On February 25, 2015, BBP hosted a reception overlooking Boston harbor at the offices of Nutter, McClennen & Fish to honor Dr. Cynthia Maung, founder and director of the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand and to recognize 16 years of partnership and collaboration. Dr. Cynthia’s visit to Boston was the first stop on a multi city visit to the USA. She was invited to speak at Harvard University’s Asia Center panel on health and human rights in Burma.
Dr. Cynthia established Mae Tao Clinic in 1989 at the Thai-Burma border after fleeing Burma as a young physician activist when the military seized power in 1988. Since starting the clinic in a dilapidated old house, her clinic has grown into a comprehensive health care facility with a staff of 700 and provides a wide range of medical services, social services, health education, training and more. The total caseload exceeds 150,000 annually, 400-500 people arrive each day. Last year, over 3500 babies were delivered there. The clinic trains health assistants and community health workers from throughout Burma in topics ranging from maternal and child health, infectious diseases, and dental care to prosthetics for amputees. Dr. Cynthia’s accomplishments have earned her more than 20 international human rights awards and in 2005, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
BBP’s collaboration with Dr. Cynthia began in 1998 when Michael Forhan and other founding board members made their first trip to the Burma border. The partnership has focused on mental health, psychosocial well-being and child protection. BBP began by training Mae Tao clinic health care providers known as “medics” in mental health evaluation and counseling for war trauma related problems. Then, in 2006, BBP established a full time presence in Mae Sot, built the first counseling center, raised funds for construction of the Children’s Recreation Center, and extended our collaboration and training to multiple community based organizations in Mae Sot and along the border.