other at the time and thought, “That’s a little too strange. Maybe there’s something in Botswana for us.” They went on with their lives with Geoff practicing in his thriving chiropractic clinic.

A few years later, Simon Dagenais visited with Geoff to catch up on their friendship. He explained that he had been working on a new project with Scott Haldeman called World Spine Care. They needed clinicians to provide primary spine care in rural villages. Intrigued, Geoff expressed interest but said he would need to talk with Sophie about it. Simon said he would talk to Scott, as well.

Just before Simon left, Geoff asked him where they were thinking about setting up the first clinic. When he said Botswana, Geoff started laughing and said, “Simon, this is going to work!”

Geoff flew to meet Simon and Scott at the NASS Conference. Scott shook Geoff’s hand and said, “Great to meet you. Let’s go get to work.”


World Spine Care established our pilot project in the village of Shoshong, Botswana in November 2011. We now operate 5 clinics in 3 countries, most of which have temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our work and how to get involved.

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