Battle For Mosul – Battle For Civilian Lives

October 21st, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management, International Public Health|



Six months ago from a distant hilltop I viewed the ISIS-held city of Mosul, where one-million civilians are captive. Five days ago began a long-anticipated military campaign by Iraqi and Kurdish forces to retake the city. As the bombs drop and bullets fly, whose lives are at highest risk? By far, it is the non-combatants.


Since WWII women, children and unarmed men are more likely to die by a power of ten to one over soldiers. We’ve no reason to believe the outcome in Mosul will be better. The UN is preparing for what it fears could be the biggest man-made humanitarian crisis in recent times. Accordingly, refugee camps are being built on the outskirts of Mosul, stocked with supplies for the flood of people fleeing the city. The UN says it expects at least 200,000 in the coming days and weeks.


What can you and I do? First, stay informed over this rapidly developing crisis. You can also contact your elected officials to encourage support of such people in distress. Financial contributions to reputable organizations are effective. One little known fact is that the UN High Commission of Refugees is almost entirely funded by donations. You yourself, with proper training, can also potentially volunteer in care of international refugees and internally displaced persons. And finally, neglect not the opportunity to serve foreigners here within our own communities.


Matt Giesbrecht: Giving Haven In Haiti

October 14th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management, INMED Grads In Action|



“Yes, this is yet another Haitian town destroyed. It seemed like there was even less aid here. The town looked like it had been quite prosperous with cobblestone streets. Damage along the coastline was very severe. Either the houses were washed away or blown apart from the hurricane,” says Matt Giesbrecht, RN, assessing the damage to Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Striking Haiti on October 3-4, Matthew brought catastrophic flooding, 40 inches of rain, and storm surge of up to 10 feet over sea level. Early estimates include at least 1,300 people dead and greater than 35,000 left homeless.


I first met Matt Giesbrecht as he was preparing to move to Haiti for a multi-year assignment. Part of his preparation was the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course, which included timely content on disaster management and health leadership. Matt continues, “We decided to bring a mobile clinic to the area where the hurricane damage was the most severe. We wrapped up the mobile clinic this afternoon after seeing 500 patients this week. We are really exhausted, but it has been a success. Please pray for the work here.


Haiti Hurricane Refuge: Higgins Brothers Surgicenter

October 7th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management, Global Health News & Inspiration|



Last week as Hurricane Matthew collided with Haiti, citizens by the thousands sought refuge from the 130mph plus winds, tormenting waves, and inland storm surge. One special locale of relief: Higgins Brothers Surgicenter of Hope. This photo  captured by USA Today, shows residents of southwestern Haiti entering the compound of the Surgicenter where they took cover in the operating and recovery rooms. Ted Higgins, the Center’s visionary founder, told me, “We didn’t construct this facility as an emergency shelter. But it’s built of stone and concrete, the roof is steel, and the doors are sound. By golly, it’s meant to serve people, and I’m thrilled they are safe inside!”


Dr. Ted Higgins has served Haiti since 1981, when he and his wife, Kim, worked for three-month at Hospital Albert Schweitzer in DesChapelles, Haiti. Following that inspiring experience, Ted made annual service trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, providing healthcare to sugar cane cutters and their families. In 2010, Ted and Kim partnered with   Haitian Christian Mission to propel more substantial, ongoing service. And today, Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope is providing such care, rain or shine.


65 Million People: Displaced But Not Forgotten

September 29th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management, Global Health News & Inspiration|



Today 1 human in every 113 is a victim of forced displacement. In fact, today’s wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at that at any time since WWII. The UN Refugee Agency report, Global Trends, documents how 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million in 2014. This translates into 24 people abandoning their homes and running for their lives each minute 2015, compared just 6 people in 2005. How many people is this? More than the sum population of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.


“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year. On land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders,” declares Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Why this continued sharp rise in displaced persons? UNHCR cites Somalia and Afghanistan’s 30-40 year of ongoing conflict, as well as more acute wars in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine and Central African Republic, and even violence in Central America.


What should be our response? First, tract the developments and talk them up with your friends, because more is at stake than football or the White House. Second, consider volunteering your time and talent through any number of fine refugee aid associations, such as the International Refugee Assistance Project and the International Rescue Committee. And join us on March 24-25 for the INMED Humanitarian Health Conference, where you can personally engage leaders who take to heart the admonition of Matthew 25, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”


MacArthur Foundation and Emergency Medical Teams

September 23rd, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management|


The world-wide health and disaster response community agree: management of the Haiti earthquake, Indian Ocean tsunami, and West Africa Ebola epidemic was poor. In answer, the World Health Organization has established new standards for international Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) to ensure a credible global health emergency workforce for future Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. So far, neither the US government nor large-capacity US based NGOs have trained up to these standards, essentially sidelining our nation from future humanitarian response participation.


Today the Institute for International Medicine (INMED) proposes to the MacArthur Foundation a grant request lead an initiative to thoroughly train and credential US-based EMTs capable of rapid deployment and effective humanitarian service conforming to today’s standards. INMED’s fourteen-years’ experience and our association with major institutions (including Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Massachusetts General Hospital Global Disaster Response, Heart to Heart International) give INMED the capacity to achieve this complex and urgent endeavor.

Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital Hosts INMED

September 16th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration, Healthcare Education|



This week INMED graduated our first students from Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, whose Global Disaster Response department hosted the International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course. Seventeen participated in ten weeks of structured online study, and then gathered today in Boston for three days hand-on patient care, disaster triage, and community health survey skills. These not only can’t be mastered online, but the opportunity for persons of such high vision and caliber to meet one another is priceless.


Kerrie Flynn is a nurse practitioner a Mass General Hospital. She writes, “My whole career I’ve wanted to empowering others to assist their own with new tools and to support populations in need. I really enjoyed the course and how you have put together the online delivery. Mostly this is a thank you for this super program. I’m applying to the full INMED Diploma program, and in the future to find a way to contribute to these resource poor communities again”


“What Is Aleppo?”

September 9th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management, Global Health News & Inspiration, INMED Action Steps For You|



This week the presidential candidate of a well-known United States political party was asked their plan for Aleppo. In response, the candidate replied, “What is Aleppo?” Shocking, but not at all surprising. Today Americans are consumed with the season football kickoff, Halloween planning, and the back-to-school rush. None of these activities carry any maleficence. But meanwhile, above, citizens in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo line up for bread.


Dr. Samer Attar is a Chicago-based orthopedic surgeon serving in the embattled city of Aleppo. “People are running out of fresh fruit and meat. Hospitals and their staff are exhausted,” he told NBC News. The entire city “is going to be bombed and starved to death … unless the international community acts.”


What can you and I do about this ongoing humanitarian calamity? First, we can easily tract and stay informed of the developments in Aleppo. Second, we can contact our Senators and press for an urgent political solution. Third, we can contribute to reputable relief organizations serving in Syria. And finally, take advantage of your personal opportunity to meet someone intimately involved in caring for those afflicted by the war in Syria. Lawand Talal, of the UN High Commission for Refugees, will be a featured speaker at next year’s INMED Humanitarian Health Conference, March 24-25 in Kansas City. Through steps like these, may we all know full well what is Aleppo.


Sustainability Vs. Urgent Utility

September 2nd, 2016 by INMED
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|



“Our international partner organization has been heavily funding our health projects, even purchasing medications and fuel to power our water wells, but the entire health ministry is on hard times nevertheless.” My colleagues in southern Africa continue, “As the national economy goes, so goes life for us all. And at this moment, both are spiraling downward.”


What’s this? An outside organization funding ongoing healthcare year after year in a developing nation? Isn’t such a practice antithetical to all the principles of sustainability, self-sufficiency, and independence – precepts held so dearly and preached so emphatically by we in the international health community?


The reality is that sustainability must constantly be balanced with urgent utility; the commitment to principle held in check by the needs of the moment. When a child is thirsty and dehydrated, for example, shall we in healthcare say, “I apologize that we can’t give you water. We’ve no money for diesel to pump from our wells, and we refuse to accept available outside donations because it’s against our ethics.” May it never be that a child is turned away thirsty when we have a solution, even a temporary one, that can preserve her life today.


INMED’s 25th International Medicine And Public Health Course

August 19th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|



A dearth of accessible international health academic resources existed when we launched INMED in 2003. Sure, one who attend the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. But this required tens of thousands of dollars, plus six months living in the UK. Therefore, one of our first INMED priorities was to create quality, low-cost, readily accessible academic learning opportunities to complement the field experiences we already offered in developing nations.


First we introduced the INMED Self-Paced Courses in the major global health subjects. Under Micah Flint’s inspiration we consolidated these into the comprehensive INMED International Medicine & Public Health Course, launched in 2009. Since then, some 450 individuals have earned the INMED Academic Qualification in International Public Health or the INMED Academic Qualification in International Medicine & Public Health. And, the courses are now available at academic centers in Los Angeles, Long Island, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Dallas/Fort Worth, and China.


Monday begins our 25th offering of the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Course, hosted by AT Still University at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Matt Cook was a student in the 2015 course, and via Facebook penned this glowing recommendation for his classmates. Thanks Matt!

INMED Counts By The Numbers

August 12th, 2016 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|



We at INMED are all about personal accounts. We emphasize stories both of people in great need who are assisted with compassion and expertise, and people whose lives are transformed through personal sacrifice and service on behalf of our world’s most impoverished. Just consider for a moment the experience of Scott Biggerstaff, INMED student serving in Uganda this summer.


Numbers also help to communicate the extent of personal accounts. Since 2004…

• 4417 have participated in an INMED Humanitarian Health or Exploring Medical Missions Conference

• 1079 took part in an INMED Cross-Cultural Health or Disaster Management Symposium

• 442 graduated with an INMED Diploma or Certificate, including serious service among the poor

• 500 took part in an INMED Hybrid or Intensive Course

• 235 became Helping Babies Breathe Facilitators

• 114 participated in an INMED Ultrasound for Primary Care Course

• 449 took advantage of an INMED Self-Paced Online Course


Each number represents real people, both those served and those who are serving. Scott Biggerstaff helps us all to keep this truth at the forefront: “I cared for a patient on Friday with AIDS and pneumonia, and today I evaluated a stroke patient and an AIDS/tuberculosis patient with a spontaneous pneumothorax. Sick dudes. The ‘normal’ pathology out here is stuff fit for case reports in medical journals. I have just a few days left – hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to join the community team and see some of the pubic health (disease prevention) outreach activities.”