Competencies In International Medicine And Public Health

August 20th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Competencies In International Medicine And Public Health

competencies

 

Remember being a student on the first day of class? We usually received a course syllabus, and a generation ago that syllabus began with a list of subjects studied; lists like:

 

  • Epidemiology of childhood illness
  • Physiology of fever
  • Metabolism of acetaminophen

 

Astute educators soon realized that the objective of education is not simply to study. Rather it is to learn. So the syllabi of fifteen years ago morphed into learning objectives, with contents like:

 

  • Describe the epidemiology of childhood illness
  • Explain the physiology of fever
  • List the steps in metabolism of acetaminophen

 

But preparation for actual practice of healthcare is inadequate with learning alone. So today education has moved on toward competency objectives. In other words, learner are ultimately measured their ability to apply newly acquired information and skills to real life situations, with competencies such as:

 

  • Capability of assessing a febrile child and reaching a correct diagnosis
  • Ability to evaluate the impact of fever and treat accordingly
  • Capacity to prescribe a correct antipyretic and evaluate its effectiveness and potential adverse impacts

 

Since 2003 INMED has developed and tested a variety of competencies relevant to equipping international medicine and public health personnel. Today we expect at the completion of the INMED Diploma is International Medicine & Public Health graduates in the context of a low-resource community will be able to:

 

  • Prevent, diagnose and treat the leading diseases of poverty
  • Prevent, diagnose and treat HIV infection
  • Provide for the health of pregnant women and newborns
  • Demonstrate proficiency in relevant clinical skills
  • Advance community-wide health promotion and death/disability prevention
  • Assure that healthcare interventions are culturally appropriate
  • Mitigate disaster risk and respond to disaster events
  • Design and implement effective healthcare as part of a leadership team

 

Studying. Learning. Competency to practice. The progress is wonderful, particular on behalf of a febrile child.

 

 

Apartheid And Poverty

August 14th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Apartheid And Poverty

An apartheid notice on a beach near Capetown, denoting the area for whites only.   (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

 

Apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning “the state of being apart,”, or rather “apart-hood.” It was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the dominant governing party from 1948 to 1994. But apartheid in various forms continues to exist throughout the world, most often based upon language, culture, race, and/or religious affiliation.

 

Ideally nations are secular and multi-ethnic, welcoming and accommodating to all people within their boarders. Sadly, recent history is replete with examples of just the opposite: Israeli suppression of Palestinians within Israel, Iraqi domination over Iraqi Kurds, Caucasian American subjugation of native Americans and blacks. Creating “homelands” for various such peoples has repeatedly only served to deepen the divides.

 

This week both Pakistan and India marked their independence days – independence from Great Britain that is. What followed was an ugly conflict between Indians whose culture and religion was distinct. Tens of thousands were killed, India was subdivided into Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, and the conflicts between them continue today.

 

As nations consider policies characterized by apartheid, we do well to remember the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi: “Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him.”

 

Turkey – Emerging Health, Prosperity, And Threats

July 31st, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Turkey – Emerging Health, Prosperity, And Threats

turkey-health

 

Health status in Turkey today is similar to that of many emerging nations – ones like China, India and Argentina where recent economic gains are accompanied by increases in physical well being. Contrasted with the world’s poorest nations, in Turkey today death and suffering from infectious diseases and mother-newborn complications are now largely controlled. Since 1970 life expectancy has rise by 25 years and infant mortality fallen from 150 per 1000 to just 10 per 1000 live births.

 

Threats remain. The greatest disease challenges are the mushrooming lifestyle-related disorders of HTN, DM, CAD, and neuro-psychiatric concerns including substance abuse, depression, and dementia. The leading health system challenges in Turkey shortages of nurses and doctors and slow development of primary care services.

 

Today’s greatest threat of all against Turkey may well be the ongoing civil strife just across that nation’s southern boarder. Such conflict has potential to very rapidly reverse the wonderful gains in health, education, and economic life enjoyed by Turks. In such a setting can be vividly demonstrated the powerful role of skilled diplomats in defending the health and humanity of people emerging from extreme poverty. Let us all wish them God-speed.

Hilarie Cranmer – 2015 INMED Humanitarian Crisis Response Award Recipient

July 17th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Hilarie Cranmer – 2015 INMED Humanitarian Crisis Response Award Recipient

cranmer-hilarieAt the 2015 Exploring Medical Missions Conference I enjoyed the pleasure of recognizing Hilarie Cranmer, a physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Director of their Global Disaster Response unit. She has served in post-conflict Kosovo, tsunami-affected Indonesia and Sri Lanka, hurricane-impacted Louisiana, earthquake-devastated Haiti and Arab-spring affected Tunisia.

 

With the 2014 emergence of Ebola, Dr. Cranmer was appointed Technical Advisor for Ebola Response for the International Medical Corps, providing high-level training for in-country health care workers, and for coordinating direct patient care in the affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Throughout, Dr. Cranmer uses her experience in disaster response to help prepare leaders in the fields of emergency medicine and humanitarian crises.

Earthquake Zone – India’s Emmanuel Hospital Association

July 10th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Earthquake Zone – India’s Emmanuel Hospital Association

eha

 

April’s earthquake in Nepal drew refreshing attention to the culture and needs of Himalayan people. Located just across Nepal’s boarder is India’s Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) – an INMED Training Site. A high proportion of India’s wonderful people continue to suffer from preventable infections, tuberculosis, malaria, dysentary, malnutrition, and pregnancy-childbirth related complications. Most Indian women deliver in their villages on their own or with the help of a village midwife (Dai), and those who present to hospital are usually emergency cases.

