Christiane Mauro has joined GHF on many medical outreach trips — and she always goes above and beyond to provide incredible treatments to her patients, especially women with complicated women’s health issues. Treating with excellence, efficiency, and boundless energy, Christiane has become a fundamental part of the GHF team. We are so glad to have her! Read all about Christiane’s story with Global Healthworks Foundation below.
Christiane Mauro’s Ability to Communicate and Connect with Patients in Any Language
Christiane Mauro sits next to a young woman lying on her treatment table, gesturing toward Sara Aguilar, her interpreter for the afternoon. “Can you ask what the birth of her baby was like?” she asks. “Were there any complications?” Sara translates, and the woman nods and responds briefly in Spanish. “She said she had una cesárea, and there was a lot of blood,” Sara tells Christiane. “A C-section?” Christiane asks, pointing to her stomach. “Sí,” Sara responds. Christiane begins to lift the young woman’s shirt to examine her scar. “¿Está bien? (Is it okay?)” she asks before continuing. The woman nods again. After studying her stomach for a few minutes, Christiane stands to retrieve her container of needles. She begins to leave, then reconsiders. Pausing for a brief moment, she turns back to the woman, looks directly in her eyes, and smiles softly, conveying a sense of concern and understanding. Exhaling slowing, the woman returns her gaze and smile, slowly relaxing a bit more deeply on the table.
“This is one of the best parts of treating people in Guatemala,” Christiane says. “Establishing an emotional connection and communicating with people even when you don’t speak the language. For me, that’s especially important with women. I definitely need the help of translators, but there’s a way to communicate non-verbally. It’s a smile and a welling up of tears, or a hug or a squeeze. We forget that we can communicate emotions with eye contact, facial expressions, and hand gestures. Those things translate.”
Beyond translating, “those things” allow Christiane to treat women—and men—with a profound level of care and compassion, regardless of language or cultural differences. “In my regular practice in New York, I’m able to have in-depth conversations with people,” she says. “But when we talk so much, sometimes we forget to just look at each other, touch, and connect on a real human being level. We do that more in Guatemala.” With over ten years working as an acupuncturist specializing in women’s health—and another eleven as a doula—Christiane has developed what Dan Wunderlich, Founder and Executive Director of Global Healthworks Foundation (GHF), says is a “keen ability to comprehensively address female health concerns. We count on her when we have a patient presenting complicated women’s health issues—from infertility, post-delivery weakness, emotional stress, and problems with menstruation.”
Many of those issues, Christiane explains, relate directly to the nature of childbirth in Guatemala, which, she says, “can be extremely traumatic. The C-sections are often really roughly done. So, it’s taxing for the women here; there’s a lot of memory from trauma. I want to know how the birth affected the rest of their bodies and how it relates to their complaints: pain, weird occurrences with their reproductive system, and digestive and muscular issues.”
In addition to the thorough nature in which she investigates patients’ health, Dan notes, “Christiane is also incredibly resourceful.” After noticing recurrent issues among several female patients during her first GHF jornada (medical mission), Christiane adapted a recipe for a nourishing bone soup as well as a list of reasons why drinking water is so important. The team now uses the information at GHF’s weekly mobile clinics throughout Quiché, the foundation’s Guatemalan home base. “She’s very generous with her time and talents,” Dan says. “She always goes above and beyond what’s asked of her.”
Adds Bernadette Martin, fellow GHF volunteer and long-time friend, “Christiane is one of the most giving people I know. What she does come straight from the heart. She’s kind and compassionate and a very heart-centered person, but also someone with a strong mind. That’s a quality you don’t find too often in people.”
In addition to appreciating her heart and mind connection, friends also marvel at Christiane’s ability to balance treatment quantity with quality. “She’s like Wonder Woman in turning people over,” says Julie Stern, an acupuncturist who has volunteered with Christiane in Guatemala for two years. “Watching her work, I’m always amazed. I always ask, ‘How many people have you treated by yourself? Holy cow! You’re incredible!’ You can throw anything at her and she’ll do a great job.”
“I guess I have a knack for honing in on things and asking the right questions,” Christiane says of her expediency. “I try to make people feel comfortable quickly, so I can get the information I need to treat.” And, she adds, laughing, “I suppose it also helps that I worked in the service industry and used to manage a busy restaurant. I had to get people in and out, but make sure they enjoyed their experience. I guess I have that expediting, efficient nature in general. It’s kind of stuck.”
Treating with excellence, efficiency, and boundless energy, Christiane has become a fundamental part of the GHF team—and for good reason. “She’s a brilliant healer,” Bernadette says. “She gives one hundred and ten percent to her New York clients and one hundred and ten percent to her Guatemalan patients. To put it simply, she walks ‘the talk.’”
Regardless of the language of that “talk”—and regardless of the location in which she is working—Christiane finds a way to communicate, connect, and validate the experiences of each of her patients, treating their conditions with an exceptional level of both passion and precision.