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April 14th, 2014 by INMED | Comments Off

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Iron Sharpens Iron – Who Sharpens You?

April 1st, 2014 by INMED | Comments Off

iron-sharpens-iron3“We traveled to the Exploring Medical Missions Conference as just acquaintances, unaware of the awaiting revelations.” Rachel Jamison and Courtney Baldridge at that time were first year medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “The EMMC created a place to foster what’s become a life-long friendship. We also met first-rate people who inspired us: Cindy Obenhaus from a birthing center in Haiti and Patrick Railey from Operation Mobilization. They became to us like the iron in the statement from Proverbs 27:17 ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ These EMMC speakers also developed our vision from simply rescue on toward resilience; from only providing medicine toward working to upgrade the health of an entire community and empower people to care for themselves.”

 

What community? Guinea, West Africa. They and their husbands are moving to the capital city of Conakry as part of Hope Ignited – a faith-based training and service organization. Rachel and Courtney, now pediatric specialists, are animated over their professional prospects. “Guinea has very few physicians and only rare specialists. A top priority for us will be transferring our skills and vision for Guinean healthcare personnel to serve the poorest.”

 

“But no matter how good our motivation, the transition from healthcare in Dallas to Guinea will be complex. That’s why we just completed the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Intensive Course, with its emphasis on cultural skills, low-resource disease management, and sustainable community development. And the bonus? Again it was our interaction with our inspiring classmates, people already engaged in Burma, Nigeria, Ghana, Bolivia, and the Middle East.”

 

Rachel Jamison and Courtney Baldridge intentionally pursued venues where they would meet virtuous role models and could nourished uplifting friendships. Iron sharpens iron, indeed.

 

Whom will you allow to sharpen you? The next Exploring Medical Missions Conference on May 30-31 is a marvelous opportunity to enlighten and encourage yourself among exemplary people. The upcoming International Medicine and International Public Health Intensive Hybrid Courses, starting on April 28th and May 19th, provide superb occasions to hone your skills and forge alliances with some of the world’s most upstanding individuals – like these two global-minded pediatricians.

When Olympic Powers Collide

March 1st, 2014 by INMED | Comments Off

when-olympic-powers-collideRemember the Sochi Olympics? Just ten days ago were we not mesmerized by the twizzles of ice dancing? How quickly that artistry and spirit of sportsmanship has degenerated into a colossal confrontation between Russia, Europe and the United States as they spar over Ukraine.

 

While this conflict presently exhibits some restraint, a crucial question must nevertheless be posed: What group of people is most likely to suffer and to die? In the century since World War I some 60-70 percent of total death has been among non-combatant civilians – usually women and children. The British Medical Journal concludes, “In many war zones, violent deaths are often only a tiny proportion of overall deaths. Populations face a deterioration of their already poor health status, and excess deaths from infectious diseases will usually outnumber deaths due to direct violence.” Highlighting a survey from the Congolese war, “Of an excess mortality of 2.5 million, only 350,000 were because of direct violence; the others died from malnutrition and disease.”(1) We need only observe the ongoing crisis in Syria to be reminded how very quickly such confrontations may become deadly. Over 70,000 people have died.

 

What can YOU do on behalf of people living in nations of civil unrest? INMED is convening a gathering of concerned individuals like yourself: the Exploring Medical Missions Conference (EMMC). On May 30-31 some 500 will gather in Kansas City around the theme Sticks In A Bundle Are Unbreakable to discover what tremendous good may result from joining our efforts. Also represented at the EMMC will be relief organizations heavily committed to growing hope within conflict zones – groups with whom you may volunteer like Heart To Heart International and Baptist Global Response.

 

The heartening unity surrounding the Sochi Olympics need not be forgotten. Within the crucible of today’s conflict lies opportunity for virtue to become solidified by people like you who in unity take action.
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(1) Hargreaves S. Conference addresses the impact of war on health. BMJ. 2002;325(7369):856.