 

EHA is a network of 21 hospitals and 27 community health projects, and is committed to the transformation of communities with programs that invest in the health and well being of everyone, irrespective of caste, creed or race. With a catchment population of nearly seven million, EHA provides more than 500,000 patient consultations each year. What’s more, EHA faculty are eager to share their skills with INMED students, who learn not only the professional skills but also the life skills of serving in the Himalayas.

 

20,000 Cataracts Out ~ For 19,999 Sight Restored

July 3rd, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on 20,000 Cataracts Out ~ For 19,999 Sight Restored

Collins3

 

Steve Collins began his career as a pastor in Newfoundland, Canada. As one of the few educated individuals, town’s people began bringing all their sick to him for treatment advice. So off he went to medical school. In 1991, about the time I myself moved to Angola, Dr Collins was also drawn to that nation’s abhorrent health crisis. Trained ophthalmology, he set out providing eye care to the eastern half of the country – the most remote and impoverished.

 

Cataracts are extremely common in Angola – blinding thousands of people each year in this nation where most survive on just pennies a day. After 20 years of ophthalmic work in Angola, Dr. Collins just marked his 20,000th cataract removal, many performed at Lubango Evangelical Medical Center – an INMED Training Site.  Contributing to this amazing feat is that Dr. Collins is 75 years of age and has performed all these surgeries by hand under a microscope. Such manual techniques are seldom used anymore in wealthier nations, but are essential in Angola’s low-resource context. And for how many people has Collins witnessed sight restored? 19,999. Truly his is a life very well lived!

 

But what about that person whose sight was NOT restored? View this Three Minute Video of Dr. Collins in Action – and be inspired.

2015 INMED Butterfield United States Public Health Class

June 26th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on 2015 INMED Butterfield United States Public Health Class

2015 Butterfield INMED US Public Health Class

 

Introducing the 2015 INMED Butterfield United States Public Health Class. Throughout June and July these learners are participating in the INMED United States Public Health Hybrid Course, with their daily service-learning clinical experience at Oklahoma City Christian safety net clinics: Good Shepherd Clinic, Open Arms Clinic, and Crossing Community Clinic. The academic subjects INMED provides include the weighty ones of Community and Personal Health Assessment, Cross-Cultural Skills, Immigrant Health, Health Literacy, Community Development, Mental Health/Substance Abuse, Spiritual Care, Healthcare Systems, and Financing Healthcare.

 

This learning experience will qualify them to receive to INMED United States Public Health Diploma. The Butterfield Memorial Foundation in Oklahoma City provides financial support for this opportunity as part of their initiative to inspire a growing number of healthcare students to seriously consider career service to marginalized people. Are you considering a similar calling? INMED would be pleased to speak with you.

Fred Loper – 2015 INMED National Healthcare Service Award Recipient

June 19th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Fred Loper – 2015 INMED National Healthcare Service Award Recipient

Nicholas Comninellis, Fred Loper, and Elizabeth Burgos

Nicholas Comninellis, Fred Loper, and Elizabeth Burgos

 

As a medical student at the University of Oklahoma, Fred Loper was recruited to help start Good Shepherd Clinic in Oklahoma City – a ministry launched after a homeless man had his wound stitched by a bartender in a local tavern because people thought he had no where else to go for treatment. That formative event set the direction for Dr. Loper’s entire career. Following graduation, Dr. Loper proceeded to lead the Baptist Medical Dental Fellowship, facilitating healthcare in multiple nations, including Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Cuba.

 

Since 2012 Dr. Loper has again made his home in Oklahoma City where he is also again at the helm of Good Shepherd Clinic. This comprehensive outpatient center provides medical and dental care that includes prevention, acute illness, and continuity care for low-income, un- and under- insured people throughout central Oklahoma.

Meredith Jackson RN – 2015 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient

June 12th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Meredith Jackson RN – 2015 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient

jackson-meredithThis INMED award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to health in developing nations. The award winners have demonstrated uncommon dedication and endurance in pursuit of this cause, and have included Cindy Obenhaus RN, Bruce Steffes MD, Joe LeMaster MPH, and Cathy Hoelzer PA.

 

The 2015 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient is Meredith Jackson, RN, MA. Since 2003 Meredith has partnered with Kansas City-based Medical Missions Foundation, and Medical Aid to Children of Latin America (MACLA), to provide surgical specialty care via her twenty-eight trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mani and Uganda. She brings her special qualifications in human resources, pre-op and post-op care, and vascular access to those in these developing nations, as well as at Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. To nurses considering similar service, Meredith Jackson advises “Jump in and do it. There is usually a role for a nurse with any background who is open to adapting to whatever skill is needed.”

 

Gary Morsch – 2015 INMED Compassionate Service To Humanity Award Recipient

June 5th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis | Comments Off on Gary Morsch – 2015 INMED Compassionate Service To Humanity Award Recipient

morsch-ready-relief

 

“Would serving people in serious need help to fulfill my life?” is a question frequently posed to Gary Morsch. He replies, “People really do want to help one another, but they often don’t know how to do it.” Dr. Morsch has invested his entire life in assisting people discover just how. In 1993 he organized the first Physicians With Heart airlift of goodwill medical supplies to the new Russian Federation. Heart to Heart International grew out of that initiative to become one of today’s leading global humanitarian organizations, providing disaster assistance, healthcare supplies, and primary medical care in Haiti, Nepal, and the United States.

 

Recognizing and partnering with Gary Morsch and those of similar caliber is one of the most heartening privileges of serving with the Institute for International Medicine. Since 2008 he and other INMED Service Award recipients continue to be honored and exemplified.