War At Christmas

December 1st, 2023 by INMED
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

“Christmas Truce” from the Illustrated London News, Jan 9, 1915 by A. C. Michael.


Such a disturbing phrase, “War at Christmas.” Our holiday season is sobered by news and images of immeasurable suffering in Israel and Gaza. Appearing just below these are headlines of the ongoing wars in Ukraine and Sudan. Almost forgotten but severe are the enduring conflicts in Yemen and Syria.


Who is most suffering as a result? Reputable analysis concludes that 74 to 90 percent of modern wars deaths are civilians. In the Iraq war, for example, figures from 2003 to 2013 indicate that of 174,000 casualties only 39,900 were combatants. Who were these other 134,100 civilians? Women and their children. What caused their deaths? Famine and infectious disease.


Warfare of course has afflicted humankind for millennia. Christ Jesus himself was born into a nation under military occupation. His parents were forced to migrate when mother Mary’s contractions began. And immediately thereafter, under threat of violence from the ruler, his family fled to another nation.


Given the history of humanity, War at Christmas seems inevitable. Yet Christ, the Prince of Peace, implores us:


Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. ~ Luke 6:27-31


Impossible to obey? History says otherwise. On Christmas Eve 1914, as depicted in this painting, a widespread spontaneous truce was declared among the weary soldiers of the First World War along the Western and Eastern fronts in Europe. The soldiers exchanged handshakes and gifts of food, drink, and clothing.


War at Christmas is not inevitable, especially when our work throughout the year for justice and reconciliation continues unabated. May our peacemaking in 2024 be redoubled by sincerity, humility and generosity – modeled by the Prince of Peace.


What Is Tropical Medicine Today?

November 16th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|


Malaria, schistosomiasis, ascariasis, Chagas disease, Dengue fever. As a young physician, I was fascinated with these classic tropical diseases. Part of the reason was humanitarian. I was acutely aware that a multitude of humanity continue to suffer from these severe, often preventable maladies. Another part of my fascination was esoteric. These are illness is largely unfamiliar to my colleagues, and I had gained some expertise in their intervention.


INMED’s core Graduate Certificate Course in International Medicine and Public Health equips learners with some basic skill to defend communities against tropical diseases. So prepared, mini INMED learners proceed to an International Service-Learning experience where they can apply the skills under the watchful guidance of an INMED preceptor.


But beyond the education of healthcare professionals, we at INMED also ask deeper questions about the very existence of such tropical diseases today. For example, such diseases are quite prevalent in Philippines, but are largely unknown in neighboring Singapore. What’s the difference? It’s all about economics.  Many communities in Philippines lack adequate housing, nutrition, safe water and medical care, while amid the relative wealth of Singapore these basic necessities abundant and are all but guaranteed.


Most tropical diseases are better identified as diseases of poverty. Wherever poverty exists – especially in warmer climates – these diseases usually flourish. But wherever economies are strong – even within warmer climates – such diseases are usually very well controlled. This truth should challenge health leaders to look beyond simple disease surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment.


What should be today’s highest tropical medicine priority, but a commitment to eliminating the greatest risk factor for its existence: poverty?


What Happened to the Baby Found Roadside?

November 3rd, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|


“On my very first day in Baptist Medical Center in Ghana, the surgeon (who was my preceptor) visited a baby in the NICU who was found on the side of the road a few days before,” writes an INMED Graduate Diploma learner. “A neighbor had heard a noise, found the newborn baby bundled up, and ran to tell the doctor who had been shopping nearby with her sister. I took care of the little baby during my entire stay. He had a few small medical issues but was a healthy newborn when I left.”


Many INMED learners continue to feel close to their International Service-Learning Site after departing. A few weeks later this learner wrote, “Just yesterday, I received WhatsApp messages that the baby had been adopted. His new family had all, separately, prayed for a new baby. I am religiously Hindu, but I found such a deep spiritual connection with the many Christians around me. I have begun to understand the connection that many create with their higher power, especially when they have little else to rely on. I have a great respect for the people of Ghana and especially for those who work so hard to serve others at that hospital.”


INMED Graduates often discover that their experience informs their careers for years to come. She concludes, “I can’t wait to go back and continue helping in any way that I can.”


Who is 2023’s Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient?

October 20th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|


This award was established by the INMED Board of Directors to recognize people who demonstrate care and concern for those in need, who give selflessly of their time and resources, and who inspire others to take similar action.