Can You Treat This Child With Fever And Diarrhea?

February 1st, 2014 by INMED | Comments Off

can-you-treat-this-child-with-feverWith eagerness and a dose of trepidation you step into a new clinical setting. On your far left a Somali woman is delivering twins with the aid of two students and a supervisor. On your right a young Asian man gasps for breathe as a resident physician and a faculty examine him. In the back of the room three interns and their attending are triaging injured Hispanics newly arrived from a building collapse. Where in one place could you find such a fascinating spectrum of healthcare? Only the Tropical Medicine Rounds Simulation at the upcoming Exploring Medical Missions Conference – the EMMC.

 

You are beckoned to the room’s center where you interview an African mother and her eighteen-month old daughter, Rosa. The mother explains that Rosa is losing weight, eating poorly and having diarrheal stools for weeks. The family’s water source is a creek. You examine the child, who is somnolent, with an oral temperature of 38 degrees C, respirations of 30, and abdomen distended but without guarding. You consider whether Rose be could suffering from typhoid fever. Which ONE of these statements about typhoid is true?

 

A. Typhoid fever usually causes diarrhea.
B. Salmonella typhi is transmitted by fecal-oral ingestion
C. Typhoid vaccination is reliably effective.
D. Typhoid fever can be readily differentiated from other infectious diseases

 

Answer

 

You consult with your appointed supervisor and learn that typhoid fever does not frequently cause diarrhea, but shares many of the risk factors associated with other fecal-oral transmitted diseases. Typhoid should be considered in persons with persistent, unexplained fever and abdominal pain. Diagnosis is often challenging, for the differential diagnosis may readily includes malaria, viral hepatitis, enteric fever syndromes, atypical pneumonia, mononucleosis, tuberculosis, and brucellosis. Typhoid vaccination effectiveness is only about seventy-five percent. “B” you conclude is the correct answer.

 

You ponder the next step in caring for Rosa. Which of the following will be your highest priority?

 

A. Establishment of intravenous access
B. Initiation of ciprofloxacin antibiotic therapy
C. Collection of a stool specimen and laboratory analysis
D. Provision of oral rehydration therapy

 

Answer

 

Ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are antibiotics commonly overused to treat diarrhea, which is more often viral in etiology. Examination of fresh stool under a microscope revealing blood and fecal leukocytes suggest invasive bacterial causes like Shigella and Campylobacter, while their absence points toward viral and enterotoxigenic causes. Ova, and less commonly parasites, may be identified. Most diarrheal disease can most successfully treated with oral rehydration solution, consisting simply of potable water, salt and sugar. “D” you surmise to be the best answer.

 

Assisting people in a new, cross-cultural, low-resource setting is for healthcare professionals and students one of the most daunting challenges imaginable, and one rarely addressed in our formal training. We invite you to take advantage of unique learning opportunities like the Tropical Medicine Simulation Rounds at the Exploring Medical Missions Conference.

What’s Your Global Health Credential?

January 1st, 2014 by INMED | No Comments »

whats-your-global-health-credential-banner.jpg“Why do I need training? Why can’t I just go?” “Because,”says Kristell Willmer, “you probably underestimate how little you understand this field.” Kristell is a certified family and pediatric nurse practitioner, and recipient of the DIM&PH – the INMED Diploma in International Medicine and Public Health. “Many healthcare professionals are also intimidated by global health opportunities due to a fear of the unknown — foreign cultures, exotic diseases, minimal resources and overwhelming poverty.”

