INMED At Age Fourteen

June 16th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

This week INMED Board and Staff members invested two days in inspiration and strategic analysis of our mission to better equip healthcare professionals and students to serve the forgotten. Peter Greenspan, obstetrician and Messianic Jew, opened the event event with the account of a tragically isolated woman: Jesus with the Woman at the Well. Dr Greenspan emphasized the lengths to which Jesus went to cross over culture and religious biases to communicate compassion and salvation to this profoundly disadvantaged woman – a model for us all to emulate.

 

As we methodically stepped through each element of INMED’s structure and activity, I was impressed with the steady grow we have witnessed. Fourteen years ago I was INMED’s only staff person, joined shortly by Micah Flint’s dynamic teamwork. Now we’re six full-time staff, flanked by dozens of volunteer faculty in twenty-five nations. Fourteen years ago our budget was $5,500. Today it’s $550,000. But most significant of all is the 500 INMED Graduates emulating compassion and care, so eloquently prescribed by Dr. Greenspan, toward our world’s most isolated people.

 

Refugee Healthcare Phases

June 2nd, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Disaster Management|

 

At this moment, UNHCR estimates more than 63 million people are uprooted – more than at any time since WWII. In step with such mobilization, general aid and healthcare for refugees is becoming progressively more pressing, too.

 

Understanding the Refugee Emergency Phases is especially useful for those like us committed to their welfare:

  • Pre-Emergency Phase – Time for intervention, negotiation, mitigation, and preparation for emergency
  • Emergency Phase – Where refugee death rates rise to 5–60 times higher than normal, and provision of shelter, food, water, basic health and prevention of epidemic diseases (like cholera) is lifesaving.
  • Post-Emergency Maintenance Phase – May last for months to years, and requires ongoing Emergency Phase care, plus security, education, occupations and more mature medical services.
  • Resolution Phase – Voluntary return to home of origin (Repatriation) is always most desirable. Other options include integration in the nation of refuge and resettlement in a third country, the most difficult of all.

 

Refugee healthcare is challenge of truly biblical proportion, and the biblical principle of response endures today: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God – Leviticus 19:33-34

 

Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital Launches INMED Courses

May 26th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

Healthcare for refugees, victims of disaster and the ultra-poor presents unique challenges and requires special skill. INMED’s mission is to provide healthcare personnel with such skill, and our International Medicine & International Public Health Hybrid Courses are premiere resources.

 

INMED Courses are coming again to Mass General Hospital Center for Global Health. Known especially global disaster response, this year’s INMED Courses finishes just one day before the Missioncraft 2017: Leadership in Disaster Relief Course – creating a smooth opportunity for learners to polish both skill sets at one location.

 

The INMED 10-week On-Line Section begin on June 26, with the In-Classroom Section on September 7 – 9 (Thu – Sat) in Boston. Would you like to view some Course Photos? Please use coupon code “BOSTON15” for a 15% discount. Could I assist you with any question? Please message me, Nicholas Comninellis, at nicholas@inmed.us or call my cell at 816-520-6900.

 

INMED Faculty Serving Mosul, Iraq

May 19th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Training Sites In Action|

Dr. Bob for five years mentored fortunate INMED learners at his island clinic in Lake Victoria, Tanzania.  Impressive! But today he writes from a M*A*S*H style field hospital on the outskirts of Mosul – stronghold of ISIS and scene of our world’s bloodiest battles over its liberation.

 

Caution. This is a graphic description… Dr. Bob writes, “The mangled bodies, children with missing legs and or arms, multiple bullet and mortar injuries were something I have never seen before. ISIS regularly shot even children in the back as they tried to escape from Mosul… Our staff poured out the love of our Brother upon these people and this love was often warmly received. Wounded children who had lost both parents in mortar attacks, parents who had lost children, families torn apart and fleeing the violence were comforted, their injuries treated amidst a safe and loving environment… I spent quiet times sitting in a bunker, a high blast wall on one side and sandbags on the other, listening to the fighting in the distance. It was a vivid illustration to me of the even more sinister spiritual battle ensuing, not only there, but throughout the world”

 

Dr. Bob, like most all INMED faculty, is deeply, reverently committed to bold compassion and action, regardless of hazard or geography. We are honored to be his co-laborers.

 

INMED Award Recipient Returns Toward Mosul

May 12th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Disaster Management|

 

Lawand Talal is journeying back into harm’s way. Today the 2017 INMED Compassionate Service to Humanity Award Recipient is departing his post at the University of Missouri and traveling back into our world’s bloodiest conflict: the battle to liberate the city of Mosul from ISIS.

 

Q: What will be your role back in Iraqi Kurdistan?

A: I will represent disabled refugees in their quest of asylum. International law affords them certain rights, but someone who knows the law must advocate on their behalf.

 

Q: Will you feel safe being so near to ISIS?

A: In comparison with the civilians living inside of Mosul, I will be very safe. The suffering of these people, under three years of ISIS domination, is unfathomable.

 

Q: What about the future of your professional career in law?

A: Originally, I intended specialize petroleum business negotiation. However, the horror accompanying crises like these in Syria, Iraq and Sudan now compels me to focus all my energy on safeguarding humanity.

 

Sustainable Development Goals – Too Many Good Ideas?

