1953: Fresh out of highschool, David Werner made a six-month-long biological expedition to the wilderness areas of western Mexico, including time in the small town of Las Varas helping Dr. Ricardo Sánchez.
1965: David revisits Mexico, travelling throughout the Sierra Madre, making his own connections and planting the seeds of his health projects in the village of Ajoya de San Jerónim. Project Piaxtla begins.
1966: Before the Newsletters, David Werner issued four inspiring Reports from the Sierra Madre: “This is the backstory, the real-time day-to-day journals and reports of what David experienced in the backcountry of Western Mexico, living and working side-by-side with the campesinos.” The original reports were typed up by Polly Polinger and mimeographed by Bob Wallace. In 2019, they were compiled into a richly illustrated book. From the first Report:
It had been my original intention to remain in the village of Ajoya only long enough to arrange for a burro train to transport the medicines to the high country of the Sierra. But Nature has had her surprises waiting for me, and my friends back in Palo Alto have had theirs. The result has been that now, some eight weeks later, I am at last getting my small cavalcade in motion. But perhaps it is better this way, not only have I come to know and love the Pueblo of Ajoya, but by now each little village and rancho along the way has extended its invitation to me, and has offered to transport my cargo to the next. Already many villagers have come for medicines from as far away as Jocuixtita, Verano, and Caballo de Arriba. Wherever I go I know I will be welcome.
1967: The first Newsletter of the Sierra Madre was released. Like the Reports, the early Newsletters were typed up by Poly Polinger, printed on mimeograph by Bob Wallace, and mailed to a small circle of supporters.
The series of journals titled “Reports from the Sierra Madre” terminated with No. 4. However, many subscribers have shown so much interest in my continuing Mexican Project that I would like to keep them informed, if briefly, of my activities in the barrancas since the last Report came out in February.
1976:Newsletter #11 makes a special request for “additional funding for the development of the guide books, work manuals for village health workers and rural health planners which we hope will be the outcome of this project,” which would result in the creation of the Hesperian Foundation.
1987: Molly Bang’s book provisially titled Lupe the Wildcat is previewed in Newsletter #17. (GH)
1988:Issue 19 was the first Newsletter on global health issues, describing the situation in South Africa during Apartheid.
This shift from local to more global concerns reflects our growing awareness of how small the Earth, as a sociopolitical unit, has become. You will recall that in our last newsletter (No. 18) we looked at how the wellbeing of a village family in the Sierra Madre is affected by growing of narcotics. We noted how this, in turn, is linked to international drug traffic, to the huge foreign debt of poor countries, and to the unjust world economic order.
1988: PROJIMO runs the local CONASUPO story (National Company of Popular Subsistance) until 1992. (GH)
1989: Newsletter #20 gives a major update on PROJIMO including:
Story of Marcelo and Luis
Community-based vs. Home-based Rehabilitation
PROJIMO has seen patients from 11 of the 23 states in Mexico
Vistors from many countries
PROJIMO supplies assistive devices to government-sponsored agencies (GH)
1989: Anna Johnson (Pina Palmera) visits PROJIMO for exchange of ideas and programs. (GH)
1989: PROJIMO starts referring patients for plastic surgery to Mazatlan (Liliane pays 60%, DIF 40%) (GH)
1990: Beginning of kidnappings and extortions in Ajoya area. (GH)
PROJIMO has seen over 300 spinal cord injured persons.
First indication of intention to move the program.
UNICEF Mexico purchases PROJIMO wheelchairs for other programs in Mexico. (GH)
1994: Suzanne C. Levine publishes book “Volver a vivir / Return to Life”. (GH)
1994: Marielos comes to PROJIMO. (GH)
1994: Luis Colosio is murdered before the presidential elections. (GH)
1994: “Pan para el Mundo” representatives visit PROJIMO. (GH)
1995: The first HealthWrights website goes up, designed by Jason Weston.
1996: Conflict in PROJIMO: violence of 3 workers against 2 others; and Norma Calacios provides a room at Coyotitan for ‘consultas’. (GH)
1997: New HealthWrights site goes up in March (via archive.org).
