Stan Brock, an exceptional life

Remote Area Medical ® (RAM) and the delivery of health care to people who would otherwise not be able to obtain it are the passions that drive Stan Brock...

Stan Brock
Stan Brock behind the controls

Stan Brock was born in Lancashire, England in 1936. In his late teens, he relocated to British Guiana, on the northern coast of South America - it is now known as Guyana. Seeking adventure, he found work deep in the Amazon rainforest as a ranch hand, later becoming general manager of the Rupununi Development Companys Dadanawa Ranch, one of the largest tropical cattle ranches in the world. The ranch was so remote, the nearest doctor was 26 days away. His friends, neighbors and co-workers, were the Wapishana Indians. He lived there for the next 15 years.

Maturing among the Wapishana and other Amerindian tribes, Brock watched the pain and suffering created by isolation from medical care, both personally and to those around him. He suffered through numerous tropical diseases and witnessed the near devastation of whole tribes by what would have been simple or minor illnesses to a less primitive people. This problem became even more real to him when he was given a horse with a wild streak. After the horse bolted head-long into a tree, leaving Stan bruised and bleeding, he thought seriously about how far from medical help he actually was and the idea for RAM was born.

In the mid-sixties, Stan Brocks life took an unexpected twist. A wildlife photographer from the CBS television network visited the remote ranch, spending several weeks filming local animals. He returned several times, eventually bringing the producer of a show called "Wild Kingdom". After watching Stan lassoing cattle, the producer asked if he would like to go to Africa and catch some of the big animals there, making him an offer he couldn't refuse. Stan agreed and left South America to co-star and become associate producer in what would become the most popular weekly wildlife series ever broadcast on American television. As he left, Stan vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the worlds inaccessible regions.

In addition to Wild Kingdom, Stan was also the director, writer, and narrator of another television series, Stan Brocks Expedition Danger. He has published three books, including All the Cowboys Were Indians, about his experiences at the Dadanawa, and his articles have appeared in numerous national magazines, including Readers Digest. Stan Brock is also a pioneer Amazon bush-pilot, a noted authority on wildlife conservation and management, and an expert on rainforests and their inhabitants. As a research associate of the Royal Ontario Museum, Department of Mammalogy, he discovered a new species of bat now known to science as Vampyressa brockii, which is found in the northern Amazon Basin.

Yet, Stan calls this era his "frivolous years". Despite the fast pace and fun of being a celebrity, he still dreamed of setting up a medical charity.

Stan Brock finally realized his dream in 1985, when he left the entertainment world behind and founded Remote Area Medical® (RAM). Stan has kept his promise to the Wapishana RAM now supports a permanent hospital at the edge of the rainforest, with a bush plane rescue service to reach the most remote Indian villages. Years of research and planning have yielded a vast, carefully developed network of men and women who make RAM a highly mobile, remarkably efficient relief force. Volunteers are doctors, nurses, technicians, and veterinarians who go on expeditions at their own expense and treat hundreds of patients a day under some of the worst conditions possible.  Read more about RAM - PhysicianCrossroads's feature article.

This is my passion. Its the most important thing to me. I dont need the fancy lifestyle I had in the limelight. When I worked as a cowboy I used to roll a horse blanket on the ground and sleep on it. That simplicity has returned to my life. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Great interview of Stan Brock on the Tavis Smiley Show - August 21, 2009

60 Minutes Program Featuring Stan Brock & RAM- March 2, 2008

Visit the Remote Area Medical ® (RAM) website

Find out more about Stan Brock's Book  All the Cowboys Were IndiansAll the Cowboys Were Indians