 

Kristell speaks from experience. For ten years she took part in medical missions to Rwanda, India, Honduras, Malawi, Ecuador and the Solomon Islands. “These experiences let me see healthcare needs first hand, but provided no training on health systems or the common diseases. Within me steadily grew the desire to improve my skills so I could serve more confidently. That’s why I approached INMED about the Diploma program.” As part of the DIM&PH, Kristell participated in the International Medicine & Public Health Intensive Course, with training in diseases of poverty, cross-cultural competency, disaster management, health leadership, and also workshops in suturing, splinting, ultrasound, complicated obstetrics and newborn resuscitation. For her service-learning component Kristell worked under faculty supervision for a month at INMED’s training site in northern Ghana, Baptist Medical Center.

 

“The impact of INMED,” reports Kristell, “came to fruition following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. My home church partnered with a Haitian pastor to start a clinic, and approached me to lead the project. While their dream was noble, the reality was far more involved than just soliciting meds and recruiting volunteers. So much more must be considered to make a lasting, positive impact. Only after months of planning and team training did we open the doors of a humble medical clinic – one that is still serving the community today.

 

“The greatest benefit of INMED Diploma,” concludes Kristell, “is the skills, experience, relationships and resources I gained. The credential itself has been useful among peers on the mission field and at my University, helping me to standout with credibility in this exciting field.”

 

What’s your global health credential? In a spirit of cooperation, INMED would be pleased to partner with you. We offer ACIHE accredited Diploma programs in both International Public Health and in International Medicine & Public Health. Do you already have significant experience? INMED offers an Equivalency process to recognize your skills. Like Kristell Willmer, you may discover how to more confidently serve our world’s most marginalized people.

Haiyan & Haiti – Disaster & Development

December 1st, 2013 by INMED | No Comments »

haiti-tentPhilippines’ Typhoon Haiyan tragedy is epitomized by the havoc suffered at INMED’s Filipino training site: Mercy Midwives Birthing Center. Here a landslide took out the clinic, six feet of water flooded the facility, epidemic leptospirosis – a neglected tropical disease – afflicts the survivors, all the while women continue to arrive in labor; the faithful staff sometimes delivering three or four babies simultaneously.

 

A tragic and grim reality is that disasters seem to hit the world’s most vulnerable people.  What will be the future of critical Filipino health services like Mercy Midwives Birthing Center? Haiti’s course since the 2010 catastrophic 7.1 magnitude earthquake projects promise.

 

INMED’s Haiti training site – Haiti Health Ministries (HMM) – was also structurally destroyed. But Jim Wilkins, the medical director, and his wife, Sandy, a nurse and the administrator, simply redoubled their commitment to glorify Christ through partnering with Haitians to meet their compelling health care needs.

 

Elizabeth Burgos, INMED Chief Programs Officer, and Cindy Obenhaus, INMED Director of Operations, recently witnessed the reality of this long yet hope-filled road toward development. HMM’s clinic is still a large tent, and yet Jim, Sandy, and the Haitian medical staff treat newborns to pregnant women to the elderly, those who can pay and those who can not, those with life-threatening injuries, and those suffering from the ever-present diseases of poverty endemic to Haiti: malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and malnutrition.

 

One breathtaking example of the optimism filling HHM is the care provided for one woman living for years with a massive disfiguring tumor on her face, obliterating her nose, blocking vision, and leaving her was ostracized and isolated. Dr. Jim removed her tumor with such skill, care, and kindness.  Radiant was the smile of the women in recovery upon realizing that the unsightly mass, and the stigma it caused, were no more.

 

You, too, can play a part in restoring such hope in the Philippines, in Haiti, and in the next upcoming disaster. But advanced preparation is essential. INMED’s International Medicine and International Public Health hybrid courses include disaster assessment, response, and recovery skills. Your INMED Diploma service-learning experience can be with a disaster management team in India. And in preparation for deployment, the Disaster Response: The Pocket Book For Volunteers is an invaluable resource.

 

Haiyan and Haiti personify both disaster and development. The connection between the two is hope-filled commitment of people like the Wilkins and their Haitian colleagues. You too can offer a hand in this hope.

