Who Is Chairman of Family Medicine At Hainan University, China?

February 17th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

Today I’m writing from the Continuing Medical & Dental Education Conference in Chang Mai, Thailand. This biannual event brings together humanitarian health leaders from all over Asia for two weeks of analysis and re-equipping. Included among the 700+ participants are several INMED graduates engaged in healthcare on this continent, including Tim Kubacki, John Gibson and Timothy Stephens.

 

Dr. Stephens was part of INMED’s very first graduating class: 2004-05. And since then? Beyond mastering Mandarin and fathering three children, Tim and his wife have invested ten years living and serving on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. Simultaneously, China has undergone a massive transformation in healthcare policy to emphasize primary care – much like the United States in the 1990s. This requires a similar refitting of Chinese medical education. From where will China find the academics to produce their new cadre of family physicians? Let me introduce Timothy Stephens, Chairman of Family Medicine at Hainan University!

 

Comfort For Suffering That Medicine Won’t Fix

February 10th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

“I like giving patients medicine that will help them. I like draining pleural effusions, seeing the fluid run out, and people breathing easier again. I like setting broken bones. I like delivering healthy babies. I do not like problems I can’t solve. I hate suffering that medicine won’t fix,” says Rebekah Rose, INMED International Medicine & Public Health Course Graduate. Since completing this learning experience December, Rebekah has been applying it “on the field” in Papua New Guinea. See the earlier INMED blog post about Rebekah from December 30, 2016.

 

Rebekah continues, “Figuring out patients’ medical problems and treating them is rewarding, but even more precious than all the procedures, prescriptions, and the solved puzzles is to have with patients open their hearts to me and to let me be God‘s vessel to comfort them and give them hope… I am not particularly good with words and I’m not exceptionally holy. And yet people invite me into their pain and fears, make themselves vulnerable to me. The most amazing thing I have seen here so far is the changed look in a person’s face when God has reached out and comforted them.”

 

INMED Distinctives: Field Experience

February 3rd, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You, INMED Grads In Action|

 

Asena Madison, pictured second from the left, is presently serving in Ghana at Ankaase Methodist Hospital – an experience demanding astute skills in unusual diseases of poverty, complicated obstetric problems, and cross-cultural dilemmas. You remember Asena, don’t you? In my post dated January 20th she’s pictured among the graduates of INMED’s comprehensive International Medicine & Public Health Course offered at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

 

Asena Madison’s journey brings to light one of INMED’s proudest distinctions: the essential nature of supervised field experience. A student can excel in mastering facts and in analyzing questions from a distance. But the best test of ability – and most ideal crucible for molding that ability – is found is practical experiences that call upon learners like Asena to apply her foundation of facts and analytical abilities for the benefit of those whom she serve – whether in Richmond, Virginia, or in Ghana, West Africa.

 

RNs Are Welcome in the Premier INMED Course

January 27th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

No name is a perfect reflection on the substance of an organization. GE makes more the light bulbs. NASA goes far beyond launching rockets. Similarly, INMED – the Institute for International Medicine – offers opportunities beyond curative healthcare and not simply for those in the medical profession.

 

An important example: RNs are welcome in the premier INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course. This learning opportunity equips RNs with the essential concepts, knowledge and skills to be well prepared for the very unique challenges of serving people of very diverse world views, and under circumstances where resources are uncomfortably deficient. The INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course is offered on Dates & Locations many times each year throughout the US and China.

 

Indeed, no name is a perfect reflection on the character of a person or entity. It’s the content within that defines one. Define yourself through attributes of intentional compassion and action on behalf of those who are poor, orphaned, sick, alone, afraid, abandoned, and in search of refuge.

 

INMED’s First Graduates From Virginia Commonwealth University

January 20th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

Richmond is the home of many firsts in Virginia history: In 1609 John Smith and company established Jamestown. In 1740 the First Great Awakening broke out in the city. Here in 1862 the USS Monitor clashed with the CSS Virginia (aka, Merrimac). Also in Richmond, hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University, INMED graduated the first class of International Medicine & Public Health students in the state.

 

From where came the inspiration to offer such an opportunity? Scott Armistead, standing at the feet of George Washington. I first met Scott in 1991 when he was a family medicine resident at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Scott particularly impressed me with his gentle and strong spirit, and wholehearted commitment to remote people. Three years later Scott and his family moved to United Arab Emirates and then onward to Pakistan, where for the next twenty years they gave of themselves in healthcare and education.

 

Now on faculty at the VCU College of Medicine, Scott Armistead’s naturally magnetic persona rapidly drew students and colleagues to be inspired by his vision and lifestyle. In February, he leads the seven of them on a month-long service-learning experience in Ghana. And what better preparation than the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course!

 

Nutrition Triage In Haiti

January 13th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

“Almost 100 families showed up for nutritional screening,” describes Matt Giesbrecht. “Most of the families came from remote and very poor areas. It was amazing to see their eagerness when food was served. Survival instinct kicked in as these little ones guarded their bowls. So much to be thankful for!”