The 2023 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity recipient is Rick Donlon. Dr. Donlon grew up in New Orleans, graduated from TCU, completed medical school at LSU, and did a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at the University of Tennessee-Memphis.


What happened next marks a remarkable departure from a normal medical career. In 1995, he and three medical school classmates opened a primary-care center for the poor in Memphis’ most medically underserved neighborhood. What’s more, they moved into that neighborhood, where for the next 19 years he led Christ Community Health Services. A remarkable achievement – one often discussed by healthcare professionals, but rarely acted upon. Dr. Donlon also raised seven children and still lives in that neighborhood of Memphis, where he serves as an elder in their house church network.

The 2023 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award Winner Is…

October 6th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management|


This award recognizes individuals and organizations who provide exemplary disaster response services for highly vulnerable communities. In doing so, they accentuate the value of life and provide an exemplary model for us all.


The 2023 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award recipient is Blessings International. Since 1981, this Tulsa, Oklahoma-based, organization has been working to build healthy communities by serving as a reliable source of pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and medical supplies for mission teams, clinics, and hospitals. One focus of Blessings International’s work has been Ukraine, where 15 months into the war the Ministry of Health Ukraine reports 955 medical facilities damaged and 144 destroyed. Currently, 14 million Ukrainians lack even the most basic healthcare.


One of the most powerful interventions has been to supply oncology medicines to the National Cancer Institute in Kyiv, which ran out completely in the early weeks of the war. Another important Blessings International intervention has been to supply basic medications for Ukrainian refugees, who most often fled without their personal supply. Internally displaced within Ukraine, or as refugees in Poland, Blessings International has worked to supply partner organizations lifesaving medications to control, for example, hypertension, heart failure, and diabetes. One laudable reason for the risk response is the Emergency Disaster Relief Fund established in advance by Blessings International.

“Pace, Flexibility, Friendliness – Why I Study at INMED”

September 22nd, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|


“As an international who has had the opportunity to visit, study, and practice in different countries around the world, I still learned a lot in the Master’s in International Health (MIH) Program of INMED,” shares Abiodun Akinwuntan, PhD, Dean of the University of Kansas School of Health Professions. “With the knowledge gained, I am even better prepared to significantly contribute to improving healthcare services in developing countries, and especially in those with very low financial resources. My global health experience and knowledge have certainly been broadened by my participation in the program. The pace, flexibility, and friendliness of the faculty and staff of the program are highly commendable. Despite my very tight official schedule, I was able to go through the program without much difficulty. I recommend the MIH program to anyone interested in global health and in working with underserved communities anywhere in the world.”


Dr. Akinwuntan is a physical rehabilitation specialist whose MIH Service-Learning and Scholarly Project center on acute post-stroke therapies in the setting of Nigeria. In the wake of greater control of infectious diseases, chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerotic vascular disease are leading to greater incidence of stroke, and also greater demand for expertise like that of Dr. Akinwuntan.


Post-MIH, what is next in the career of Dr. Akinwuntan? “My main motivation is to continue to excel in international health-related activities. I visit Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, India, and Australia to explore more international health exchange opportunities for faculty and students as I effectively lead the University of Kansas to successfully undertake many new international health-related initiatives.”


Who Is The 2023 INMED International Healthcare Preceptor?

September 9th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|


This award recognizes individuals who have made an important impact on vision-casting and training of the next generation of international healthcare volunteers. Through their instruction and their role modeling, award recipients express the value of every person – especially those who are the most humble members of our communities.


The 2023 International Healthcare Preceptor Award recipient is Mark Wardle. Dr. Wardle is an osteopathic family physician and Director of both Global Medicine and Medical Spanish at Rocky Vista University’s Utah campus. He completed the INMED Master’s Degree in International Health (MIH) and today guides his students through service-learning experiences in Latin America and East Africa.


Dr. Wardle says, “I have always enjoyed teaching and loved having students and residents rotate with me in clinic, but after a medical mission trip to Honduras where I supervised and taught medical students, I decided that was something I wanted to do full-time.” Remarkably, Dr. Wardle has also been contributing to the scholarly literature in this field with his recent research study, Impact of Global Health Outreach Experiences on Medical Student Empathy and Burnout.


Do International Health Credentials Really Matter?