Sticks In A Bundle Are Unbreakable

November 1st, 2013 by INMED | No Comments »

Sticks in a Bundle Are UnbreakableSticks in a bundle are unbreakable. This Kenyan proverb embraces the discovery that the combined strengths of like-hearted people can realize superb results. In this light, those of us passionate about health improvement among the world’s most poor can indeed realize progress, but only as we cooperate together. Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable is the 2014 EMMC (Exploring Medical Missions Conference) theme – an event that challenges us to increase our skills, to forge alliances, and to progress together towards health for all.

 

Would you like to learn to suture, to deliver babies, to bandage, to use ultrasound? The pre-conference day on May 29 will feature Ultrasound for Low Resource Healthcare Course and Helping Babies Breathe Course. The main conference days, May 30-31, will include hands-on skill stations in suturing, ultrasound, obstetrics, tropical medicine rounds, wound care, crisis response drills, and community health surveying. Also included are sessions on eye diseases, tropical fever, dermatology, traveler safety, physical disabilities, working with an interpreter, and medical missions for non-clinicians. Space for all these sessions is limited, so please register now.

 

The conference will feature John and Lori Clements from Angola in southern Africa. John, an ophthalmologist, over the last three years has restored sight for hundreds of blind persons, including Helder, the fun loving 6-year-old boy in this photo born with congenital cataracts. John realizes that collaboration with nationals is vital, so he also trains Angolan physicians in eye surgery skills, including Dr. Sabastiao Mavatiti, pictured above, who is commissioned to serve in the rural provinces and completed 100 cataract surgeries.

 

Lori Clements, mother of three small boys, lends her creative energies to the Blind Association where food assistance is provided. Lori also recognizes that Angolans themselves have much to offer, so she teams up with church leaders to teach Braille, to train the blind in a trade, and to open a store to sell the crafts and hence generate income for those who are disabled.

 

Sticks in a bundle are indeed unbreakable. So expand your skills, forge alliances, and progress in cooperation with the thirty global health organizations that will be on hand at the 2014 EMMC. Like the Clements, you may discover how strong is your own contribution when united with a quality team.

Syria’s Government Shutdown

October 1st, 2013 by INMED | No Comments »

Tim Myrick Syrian RefugeesTuesday morning the US federal government shutdown. National parks are closed, IRS audits are suspended, and government-backed mortgages face delays. But our highways are open, home sales continue brisk, and many are not directly hindered. The Syrian government is also shutdown. But their roads are closed, banks are shuttered, schools suspended, courts adjourned, media blacked out, phones disconnected, water shutoff, electricity terminated, homes evacuated, and hospitals targeted for violence. The only proliferation within Syria today is that of arms and displaced persons.

 

Sabeen, a young mother, is among some 200,000 Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries each month. Along with her eighteen-month old daughter, Sabeen made her way to a refugee encampment in Jordan. Tim Myrick, INMED faculty physician, examined her there in a makeshift clinic. “I feared this child would promptly die. She was wasting away from malnutrition and suffocating from pneumonia. But with simple attention, amoxicillin, and oral fluids over two days Sabeen’s daughter dramatically improved. Her complexion became bright, she devoured food, and for the first time her mother sensed that they might not simply survive, but thrive.”

 

What can you do on behalf of Syria’s refugees? Some options include:

 

• Serve at a Syrian refugee facility: Baptist Global Response organizes teams of Christian healthcare personnel to serve alongside Lebanese nationals in northern Lebanon for periods of ten days at a time. For complete details please contact healthcare@gobgr.org

 

• Make a financial contribution to aid Syrians in crisis: Samaritan’s Purse is an exceptional relief and development organization providing effective assistance.

 

• Volunteer at a healthcare facility near you that serves refugees: Samuel Rogers Health Center and Christ Community Health Services, for example, provide comprehensive care to such people.