1997: First mention of the Politics of Health reading list appears in Newsletter #35, which later becomes a database, as announced in Newsletter #45.
1997: PROJIMO splits off its rehabilitation program to Coyotitán, 40 miles away from Ajoya, as reported in Newsletter #36.
1998: Construction begins at Coyotitán. (GH)
1998: Activites at PROJIMO Ajoya:
Accessible bus ramp constructed
March 3-8, a training seminar was held for ‘mediators’ of Stichting Liliane Fonds (Ndl.) with 60+ participants.
The PROJIMO Skills and Training Work Program begins
“Brot fur die Welt” funding presentation (GH)
1999: PROJIMO permanently splits, with the Skills Training and Work Program stayng in Ajoya, and the wheelchair workshop moving to Coyotitán. Two workshops are built in Coyotitán. (GH)
1999: Rigoberto “Rigo” Delgado comes to PROJIMO Coyotitán. (GH)
1999: Charlotte Beyers' films “Our own Road” about PROJIMO is produced, to be released in 2000. (GH)
1999: Seating conference at Mas Validos in Culiacan. (GH)
2000: Project Piaxtla falls off the masthead as the project is no longer viable in Ajoya due to increasing drug-related violence and social instability.
2000: The Newsletter is available online by request, but continues to be designed for print with multi-column PDFs.
2000: “Our Own Road” documentary is released, and wins awards. (GH)
2000: PROJIMO Coyotitán obtains A.C. status, and obtains assistance from a bookkeeper.
2001: HealthWrights website is redesigned by Efrain Zamora. He did a beautiful, very artistic job—which deserves mention and praise—but this complex site was challenging and time-consuming to manage. This led to the redesign in 2011.
2001: Increasing violence in Ajoya. (GH)
2001: Molly Bang’s book Tiger’s Fall is finally published. (GH)
2001: PROJIMO Coyotitán updates:
Disability-awareness activities in Coyotitán schools
proyecto de coinversión social INDESOL
poster: Pintando el parque
Virginia comes to PROJIMO
From Newsletter #45: A new leg for the professor (GH)
2002: PROJIMO moves its wheelchair workshop to Duranguito, as reported in Newsletter #47.
2002: Ajoya is abandoned just before the May Massacre. (GH)
2007: Rigo starts psychology studies in Culiacan. (GH)
2006: Last mention of the International People’s Health Council (IPHC), in Newsletter #57.
2008: In May, cheif PROJIMO prosthetician Marcelo passes away. He is memorialized in Newsletter #63. (GH)
2008: Lupe Quintero (Nogales, SO) learns wheelchair building at PROJIMO Duranguito. (GH)
2008: Rigo leaves PROJIMO. (GH)
2009: Alberto, Alonso, brothers training under Marcelo before he passed away, leave PROJIMO and return to their ranch where they grew up. (GH)
2009: Online Spanish classes conducted by Rigo. (GH)
2010: The last mention of the Politics of Health website appears in Newsletter #67.
2010: Threats of kidnapping and extortion against Mari Picos' family at Coyotitán. (GH)
2011: Both HealthWrights.org and PoliticsofHealth.org websites are redesigned using Joomla CMS. While it was easier to update, its inability to render well on mobile led HealthWrights to commission an updated site a decade later.
2011: Carlitos and Moises pass away. (GH)
2015: The Newsletter goes web-only, and are longer published in complex PDF format. The contents are also streamlined, tending to focus on single issues and experiences.
2015: The HealthWrights team begins translating English Newsletters into Mexicanized Spanish. This effort is led by Juan Ignacio Gómez Iruretagoyena, with revisions by Dolores Mesina and Adrián Martínez Lomovskoi. [Editor: This is incorrect, but I have no good information. A better guess might be 2002.]
2018-2021: HealthWrights begins the work of adapting the Newsletters and other content to a mobile-friendly format for our globably inter-connected age, first via a Wordpress page (healthwrights.wordpress.com), then within an entirely new web framework, (Hugo), available at healthwrights.org.