August 25th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in Healthcare Education|


“You plan to work in Africa?” questioned the health education professional at my interview. His tone was decidedly skeptical. “Then why first do medical residency training? Why don’t you just go now?” This attitude is not isolated. Throughout our health professions is the pervasive image that healthcare for people of lesser means should not require the same standard of training or care expected for those who are more wealthy or more familiar to us.


On the balance, health resources available to those who are minorities, low-income, chronically ill, and victims of war or disaster are often less, much less. But should we agree that it’s acceptable for healthcare professionals advocating for such people to themselves be less prepared or qualified? I believe not.


Formal healthcare education and credentials are important. They validate skill to potential partners and employers. They confirm expertise to governments and authorities. Psychologically, they affirm the commitment and the mission of the professional. Socially, credentials help to foster communities among those who share similar experiences, communities that often prove profoundly encouraging.


We at INMED are committed to filling the gaps in traditional education so that healthcare professionals are prepared for unique needs of people who are forgotten, undereducated, disabled, elderly, veterans, refugees, and migrants. Each INMED Credential – including next month’s Hands-On Skills Professional Qualification Courses – earns graduate credit and/or continuing medical education hours.


A few years later I was applying for a medical license in the nation of Ghana – a nation where malaria is the leading cause of death. The government agent asked to see my medical residency training credential. “Oh, excellent,” he replied, examining the document. “We wouldn’t permit anyone less qualified to serve our citizens of Ghana.”


Who Earned The 2023 Cross-Cultural Healthcare Service Award?

August 11th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|


The INMED Cross-Cultural Healthcare Service Award recognizes one who demonstrates care and concern for culturally diverse communities and who gives selflessly of time and resources for their benefit.

The 2023 INMED Cross-Cultural Healthcare Service Award recipient is Julie Rosé. Dr. Rosé and her husband raised four children and practiced family medicine for 24 years in Hiawatha, Kansas – including a very busy obstetrics and newborn care service in that rural community. Three years ago, they began a new career path to do what they had always dreamed: international medical care. Dr. Rosá earned the INMED Master’s Degree in International Health, and then joined the medical education team at Kanad Hospital in the Middle Eastern nation of United Arab Emirates.
Always with an eye towards expanding the skills of others, Dr. Rosé is point-person for the development of a new family medicine residency program to train primary care physicians in the UAE – physicians with an outlook for comprehensive and continuous care of the entire person in the context of their family.

Could YOU Earn an INMED Graduate Diploma in International Health?

July 28th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|


What should be our expectations for healthcare concerning those who are low-income, minorities, disabled, or elderly? What about medical needs of people who are refugees, migrants, chronically ill, or victims of disaster or military conflict? Wouldn’t we aim to respond with  compassion and excellence?


To this end, could YOU qualify to earn an INMED Graduate Diploma? This credential would affirms that in addition to your good heart, you have also equipped yourself with quality skills and supervised experience applying those skills to aid vulnerable people. Three international health tracks are available: International Medicine, International Nursing, and International Public Health.


The INMED Graduate Diploma has two parts, the first of which is the Graduate Certificate. This eight-week, synchronous online course is offered five times each year and addresses important but unfamiliar diseases, maternal-newborn health, community development, cross-cultural skills, and health leadership. It fills significant gaps that are missing in mainstream healthcare education.


The second part is Service-Learning (rotation) at an INMED Service-Learning Site in one of 25 nations. This experience is supervised by faculty who live on location and will guide you through formative opportunities to grow your expertise while serving local people in ways that are culturally appropriate and most effective. View these Service-Learning Sites and ask yourself, Where would I like to go?


643 graduates since 2004 have earned an INMED Graduate Diploma. One of these is Dr. Kevin: “My experience with INMED in SE Asia was outstanding. It was definitely a time that I will always cherish. I saw many patients and felt like I was able to contribute. The INMED Graduate Diploma in International Medicine & Public Health Program had an overwhelming impact on my personal life and my academic endeavors. The INMED resource materials are well organized and useful. The infectious disease component was a good overview of the more common tropical diseases. My experience solidified my desire to do full-time overseas work in the future.” Dr. Kevin and his family returned to SE Asia where they have now been serving full-time for over a decade.


Could YOU, too, earn an INMED Graduate Diploma in International Medicine, Nursing, or Public Health? I would be pleased to further explore this possibility with you. Please message me: [email protected]