World’s Most Powerful People

February 6th, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action, INMED Training Sites In Action|

Most-powerful-People-on-Planet

 

This week we witnessed the Iowa Caucuses. Next week come the New Hampshire Primaries. Each display some of our nation’s most popular, influential people. But there exists power of a vastly different character and magnitude. The book of Matthew records Jesus’ reference to such power: “Jesus called his disciples together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave'” ~ Matthew 20:25-26

 

Servant power. One example is Tammy Callaway. Today she’s a nurse living in Kansas City, and a student in the INMED International Public Health Hybrid Course. And tomorrow? Let Tammy tell the story, “I came to the Exploring Medical Missions Conference last year hosted at Graceway Church and really enjoyed meeting everyone and going through the different stations. My family and I are planning to depart in June 16 to Zambia. We will actually be living at the Kafulafuta Mission station where one of the INMED Training Sites: Mushili Health Center.  I plan on assisting at the clinic, and I’m looking forward to taking this course to help me at that mission.”

China – INMED’s New Course Venue

January 29th, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration, INMED Action Steps For You, INMED Training Sites In Action|

china-course

 

Since 2004 INMED has been providing supervised, formative experiences for healthcare personnel to serve in the world’s poorest communities via locations in twenty-five developing nations, as well as the United States. Accompanying this service-learning are robust courses covering the principles of international medicine and public health. Until now, these courses were offered only at United States locations: Glendale CA, Fort Worth TX, Kansas City MO, Kirksville MO, and Pittsburgh PA. Over the last two years INMED’s leader have explored potential course sites outside of the US, and today we’re animated to announce…

 

Shenyang, China, is now an INMED course location. H’Image Doctor and LIGHT Family Medicine Residency, situated in Shenyang, regularly receives INMED learners for their service learning experience, and now also host the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course. The online section begins on February 22, and the in-classroom section will be held on July 18-19. Here are the China Course Details. Who will take advantage of this particular offering? Chinese physicians and academic, Western physicians working in China, and the large number of foreign students earning healthcare degrees in China. You, too, are invited to consider this training opportunity, and to also become acquainted with some of the most inspiring people in Asia!

INMED Grad Teaching In Togo, West Africa

January 23rd, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

friesen-melissa-togo

 

I met Melissa Friesen in 2011 when she participated in the INMED International Medicine & Public Health Intensive Course in Kansas City. Like most INMED students, I found Melissa to be a person highly motivated to serve the world’s most undervalued people. Just six months later Melissa, a nurse practitioner from Xenia, Ohio, said goodbye to her many friends in order “to follow God’s leading to Togo, West Africa, where I desire to use my skills to improve health and build God’s church alongside a team in the city of Mango, Togo in West Africa.”

 

One of the most inspiring elements of Melissa’s career is the launch of nurse aide training: “We have 18 students, most of whom have no exposure to the world of health care prior to now. For many ‘washing your hands’ meant little more than dipping your hands in a bowl of plain water, so we started with the very basics. This past week they learned how to take vital signs, and in the afternoons we had some fun with skits about maintaining patient confidentiality, which can be a huge challenge in this community where everybody knows everybody else’s business.” One of our best nurses, a native of Togo, moved here to help us train the aides. He is an excellent teacher, and I am praising God that he will be with us for the remaining course of instruction.”

 

 

Kidnaped in West Africa

January 16th, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

ken-elliott-djibo

 

As a new doctor I schemed to volunteer in the world’s most poorest nation: Burkina Faso. Working at a SIM clinic in the village of Piéla, I overheard the MAF pilot mention making a flight to Djibo – a desert outpost in the north. There I met Ken and Joyce Elliot, an Australian couple, who established an new medical care center in the 1970s from the remnants of a mobile army field hospital.  In his austere locale were many children, like the one I photoed below, so weak and malnourished the could not swallow and required a feeding tube. Also common in Djibo were adults with kidney stones and renal failure, all connected with the ubiquitous dearth of drinking water.

 

baby-with-feeding-tube

 

Ken and Joyce Elliot have continued these four decades working in isolation and blazing heat, serving Jesus and the people who He loves. Word now is that the Elliots have been kidnaped by a group aligned with al-Qaida. “The fact that he is a missionary, as I understand it, is not going to be good. [The kidnappers] will tend to see that as being not so much the good works he’s been doing since the 70s for the local people, but as being a missionary spreading the word of Christianity. So that will not be good for them.” Please read their account by the Bible Society and intercede, please, for this couple’s defense.

 

Inspired Generosity Surrounding Me

January 9th, 2016 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

2015-emmc-student-scholarship-recipients copy

 

I am privileged to enjoy a circle of illustrative individuals; people who are both inspiring and generous. Pictured here is some of their further influence: a sample of the 250 students who received scholarships  to participate in the 10th annual, 2015 INMED Exploring Medical Missions Conference. Who are these mysterious individuals? They number over one hundred, and to a woman or man they are friends of deep conviction, dedicated to the preservation of human compassion as not only a career tract but also as a lifestyle.

