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From Rescue To Resilience



Disasters and ongoing deprivation mark the first years of this new century. Just consider Haiti’s earthquake, Pakistan’s flood, Somalia’s war, and North Korea’s hunger. The heartening response from many is to donate our personal time, talent, and treasures to provide rescue and assistance to those in distress in the world’s most impoverished communities. Just witness the thousands of healthcare professionals volunteering for short-term overseas assignments – even paying their own way for the privilege of assisting. What a remarkable effort!


We must move beyond the rescue mentality. From Rescue To Resilience is INMED’s theme drawing towards the 2011 Exploring Medical Missions Conference. We will be illuminating those interventions that actually build more resilient communities; populations who are at less risk and less likely to ever need rescue assistance. These interventions often include economic development, improvements in basic literacy and education, and promoting proven effective health interventions.


To build resilient communities we must also invest in equipping national healthcare personnel to provide for their own. Consider the example of Dennis Palmer, DO, and Nancy Palmer, PhD, who left their faculty positions at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2004 to provide medical care at Banso Baptist Hospital in Cameroon. The Palmers, committed to creating a cadre of skilled Cameroonian physicians, joined arms with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board to launch an internal medicine residency program. Today, under Palmer’s supervision, Cameroonian health personnel are sharpening their skills as they work to heal their countrymen.


How can you yourself play a part in moving communities from rescue to resilience? First, connect with reputable sending organizations like those who will be represented at the Exploring Medical Missions Conference. Consider also increasing your own insight into the field via an INMED’s Self-Paced Course is a readily available resource. Finally, move out to serve a community in need like Banso Baptist Hospital or any number of INMED Training Sites around the world. Consider seriously Dennis Palmer’s invitation, “We are always needing more help with the teaching, especially in the sub-specialties of medicine. Volunteers provide essential help to us, and their commitment to serving humanity is an important example.”


Earthquakes, floods, and political crises are inevitable. Communities that are educated, economically growing, and staffed with skilled healthcare personnel can better withstand these challenges. Please join INMED this year in building resilience among the world’s most forgotten people.

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