AMP supports the Yanamono Medical Clinic in the remote
Amazon basin of northeastern Peru by providing primary care, involving
locally trained people and encouraging preventative medicine. The clinic
was founded in 1990 by Dr. Linnea J. Smith, M.D.
In 1990, Linnea J. Smith, M.D., gave up her Wisconsin medical practice
to provide medical services to the indigenous people of the Peruvian
Amazon. Initially she operated out of a small thatched-roof room without
electricity, running water, staff, funding, or lab services. After hearing
a radio interview featuring Dr. Smith, volunteers from Duluth, Minnesota,
Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Iquitos, Peru Rotary Clubs in 1993 built a
river-side clinic complete with well, solar panels, a hammock house for
patients’ families, and adjacent quarters for clinic staff. The
land on which this clinic was constructed was gradually eroded by the
Amazon River, and the clinic was rebuilt on a nearby stream in early
2009. Explorama Lodge, a nearby eco-tourism center, provides Dr. Smith
with meals and river transportation.
In 1996, the Amazon Medical Project was established as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit
corporation. Board members include: Rick Koeck, JD (President), Ron Thorstad (Vice President), Lee Swanson (Treasurer), Tom Sullivan, MD (Secretary),
David Aslakson, Jerry Goth, Kim Stokes (Administrator of the Amazon Medical Project),
and Linnea Smith, MD (Medical Director of the Yanamono Clinic).
Health Care Services
Until Dr. Smith's arrival, the local people had no access to health care.
Today the clinic treats 2000-2500 patients a year, most arriving by dugout
canoe or on foot. Services include family planning, prenatal care and birthing,
dental care, treatment of snakebite, cholera, parasites, and malaria,
care of trauma, and treatment of a multitude of infectious diseases.
Dr. Smith serves as the clinic’s medical director. She
is a 1984 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School
and is Board-certified in Internal Medicine. She practiced in Prairie
du Sac, Wisconsin, from 1987 – 1990, when she moved to Peru.
In 1997 Dr. Smith was named a Fellow of the American College of Physicians
(ACP) in recognition of her exceptional dedication and service; in
1990 she received the Rosenthal Award from the ACP for the delivery
of innovative medical services; in 2005 she was named Citizen Physician
of the Year by the Wisconsin State Medical Society; and in 2008 was
named a Distinguished Alumna by the University of Wisconsin Alumni
Association. Clinic staff consists of a local resident, Edemita, whom
she trained and who serves as clinic manager, three local men who tend
to maintenance and caretaking, and often, a physician and nurse from
the nearby city of Iquitos. Interim staffing has also included Peruvian
students, and visiting physicians and dentists from the U.S. and other
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