When Dr. Radhule (Rad-u-lay) Weininger leaves for Dharamsala, India, on June 7, with her 16-year-old son, Ben, she will be lugging huge suitcases filled with laptop computers and an EKG machine destined for the Tibetan Delek Hospital nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. This is Weininger’s third trip to the hospital in as many years, and she has hand-carried desperately needed medical equipment to the facility each time, ensuring that the supplies don’t get waylaid by governmental bureaucratic policies. Last summer she brought five teenagers — like a little band of Sherpas — to deliver IV stands, auroscopes, backpacks full of computers donated by families of Cold Spring School, and medicines supplied by Direct Relief.
Weininger, a well-known and much-loved meditation teacher and therapist in Santa Barbara, studied medicine in her native Germany before moving to the United States, where she earned her doctorate in clinical psychology. Under the tutelage of her mentors, Jack Kornfield and Alan Wallace, both world-renowned Buddhist scholars, she began to incorporate mindfulness meditation and Buddhist psychology into her therapeutic practices; among her many gifts to the community are the free weekly meditation groups she conducts, including one at the S.B. Cancer Center. Her followers are many and diverse, ranging from physicians to addicts, experienced meditators to novices alike.
In 2011, Weininger brought her then 14-year-old son to experience firsthand the travails of the Tibetan refugees. Through a colleague of Wallace’s, she met Dr. Tsetan Sadutshang, the chief medical officer of Delek Hospital and a personal physician of the Dalai Lama, and thus began her connection with the organization known as Friends of Tibetan Delek Hospital.
Founded in 1971, the Delek Hospital, under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is a 45-bed charitable hospital and health-care facility that serves the Tibetan community in exile, area Indian residents, and some of the many travelers in the area. Tuberculosis is rampant among the refugees, and the hospital specializes in this serious infectious disease, along with general medicine and maternal and child health-care programs. The hospital was built and funded through international donations, and the patient fees are outstandingly low — doctor visits are 10 rupees (19 cents), daily inpatient charges are 50 rupees (about 95 cents), and no one is turned away regardless of their ability to pay.
According to Sadutshang, the hospital is in dire need of equipment, supplies, and the services of volunteer physicians. Dr. Tom Lambert, a retired physician from Thousand Oaks, and his wife, Catherine, a nurse practitioner, have been volunteering at Delek Hospital for several years now, doing stints of two months at a time. Lambert has been invaluable with his time and generous with his donations, and he has offered to pay half the cost of the EKG machine that Weininger and her son are bringing this year. The rest of the cost — approximately $2,000 — has to be raised by donations.
Weininger is hoping the Santa Barbara community will support her in her endeavors on behalf of the hospital in terms of donations and expertise.
To donate and/or volunteer, contact Dr. Radhule Weininger via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (805) 455-6205.