 

Matt Giesbrecht is an RN from California who has been living in Oriani, Ouest, Haiti, for the last year. I first met Matt in Fort Worth as he was completing the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Course. Coincidently  the very first lesson in this course is assessment and management of nutritional disorders.

 

Matt continues, “We only took children in the ‘red’ zone on this first day. Many more children were given return cards for next week. It was simply too busy to treat everyone. The red zone is the most serious level of malnutrition on the scale. Tomorrow, we will take 6 of the children down to Port in the ambulance for emergency nutrition stabilization.” Great work, Matt!

 

Positive News: Population Growing And Poverty Shrinking

January 6th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|

 

Positive News: Amid our world’s growing population, the portion of people living in extreme poverty has diminished nonetheless. Reliable data gathered from the World Bank, among other sources, indicates that over the last two hundred years the world population grew from about one billion to seven billion. Yet in 1820 the portion of people living hand-to-mouth (defined as spending less than $1.25 in today’s dollars) has fallen from greater than 90 percent to about 20 percent. More recently, the number of extremely poor people in the world is three times lower than in 1970. Remarkable!

 

To what can be attributed this remarkable progress? While such an answer is complex, some important factors include:

  • Industrialization, leading to mass production of life-sustaining products
  • Agricultural advancement, prompting greatly increased yields
  • Improved physical health, promoting economic productivity and decreased birth rates

 

While we continue to promote the welfare of all humankind, we can also be encouraged by the assurance of very real progress. Read more at https://ourworldindata.org/world-poverty/

 

From Germany To INMED And Papua New Guinea

December 30th, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

Let me introduce you to Rebekah Rose, a medical student in Germany. Above is an except from her personal newsletter, chronicling Rebekah’s growing interest in international healthcare, her participation in the INMED 2016 Pittsburgh PA International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course, and direct flight to Papua New Guinea to apply all she learned through a supervised service-learning experience at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, an INMED Training Site.

 

Says Rebekah, “My grandparents served as missionaries in Papua New Guinea and that my dad lived there for the first 17 years of his life… This history was however not the primary reason for my choosing this place—I chose it because the hospital and work there appealed to me… I don‘t know what God has planned, but I do find this amazing (that Kidjip is just 20 miles from where my father lived) and feel truly blessed to be able to be right there and live in the culture and with the people that meant so much to my grandparents and among whom my dad was raised.” Please enjoy reading Rebekah Rose’s complete newsletter account.

 

What Moves You?

December 23rd, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

What are the experiences that make you feel choked up, that suddenly captivate your attention,  cultivate passion within you, that ignite your soul with power – experiences invigorate you with energy and vision? I ask because at this interval most of us all are reflecting on the previous year and preparing for the next, so identifying what moves you is especially relevant.

 

Some individuals, being more analytical in their approach to existential motivation, asking questions like How can I attain my financial goals? and What’s required to succeed at work/school? But the reality of human nature is that such single mindedness can be rather easily thwarted by a sale on a product they want to purchase or by the seduction of an extra appealing vacation day.

 

What truly moves you, regardless of whether a more analytical or more emotion person, has the power to focus and magnify both the energy and satisfaction of your life. Myself, I’m most powerfully moved by actions of bravery and compassion, like those captured in this recent photo of a refugee fleeing brutality passing his baby under a barbed wire fence on the Serbo-Hungarian border, highlighting Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.

 

 

The powerful passions symbolized by similar actions lie at the foundation of my own service at INMED, in China and in Angola. What moves you? Identify this – refine it and steer it as necessary – and I believe that you too will realize greater energy and satisfaction in 2017.

 

Aleppo Evacuation Ends With Thousands Ensnared

December 17th, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|

 

The situation within the Syrian city of Aleppo, in a word,  complicated. This major Syrian city has been a flash point in the heath political/military conflict that has incinerated this nation since 2011. In recent weeks, government forces have made gains against opposition forces within Aleppo. Amid increasing carnage, world leaders successfully pressured both side to allow a ceasefire wherein both civilians and combatants could escape the certain death awaiting them in Aleppo’s dilapidated quarters.

 

This historic ceasefire and civil mobilization began yesterday with the arrival in Aleppo of ambulances and buses designated to transport tens of thousands of children, families, mothers, fathers, daughters and son away from the bulls-eye of military strategists. Yet just hours later the exodus was halted. A government communiqué stated, “All women and children in areas controlled by rebel fighters have been taken out,” and “all those who wished to had left the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.” Simultaneously, journalists and political observes decried the fact that thousands of non-combatants remained stranded within Aleppo.

 

Tomorrow, December 17, the United States will be observing arguably the busiest shopping day of the year. Let us all pause at least a moment to observe and intercede on behalf of these multitudes ensnared and lying within the cross hairs of death.