Thomas A. Dooley Foundation-Intermed-USA, Inc.
Last updated: December 31, 1988
Published by the International Relations Center / Interhemispheric Resource Center.
Thomas A. Dooley Foundation-Intermed-USA, Inc.
Background: Dr. Thomas A. Dooley III was "the famous jungle doctor of Laos," a Navy doctor who operated medical clinics near the Chinese border in the 1950s. (3) In 1958, he founded MEDICO and established17 medical programs in 14 countries with a statement of purpose which included the words: "We are in no way a religious or political organization."(9) As he gave medical care to Laotian refugees within five miles of the Chinese border, he also collected intelligence, gave reports on people's movements to the CIA, as well as provided cover for Special Forces medics who were posing as civilian doctors. (3) The private nonprofit organization World Medical Relief (WMR) became a steady supplier of Dooley's clinics during this time. (3) According to the Pentagon Papers, Dooley's activities were part of a CIA effort designed to increase U.S. military presence in the area. Dooley distributed books about his Vietnam experiences to raise U.S. public support for his clinics. The fundraising campaigns described in his books were conducted by individuals and groups associated with the CIA and the U.S. Agency for International Development. (3) During this period, the Air Forces' Air Commandos Wing, under Brig. Gen. Harry C."Heinie" Aderholt, began working with WMR in the same border area. Aderholt, who is also an editor for Soldier of Fortune magazine, later founded the private medical relief organization Air Commando Association (ACA). (3) In 1961, Tom Dooley died of cancer at age 34. President Kennedy presented Dooley's mother a Special Congressional Medal of Honor, saying,"Dr. Dooley typified the best of our country."(9) Dooley's friend, Dr. Verne Chaney, founded The Thomas A. Dooley Foundation in 1961 as "a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-government, non-political private voluntary organization… dedicated to the memory of Dr. Tom Dooley and his pioneering works."(9) In 1976, INTERMED, Inc. was founded in Geneva Switzerland as "a non-political, non-profit health association."(9) The joint group in the United States is known as The Thomas A. Dooley Foundation-Intermed-USA, Inc. Fundraising in the United States is carried out by the Dooley Foundation, and all projects outside the country are managed by INTERMED, Inc. (9) The organization has concentrated its efforts on areas of conflict, including Southeast Asia and Central America, and, twenty-five years after it was founded, DooleyIntermed still collaborates with World Medical Relief and the Air Commando Association.
Funding: The Dooley Foundation's l985 budget showed revenues and support of $878,267 from the following Sources:
AID Freight-$55,055; Donated Supplies & Equipment (Private)–$191,420; Private Contributions–$603,763; and Private Revenue-$28,029. (6)
Activities: According to the organization's literature,"Following his untimely death from cancer in 1961, The Thomas A. Dooley Foundation was founded and continued his medical programs for the Laotian people until December 1975, when there was a change in government."(8) Dr. Verne Chaney, a military surgeon in Korea and "a surgical consultant in 1960 to Tom Dooley's programs in Cambodia and Viet-Nam," is the founder of Dooley Foundation and has been its president for over 25 years. (7,9) The organization is accredited by the Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID). (9) The Dooley-Intermed Foundation's programs include preventive medicine, health education, professional training, care for the sick, paramedical training, immunizations, research, health surveys, clinical care, sanitation, nutrition, and family planning. The foundation reports that its refugee assistance programs in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia continued until 1975, and in the last 25 years it has also worked with refugees and "primitive tribal groups" in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras (Nicaraguan refugees), India (Tibetans), Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan (Afghans), Somalia, and Uganda. (9)
El Salvador: The Dooley-Intermed Foundation provides medical supplies to the right-wing Catholic lay organization Knights of Malta. Gerald Coughlin, who is the country representative for both Dooley-Intermed and Knights of Malta, described their work with refugees in counterinsurgency terms: "If you're not eating and a private organization brings you food, then you're less likely to be recruited by the guerrillas."(1)
