In the United States, most people would be upset if they had to drive 200 miles for medical care.

In Ghana, a country in Africa where longtime Casa Grande doctor Doug Parkin has gone on Christian mission trips to provide free or almost-free medical care, a man walked 200 miles, from the neighboring country of Togo, for days with a separated shoulder.

The man kept telling Parkin something in French that translated to “gonna die.” Parkin said “viva,” the only appropriate French word he could remember. After Parkin popped the man’s shoulder into place, he gave him three granola bars, two bottles of water and a little bit of money for the long walk home. “He was immensely grateful,” Parkin said.

In addition to Ghana, Parkin has spent time serving in the deep jungle of Papua New Guinea.

“They live in tree houses or houses on stilts, something like Swiss Family Robinson,” Parkin said. “It’s like 1,000 years ago.”

Parkin’s extraordinary story is one of several in the Winter 2017 issue of Pinal Ways magazine, whose theme is mind, body and golf. The magazine features a collection of stories related to health, wellness and golf, with a focus on interesting people and events in Pinal County.

Max Chartrand told his story of overcoming deafness to play in symphony orchestras, earn advanced college degrees, write books and speak on medical research topics around the world. Find out why the behavioral medicine Ph.D. chose to move to Casa Grande six years ago and read about his indictment of the current state of health care in the United States.

Sun Life Family Health Center’s Travis Robinette talked about his rise to agency CEO after graduating from college later in life. He also told us how the biggest primary health care provider in Pinal County keeps getting bigger under his leadership.

Many Americans — more than 30 percent of adults and about 12 percent of children, according to the U.S. government — use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine. Along that line, the magazine visited a group of Maricopa residents who achieve better mental health through the practice of meditation. The magazine also spoke to two county acupuncturists about the counter-intuitiveness of sticking needles into the skin to relieve pain.

Community Partners Integrated Healthcare officials shared what sparked its expansion from offering only behavioral counseling services to becoming a full-fledged health services organization.

The magazine contains a golf guide, a listing of every course in the county. To lead into that, the magazine takes a look at the long, storied history of Francisco Grande. The complex served as a major league baseball spring training site from 1961-84. Until the course was renovated in 2003, it was the longest in Arizona at 7,545 yards.

Pick up a copy of Pinal Ways at your local newsstand or at the Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. office at 200 W. Second St. in downtown Casa Grande. To subscribe, call 520-423-8685 or come to the office.

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