 

Space permitting, let me tell you about of one couple: Ted and Kim Higgins. As a general surgery resident at Yale University, Ted leaped at the opportunity to serve under medical mentors for six months at Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti. Inspired through that experience, Ted and Kim embarked on a twenty-five year schedule of providing surgical care in Haiti and Dominican Republic – a pattern of service that continues even today. The Higgins not only provide the single greatest financial support for the Exploring Medical Missions Conference, but have also offered their expertise at this event since its inception. Please join me in congratulating individuals of such inspired generosity!

 

 

Global Health – The Formula Is Not This Complicated

December 31st, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration, International Public Health, Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|

complicated-equation

 

You and I and most of our international neighbors share a common passion: increase people’s healthy years of life. But so very many factors are involved: cultural differences, low resources, economic interests, political disagreement, armed conflicts, profiteering… All this weighed heavily upon me as I labored to identify a simple but effective model for global health about which to build the first INMED International Medicine & Public Health curriculum.

 

I ultimately selected the Human Development Index (HDI). This standard is used throughout the United Nations and is based upon three measures: gross domestic product (GDP), adult literacy (including education attainment), and life expectancy. Developers of the HDI believed it could be used not only as a measure of development but also as a broad model for comprehensive development. Why? Simply put, these three factors are intimately interconnected. Whatever advances economic status most always advances health status. What educational gains realized are usually accompanied by health gains. And, improved physical health is closely connected with educational and economic progress. Want to advance global health? The formula is

 

  • Increase literacy and general education
  • Increase economic development
  • Promote health through risk factor reduction
  • Intervene against the leading causes of death and disability

 

They marvelously complement one another. Not so very complicated, after all.

A Gift To The World: It Could Be You

December 25th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration, INMED Action Steps For You|

christmas-child

 

Today, Christmas Eve Day, I’m writing to INMED’s graduates: the 434 individuals who have earned the INMED Diploma in International Public Health (DIPH) and Diploma in International Medicine & Public Health (DIM&PH). They have achieved these academic credentials through both rigorous didactic study and on-site service experience in a very-low income community. But more importantly they, almost to the person, are engaged in career service for the world’s most poor.

 

This Christmas, this year, what can you give that will be most significant? Consider the gift of yourself – your time and your talent to benefit people who lack the resources to improve their own estate. Such giving can indeed be effective when made in a spirit of humility, dedication, and empowerment. Such was the approach of Christ who taught us, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:26-28.

Be The Doctor Your Parents Always Wanted You To Marry

December 18th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

be-the-doctor

 

American is home to some 800,000 practicing physicians. While generally more educated than the national average, these physicians increasing reflect America as a whole in terms of ethnicity and values. So why is “Be the doctor your parents always wanted you to marry” an important reminder? Simply because physicians can make poor personal decisions – even grave ones – just like any other citizen.

 

Self-sacrifice for the good of humanity is a laudable virtue. It’s also among the stated Values of INMED, along with a spirit of partnership, wise stewardship of resources, and focused commitment toward forgotten people. Most all parents dream of their children marrying someone lead by such virtues. So to my medical colleagues, step it up! Be the doctor who would honor your parents, inspire your children, and make your father- or mother-in-law proud.

Where There Is No Doctor Or Nurse

December 11th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Uncategorized|

childhood-deaths

Concentration of childhood death worldwide

 

Newborns and young children are by far the most susceptible to illness and death – especially those living in low-income nations. In North America we are appalled over the death of a child, were such horrific events are rare and almost always preventable. But in much of Africa and southern Asia one child in five dies before starting school. In Angola, where I continue to work each summer, pediatric death is so frequent that families normally expect a number of their offspring to not survive.

 

physician-density

Concentration of physicians worldwide

 

What’s the world’s response this is atrocity? Clearly this is a complex question. But one indication of response is the distribution of healthcare personnel with potential to intervene. In comparison with the concentration of childhood death, the concentration of physicians is almost entire inverse. Where there is the most preventable childhood death we also find the very fewest physicians.

 

Such reality is the very reason for organizations like INMED – equipping healthcare personnel with unique vision and skills necessary to care for our world’s most forgotten.

 

 

INMED’s Largest Class Of IMPH Students

December 4th, 2015 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration, INMED Action Steps For You|

2015-kirksville-mo-imph-course-graduates-560

 

November 22, 2015, thirty-three healthcare professionals were awarded the hard-earned INMED Academic Qualification in International Medicine & Public Health. The majority of participants were medical students at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri, accompanied by physicians and nurses from as far away as British Columbia, Canada. They studied online for nine weeks in a highly structured learning experience to master the principles of diseases of poverty, low-resource HIV care, mother-newborn care, international public health, disaster management, cross-cultural skills, and health leadership. They then traveled to Kirksville MO for three days of in-person skill developing surrounding newborn resuscitation, complicated obstetrics, wound care, disaster triage, and community health surveying. What’s next? Look for these graduates to complement this credential with an INMED International Service Learning experience in a developing nation.