Costa Rica: Dooley-Intermed reportedly works with Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica. (5,9)
Honduras: The Dooley-Intermed Foundation has assisted refugees, as well as the contras, with direct and indirect shipments of supplies. (2,3,5) According to Dr. Chaney, this refugee aid goes to support "refugees in general, families of contras, and the contra fighters themselves."(2) The Dooley-Intermed Foundation has sent assistance to the contras via Friends of the Americas and the Air Commando Association, and also directly to the FDN (the largest contra force). (2,3) The majority of the supplies originated from World Medical Relief (WMR), much as it did more than 25 years ago. (3,4) Dooley-Intermed president Dr. Verne Chaney verified a 1985 shipment of $300,000 in surgical supplies from WMR destined for the contras. (2,10) Dr. Chaney has also championed the contras' cause in the United States. In 1985, Chaney told interviewers that he fully supported the contras as "freedom fighters" struggling against communism. (2) That year, Chaney was appointed the volunteer medical advisor of the UNO (United Nicaraguan Opposition) contra force, and it has been reported that he plays an active, behind-the-scenes role in supplying the contras. (3,8) According to the group's newsletter, Gen. John Singlaub (president of the World Anti-Communist League) requested in 1985 that Dr. Chaney conduct a survey of the medical services and needs of the contras in Honduras and Costa Rica. The article says: "Dr. Chaney's subsequent report was influential in the recent decision of Congress to appropriate $27 million for humanitarian aid to the freedom fighters."(8)
Government Connections: Dr. Tom Dooley provided intelligence for the CIA in the 1950s. (3) The Dooley-Intermed Foundation reported in 1987 that "we receive no government funding."(5) However, the organization has received AID assistance with shipping, and a 1988 AID report indicated that a cooperative agreement was under consideration to "provide support to the [contra] Resistance medical care system."(6,11)
Private Connections: For the past 25 years, the Dooley-Intermed Foundation has received medical supplies from the Detroit-based World Medical Relief. (2,3,4) Some of these supplies have been routed through the Air Commando Association (Ft. Walton Beach, FL) and Friends of the Americas (Baton Rouge, LA). (1,2) Some of them were distributed through the Knights of Malta in El Salvador. (1) Gerald T. Coughlin is country representative for Dooley-Intermed, Knights of Malta, and Direct Relief International. (1)
Misc: On July 3, 1986, President Reagan wrote in a letter of praise to Dr. Verne Chaney: "It's a quarter of a century now since the legendary American physician and humanitarian Dr. Thomas A. Dooley III left this life… On this, the 25th anniversary of your [Chaney's] service to fellow man, I send you my heartfelt admiration and commendation."(9) The Tom Dooley Heritage Foundation (P. O. Box l907, Grand Central Station, New York NY l00l7) may be a related organization. Its basic operations are the same as the Dooley Foundation's, but its target area is Thailand. (6)
Comments:Address: 420 Lexington Ave. , Room 2428, New York City, New York, 10170, (212) 687-3620.
Principals: Dr. Verne Chaney (founder, president, and chairman); Zola Watson (vice president); David John Mugford (secretary); Edna Fannon (treasurer); Gerald T. Coughlin (project director in El Salvador). (1,3,5,9) Board of Directors: Mildred Adams, R.N.; Kathy Barbour; Irvin R. Barton; Carol Beckwith; L. T. Bready; Verne Chaney, M.D., FACS, MPH; Edna Fannon; Curtis M. Graves, Ph.D.; Thorton A. Leichty, Ph.D.; Kathryn Livingston; James K. Luce, M.D.; David John Mugford, Esq.; Rolf W. Rosenthal; J. Robert Shaffer; Geoffrey A. Smith; Zola E. Watson, R.N., MPH; Joseph Wishy; and Nilda R. Zim. (8,9) International Board of Consultants: Van C. Argiris; Timothy Baker, M.D., MPH; Gerry Bass; Brent Berlin, Ph.D.; Eloise Berlin, R.N., MPH, Ph.D.; Eugene R. Black; Barbara Bode, Ph.D.; Jill Botway, Ph.D.; Robert L. Carneiro, Ph.D.; Martha Casselberry; George Christakis, M.D., MPH; Lewis M. Cotlow; William H. Crocker, Ph.D.; John E. Davies, M.D., MPH; Judith Davidson, Ph.D.; Sandy McCartney Ehlers; Albert Hench; Donald W. Hoskins, M.D.; William Justice; Judith Kempf, Ph.D.; Jeffrey F. Kriendler; Dr. Jean-Flavien Lalive; William J. Lederer; Moni Nag, Ph. D.; James F. Newsome, M.D.; Marion van Offelen; Emmanuel Voulgaropoulos, M.D., MPH; Maggie Waldron; Robert Zeppa, M.D. (9)