May 5th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

Over recent decades our world has hosted some remarkable cooperative efforts at increasing the well-being of human kind. The Health for All movement began in 1970s and 80s, emphasized primary healthcare: the provision of essentially health services like nutrition, housing, sanitation and vaccinations. Health for All quite notably emphasized local community responsibility for their own progress.  The Millennium Development Goals highlighted the 2000s, with efforts in eight areas including education, gender equality and environmental sustainability. All in all, the MDGs enjoyed enthusiastic support and measurable success.

 

What’s next? Today we’re in the era of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: seventeen “Global Goals” that include 169 sub-targets between them. These have been painstakingly considered and planned by respected global development professionals, and broadly embraced by both governments and NGOs.

 

But can you name all seventeen? How about just fifty of the sub-targets? Not likely. A commentary in The Economist, for example, argued that 169 SDG targets is too many. The genius of Health for All and the Millennium Development Goals was their simplicity and easy of communication. As our world grapples with cooperative forward progress, let us be vigilant to continue embracing these two proven virtues.

 

Chris Gifford in Cameroon: INMED Grad in Action

April 28th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

“Chris Gifford spent 2 weeks in Muteghene for a training course called ALSO – Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics. He took the instructor portion first and then taught the course to 30 medical students and midwives the following week.” In so doing, Dr. Gifford – on a two-year medical service stent in Cameroon, West Africa – is expressing two of the highest values in today’s approach to international health development: skill multiplication and sustainability.

 

Trace the story of Chris’ life and you can understand how he came to embrace such values. Originally from Wichita, Kansas, I met Chris when he was medical student at Kansas City University. In 2012, Chris took advantage of the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Course, and then complete his INMED Diploma in 2013 with his supervised service-learning experience at Baptist Medical Center in Ghana. All the while, Chris, a man of deep Christian faith, was developing a clearer vision of life beyond his three-year family medicine residency.

 

 

This vision became reality on the fall of 2016, when Chris, his wife Ashley, and their two children moved to Cameroon to serve at Banso and Mbingo Hospitals through World Medical Mission. Would you like to follow their progress in international health development, and occasionally send an encouraging wave? Please just add your email at Chris and Ashley’s blog page: http://careinthevalley.blogspot.com/.

 

My Grandfather Was An IDP

April 21st, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Disaster Management|

Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are one startling facet of today’s global refugee crisis. Accompanying well recognized conflicts in the Syria, Iraq, and Middle East are lesser known yet equally deadly locals of social strife causing people to flee for safety within their own nations.  In South Sudan it’s civil war, not drought, that’s causing evacuation.  Similar violence in Yemen has so far driven two-thirds of the population to mobilize in search of food and safety. The same pattern of violence is unfolding at this moment is Somalia and Nigeria, where terrorized citizens are walking, running, toward the nearest escape.

 

Least I be tempted to believe that such distress is far away and isolated on a distant continent, I need only remember my grandfather, Nicholas Comninellis. In 1941, as the Nazi army entered Athens, Nicholas and his wife Helen, along with my uncle Constantine and my father George, desperately scavenged the docks in search of a ship to carry them to safety. Tragically, the last had already departed. A brave sailor in a skiff took heed to my grandfather’s plight and load the little family aboard. Speeding out into the harbor he shouted to the last ship, “Lower the ladder! Lower the ladder!”

 

My grandfather hoisted his little family up onto that last departing ship, saving their souls from the absolute carnage that shortly befell Athens. They later found refuge on the tiny Greek island of Lemnos, living out the war as internally displaced people similar to those uprooted all around the world today. My grandfather is a reminder to me that these Syrians, Iraqis, Sudanese, and Nigerians are IDPs not so dissimilar from you and me.

 

Pam Franks – 2017 INMED Cross-Cultural Healthcare Service Award Recipient

April 14th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

This award recognizes one who demonstrates care and concern for cultural diverse communities and who gives selflessly of time and resources for their benefit.

 

Pam Franks, RN BSN, began serious cross-cultural endeavors when she and her husband moved to Guatemala. During their five-year residency, she helped lead the medical care of a large Christian organization, which included clinics in remote parts of the country. Back home in Omaha, Pam launched Embrace the Nations in 2009, an organization focused on assisting refugees from Somalia, Sudan, Burundi, Bhutan and Burma. Pam and her team provide English language learning, life skills like vehicle maintenance and parenting, and assisting their children with tutoring and school success. Pam’s insight and vision is broadly respected, and she’s consistently called upon to lead cross-cultural skills training for nursing and medical students, churches and businesses, service organizations, and law enforcement officers.

 

Greg Seager – 2017 INMED Cross-Cultural Healthcare Leadership Award Recipient

April 8th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

This award recognizes those who have made significant leadership contributions to bridging cultural gaps in healthcare services and have set an example for other leaders to emulate.

 

Greg Seager, RN MSN, and his wife, Candi, first became involved in cross-cultural healthcare when invited by their home church. Moving up quickly in leadership, they were soon overseeing six to eight medical teams to Haiti each year. Later they became full-time staff with Mercy Ships, where part of Greg’s role involved Implementing Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) protocols, and program evaluation. Greg’s critique of international healthcare is best embodied in his book, When Healthcare Hurts: An Evidence Based Guide for Best Practices in Global Health Initiatives. In 2010, Greg and Candi launched a new healthcare sending organization to embody these innovations. Christian Health Service Corps today empowers fifty full-time personnel serving in fifteen developing nations.