Volunteer and Philanthropical Projects
Dr. Summers has devoted much of her life to charitable causes, especially to those that relate to international and national public health. Here are some of the organizations that have become the most important to her over the years.
Founder and Executive Director
HealthShare International started with a search for the Bearded Saki monkey scientifically known as Chiropotes israelita. In 2000, Dyan Summers, was in the sixth year of her personal and ongoing attempt to see as many species of living primates as possible in her lifetime. Dyan contacted Venezuela’s award winning NOLS certified naturalist guide, Arturo Garcia, and contracted with him to create a special tropical rainforest expedition. The expedition, which started in the Caura River Basin of Southern Venezuela, required travel by dugout canoe deep into the jungle. During the expedition, the group stayed overnight at one of the Ye’kwana tribal villages known as Nichare. Dyan and Arturo learned of the struggles that the village health workers of the tribe were facing due to lack of education and resources. They learned of the astonishingly high rates of infant mortality in the tribal communities; calculated to be over 20% at the time and one of the highest in the world. Malaria, Dengue fever, and venomous snakebites were also common. Dyan, Arturo, and the village brother and sister nurse team of Dennis and Aurora Caura made a decision to start a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization with the intent of providing education and material support to the community health workers throughout the Caura River Basin.
Advisory Board Member
Mission: Restore is creating a world in which local surgeons have the knowledge, skills and support they need to treat debilitating injuries in their own communities around the world. Mission: Restore has chosen to travel to places where most doctors would not go, to conduct the type of surgeries that most doctors prefer not to perform. The Foundation is comprised of doctors who volunteer their time and expertise at home and abroad. The overarching goal is to create a sustainable infrastructure where long-term relationships are forged and permanent change is made. When it is too difficult for Mission: Restore volunteer surgeons to travel to war torn countries, we try to help patients in the United States.
Operation Retrieving Freedom
Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs to help people. Their three primary focuses are training dogs to serve the needs of veterans, children with autism and individuals living with diabetes. They breed and train chosen dogs that exhibit specific traits necessary to perform tasks to help these individuals, and they believe in matching the dog to the recipient.