What Is The Measure Of Greatness?

January 12th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

An energetic debate is underway over the character and definition of greatness.  We witness this debate being played out in foreign and economic policy, in judicial ruling, social media postings, and statements from Atheists to Zionists. In the midst of this debate, some are angry, jubilant, and almost everyone concerned.

 

For perspective, debate over the measure of greatness is nothing new. Europe in the 1930 was consumed with similar questions: Is greatness defined by military power? Is it measured by kindness and compassion? Is greatness a virtue to determined by justice? Justice on whose terms?

 

The aftermath of the European debate is unmistakable. 50-80 million people died (roughly the population of the UK), including some 20 million civilians, like you and I, from starvation. Least our debate today degenerate into similar catastrophe, shall we pause for a moment of perspective from the only person in history to return to life after being killed? Do you recall Jesus Christ’s measure of greatness?

 

Jesus and his disciples traveled to Capernaum, as recorded in Mark 9:33-37. At the house, He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had been arguing with each other which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then He had a little child stand among them. Taking the child in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”

 

For today’s debate, what are the implications of this measure of greatness?

 

Healthcare Skill Is Just One Generation Deep

January 5th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Healthcare Education|

 

The most remarkable element of my career continues to be my outstanding colleagues, including Jackey Tong in China, Lawand Talal in Iraq, Fred Loper in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and in this photo, Steve Foster in Angola, southern Africa. Each is skilled, devoted and compassionate. And, each enjoys a maximum service span of just forty or fifty years.  Who will replace such fine individuals?

 

The special passion of INMED is to prompt healthcare personnel to consider intentional service to benefit our world’s least-powerful people, and to give them the skills to be effective and durable in this career-long pursuit.

 

Healthcare skill is indeed just one generation deep. Consider for a moment your own roles and responsibilities. What chaos would occur should you be suddenly absent? What special skill or insight have you attained that risks becoming lost? What action could you be taking today to inspire and equip those who will ultimately carry on the duties entrusted to you?

 

INMED For Nurses: The DINPH Credential

December 29th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

Nurses enjoy wonderful reputations for compassion and action. INMED now offers the professional Diploma in International Nursing & Public Health (DINPH) to further enhance nurse’s credentials and skills in serving the world’s most poor.

 

DINPH qualification has two parts. First is an International Nursing & Public Health Hybrid Course that includes the most common yet unfamiliar diseases. The next courses begin online on Jan 1, Jan 15, and March 12. Here are the specific Dates and Locations.

 

The second part is a service-learning experience at an INMED Training Site in one of 8 developing nations under the guidance of an experienced nurse mentor. Read here about current INMED learners experiences at their training sites.

 

What do INMED Nursing Participants have to say about learning with us? What are INMED alumni are doing today? Is the DINPH available to nursing students? Yes!

 

Please consider this bold and unique career advancement opportunity! I look forward to addressing your questions.  Contact me, Nicholas Comninellis, via nicholas@inmed.us or 816-520-6900.

 

What Is The World’s Most Universal And Deadly Infection?

December 8th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health, Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|

 

In the United States and Europe, not so long ago the words TB were interpreted similarly to the way AIDS and cancer often are today. TB meant fear, suffering and death. And no wonder. This aggressive lung infection caused people to cough up blood, alienate their friends and family over fear of transmission, and ultimately suffocate to death.

 

But the forgotten fear of yesteryear is deceptive. Today, around the world fully one person in three is infected with TB, 2.3 billion people, making it the world’s most universal infection. And about 10 percent, roughly the population of the United States, will develop the disease badly enough to need treatment. But these afflicted people rarely have access to the treatment resources we enjoy in the United States. Instead, they most commonly live in Africa, Pakistan, India, China, and Indonesia – locales that are broadly under-resourced.

 

What can be done to combat the ongoing TB epidemic? With today’s current technology, TB can usually be treated with success. But the key is early detection and completion of the prescribed treatment. Lapses in disease reconnaissance and treatment follow up require renewed diligence. New technologies also hold promise, especially for development of more effective TB vaccines. Let’s actively cheer on those leading the charge against our world’s most deadly and universal infection!

 

“Serving The Poor Is Evidence You Are Strong”

December 1st, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Training Sites In Action|

 

“We who are weak are focused on ourselves. We don’t have the capacity to improve the plight of others.” Dr. Pangyan was in northeastern China making his appeal to recruit physicians for the LIGHT medical care team. They looked on doubtfully and inquired, “What sort of capacity?” Pangyan explained, “Sometimes we lack skill, health, money, or time. But more often the missing capacity is vision: we don’t see or feel the distress in people around us. But if you are strong in vision, even without much money or time, you can serve the poor!”

 

Dr. Pangyan speaks from experience. He leads a cadre Chinese nurses, physicians and therapists who focus on caring for underprivileged persons in their city of eight million, people who are disabled, elderly, HIV-infected, and from ethnic minorities. Pangyan is not well paid by China’s standards, but what he lacks in financial capacity, he compensates in enthusiasm.

 

“Why are you so committed to this cause?” asked his potential recruits. Pangyan replied with a scripture from 1 John 3, “‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.'” Pangyan expounded, “We who are so utterly blessed with vision should be serving the poor. It is humble evidence that we are actually strong.”