 

• Increase your own refugee care proficiency by enrolling in the INMED International Public Health or International Medicine Diploma program: Mentored by exemplary role models like Tim Myrick, mastery of diseases of poverty, cross-cultural skills, and disaster management will dramatically improve your ability to lend effective assistance.

 

Finally, check the attitude of your own heart. Governments may shutdown but talented people can shutdown, too. By contrast, as we open up to the crisis of those like Sabeen and her daughter we may well discover that we too don’t simply survive, but also thrive.

 

The End Of The Internet

September 1st, 2013 by INMED | No Comments »

The End Of The InternetDemise of the Internet is already on our horizon. Like the information technologies before it – think of AOL and 3.5 inch disks – what is today’s mainstream will one day be a distant dream. Next up is The Grid. Built with dedicated fiber optic cables delivering speeds 10,000 times faster than broadband, real-time meetings with holographic stages and participants are no longer sci-fi. One step further is Brain Net, brain-to-brain communication connecting computers to living minds and thus to one another – relaying not simply ideas but also human emotions and reactions.The Internet as we know it will come to an end. But in the meantime we make best use of the available technologies – like the new INMED website. Technologies shift. They are not an end in themselves. Rather, technologies are a means of expressing values, and the core values of INMED do not shift.

 

• We are committed to forgotten people. John Clements is an American ophthalmologist serving in Angola, southern Africa. John just completed the INMED International Medicine Fellowship at the Boa Vista eye center. Over the last two years he’s restored sight for hundreds of blind persons, like a nine-year old born from congenital cataracts. Immediately following surgery in August her mother exclaimed to me, “My daughter was destined to life of poverty and abuse, and now has received her sight!”

 

• We  are stewards. Nancy Crigger is a family nurse practitioner, professor of nursing at Graceland University, and recipient of the INMED International Healthcare Preceptor Award. For over two decades Dr. Crigger continues to inspire and instruct nursing students in the virtues and nuances of healthcare in Central America. Communication of keen insights into culture and ethics is her mindful intention. Nancy Crigger shares, “I am excited over helping learners to stimulate  sustainable health improvements throughout Latin America.”

 

• We value all human life. Tim Myrick is faulty physician for the INMED International Medicine International Medicine & Public Health Intensive Hybrid Course. Fluent in Arabic, he and wife Lori write from the Zaatari Camp in Jordan where they care for Syrian refugees, “Today we cared for many patients, including a man with heart failure and a scarily septic child. It’s pretty desperate here, and will be difficult for us when we must say goodbye.”

 

• We are partners. Anil Cherian, MPH, is Director of Community Health and Development for India’s Emmanuel Hospital Association – an INMED International Medicine and International Public Health Training Site. Since 2007 he and Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) colleagues have trained and supervised INMED learners in the course of their mission to prevent HIV infection, increase adolescent health, and provide hospice care. Anil Cherian challenges us to, “Look carefully and compassionately at those who are poor and learn from them.”

 

Shifting technologies should be a reminder that at the core what matters is not the phone we are using but with whom are talking, not what is our operating system but how we personally operate, and not which is our technological interface but what we actually communicate.

They Are Waiting For You – Angola Day 23

August 8th, 2013 by INMED | No Comments »

Patients WaitingSeventy patients were waiting for care today as I departed the Lubango Evangelical Medical Center to fly back to INMED headquarters in the United States. These people suffer most commonly from malaria, TB, pneumonia, HIV, typhoid fever, schistosomiasis, uncontrolled diabetes, and a litany of orthopedic trauma. Who will come to their assist? This healthcare facility is currently staffed by just two full-time physicians and two nurse practitioners. That’s the equivalent of every other night hospital call – forever. And when one leaves for vacation, a meeting, or to work at an outlying facility… You get the picture. Would you like to assist? Lubango Evangelical Medical Center needs the entire spectrum of healthcare volunteers, as well as those with organizational skills. Fluency in Portuguese or Spanish is a terrific asset. But the most essential quality is simply a willing, compassionate heart.