 

INMED At Kansas University Medical Center

November 24th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing ~ Albert Schweitzer. These words by the Nobel Prize winning philosopher and physician to West Africa are being lived out today in the lives of this group of healthcare professionals gathered at Kansas University Medical Center.

 

They graduated last week from the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course at KUMC, and most have already committed to a service-learning experience at an INMED Training Site. On location, we pair them up with not simply academic institutions, but rather with role models who demonstrate day-by-day how they provide compassionate, cross-cultural healthcare in low-resource communities.

 

Where are they going to receive such fine influence? Here’s a sample: Jordan Crawford, The Surgery, Uganda; Jamie Felzer, Macha Mission Hospital, Zambia; Georgina Green, Tenwek Hospital, Kenya; Taylor Davis, Malumghat Hospital Project, Bangladesh!

 

INMED At The World’s First DO School

November 10th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Healthcare Education|

 

Andrew Taylor Still was founder of osteopathy and of our nation’s first osteopathic medical school. Located in Kirksville, Missouri, AT Still University is also host to the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course. This second weekend in November ATSU students for the third year running gathered for two days of hands-on skills sessions and difficult exams.

 

One ATSU student, Rikki Koebler, drew me aside and commented, “As I graduated from Notre Dame, I was looking for a medical school with a strong international medicine program. This is actually one of the reasons I selected ATSU. And now that I’m finishing the INMED international medicine course, I just couldn’t be more pleased with my decision to come to ATSU!”

 

Trauma Threatens To Overtake Infections

November 3rd, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|

 

One of the most dramatic developments in international public health this decade in the emergence of trauma as a growing cause of life years lost. Some of this trend is due to better control of HIV, one of trauma’s chief competitors, and the growing availability of motor vehicles throughout developing economies.

 

Of all the grotesque causes of trauma, it’s road injuries that lead to the greatest mortality. I witness this firsthand each summer at CEML Hospital, where individuals with motorcycle and vehicular femur, hip and tib-fib fractures present every day, accompanied by a disturbing number of head injuries.

 

What can be done? Clearly, improved emergency medical care is one priority. Risky behaviors must also be addressed, like curbing alcohol consumption and wearing protective helmets. Upgraded highways and bridges not only decrease trauma, but also increase economic output.

 

Naturally, multiple strategies to target a particular injury problem may be more effective than any one strategy alone. Government agencies usually have the greatest power to curb injuries through public education, engineering policy and police enforcement. With the reduction in infectious disease deaths in many developing nations, attention to the task of injury prevention must become a higher priority. All of us involved in international health can champion these redeployments.

 

INMED Grads 3+ Years Serving In Ghana

October 27th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

Tim and Lori Cahill were family medicine residents together at my alma mater: John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth TX. They also took part in the first INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course hosted by JPSH in 2011. Since May 2014, the Cahills and their children Rebekah and Abigail have served at INMED’s Training Site in far northern Ghana, Baptist Medical Center.

 

Tim describes one especially memorable patient: “She had presented with two weeks of abdominal pain and then began vomiting profusely. Her abdomen was tender, mostly in the upper part, and she had a little bit of blood in her vomit. She then began having difficulty breathing and became less responsive. I found her blood sugar to >600mg/dL and concluded she had diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). We started treating her with IV fluids, IV insulin, serial urinalysis to check for ketones, and lots of prayer. Her DKA resolved a few days later and she began feeling well.

 

He also gives us a glimpse into his inspiration: “The hospital hosts morning devotions every day at 7AM for the hospital staff and for patients who may want to take part.  I did not know about these devotions until recently, and in spite of utterly exhaustion from the workload I decided to make these devotions a priority in my routine. What an encouraging time to sing some spiritual songs, listen to a sermon, and interact with some hospital co-workers in a slightly different context than usual. Please pray that there would be a revival among us all to represent Christ well in how we live our lives, both inside and outside the hospital.”

 

I speak from personal experience: healthcare in northern Ghana is outrageously challenging. Would you like to share an encouraging word with the Cahills? Please grace Lori and Tim with a reassuring message.

 

Who Are These 2017 China INMED Course Grads?

October 20th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

For the second year, INMED offered the International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course in Shenyang – a relatively small city of 6 million in far NE China. Among our intriguing graduates are:

 

Grace Liu Xiaoping, back row far left, a family physician in the resort city of Hangzhou, impressed us with her warm social character, near perfect tropical medicine exam performance, and volunteer service in both Cambodia and Egypt. No “foreigner” to self-sacrifice, Grace is intentional about expressing her vibrant personal faith through applying her talents to benefit the poor beyond China’s expansive borders.

 

Melchizedek Gyamfi, back row second from the right, is a Ghanaian medical student studying in China. Like Grace, Melchizedek stood out from among his peers by composing essays expressing remarkable insight onto convoluted international health issues. We have been told that Chicago has more residency-trained Ghanaian physicians than all of Ghana. But Melchizedek won’t be contributing to that statistic. Look for him in Ghana next year, completing his INMED Service-Learning experience while caring for his own countrymen.