What’s So “Good” about the “Samaritan”?

November 26th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

 

The virtue of the Good Samaritan inspires humanitarian efforts throughout the world. Leaders in disaster response, healthcare, search-and-rescue, and hunger relief all invoke this model of action and compassion. Who was the Samaritan and what was so good about this person? Christ described the account in Luke 10:25-37. Please read entirely:

 

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

 

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

 

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

 

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

 

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

 

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

 

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

 

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

Most striking about this account is the other mindedness of the Samaritan. Was he concerned about his personal schedule? No, he paused his journey. Was he focused on his financial status? No, he freely gave out of his resources. Where his actions motivated by desire for fame? No, Samaritans were despised foreigners and he had no clue Christ would reference him.

 

In concluding, Christ urged, “Go and do likewise.” Many of our colleagues in the caring professionals today follow this other mindedness model of kindness toward those who are disadvantaged, making service for and empowerment of forgotten people an intentional career commitment. Countless lives are preserved through their ongoing devotion, whether in their home communities or in distant locales.

 

But the meaning of the Good Samaritan is even deeper. Remember the context of the account? “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ replied to love God and love one another. The imperative of other mindedness is closely tied to our spiritual health. The goodness of the Samaritan’s actions were an expression of the condition of his heart. Today, as we consider those in need, what does our response say about the condition of our hearts?

 

Therapeutic Giving

November 19th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|


 

These winter days are becoming shorter, and colder. Holidays are approaching, and we know we’re ‘supposed’ to be joyful. But amid the pandemic, financial uncertainty, and social unrest, we just cannot find much for which to give thanks.

 

In this season suicide climbs, mental health facilities fill up, counselors overbook their schedules, and the number of antidepressant prescriptions soars. Justifiably, people want a cure for the blues. But medications take weeks to begin working, counselors start at $100 per hour, and who really wants to be in “therapy”?

 

Let’s consider a “new” solution: therapeutic giving

 

Selfless giving is a potent cure for melancholy and depression. In his landmark book, Give To Live, Douglas M. Lawson, PhD, reveals the findings of extensive research on the health effects of giving. It didn’t matter what people gave away. Gifts of time, money, or material possessions all had a similar affects. The factor that mattered most was the frequency and the attitude with which people gave. Those who made giving a regular part of their lives experienced improved relationships, better sleep, longer life expectancy, and significantly less depression.

 

One of the most visible examples of therapeutic giving at work can be seen in the life of Andrew Carnegie. This impoverished Scottish immigrant established the Pennsylvania steel industry in 1865 and by 1900 sold it for $480 million. But Carnegie hit a snag along the way. He became plagued by despair and paralyzed by physical illnesses linked to depression. His solution? Give away his wealth.

 

In 1889, Carnegie wrote The Gospel of Wealth, stating that all personal wealth beyond what was required by one’s family should be regarded as a trust fund to benefit the community. Carnegie added, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.” Carnegie established organizations that, among other objectives, founded 2,509 libraries around the world. Carnegie also became known as one of the most joyous philanthropists of his day.

 

Few of us have access to the abundance of Carnegie, but the power of giving is undeterred by one’s financial resources. Each of us possesses time and talent – perhaps even some treasure as well. As we give wealth to those outside, we may also discover we also receive health on the inside.

 

Who Was The Very First In Medical Missions?

November 5th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

 

The early history of international medical missions is punctuated by one person inspiring another. Dr. John Thomas (1757-1801) was a British ship doctor with the for-profit East India Company working in southern Asia. But in 1787 he left the company to remain in Bangladesh, where he learned the language and ministered to the sick who came to him for help. It was Thomas who later recruited William Cary – one of history’s most influential church planters – to India.

 

In 1866 the first American physician, John Scudder, arrived to work in Sri Lanka & India. His granddaughter, Ida Scudder, caught a similar vision and later founded Vellore Christian Medical College in India, 1900. Today, VCMC is one of the most respected and influential Health Centers in Asia.

 

Peter Parker, pictured here, was the first American physician in China. Arriving in 1834, he developed a program to train Chinese medical students resulting in the first modern hospital in the nation the future. Parker later motivated Dr. John Abercrombie to establish the Edinburgh Medical Mission Society. By 1915, EMMS operated 54 mission hospitals in China, India, Malawi, and Israel.

 

Thomas, Scudder and Parker were the first in international medical ministries. Understanding the pattern of their influence should cause us to ask ourselves, “Who inspires me?” and “Whom do I inspire?” The future of medical missions depends on such pivotal questions.

Meet INMED at GMHC in Louisville Next Week!

October 29th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

The Global Missions Health Conference is one of just three premier annual US international health events. On Thu-Sat, Nov 11-13, please join INMED for GMHC in Louisville, Kentucky!

 

Thursday, from 10am to 1:30pm INMED is hosting the Diseases of Poverty Update Course, with Nicholas Comninellis presenting Fighting the Diseases of Poverty Overview and Launching Your International Healthcare Career, plus Tim Myrick presenting  Tissue Helminth Diseases (schistosomiasis, filariasis) and Tropical Medicine Case Studies. Please register now to hold your place for the Diseases of Poverty Update Course!

 

At the INMED exhibit on the main floor David Culpepper will be offering ultrasound teaching and scanning opportunities throughout the conference days. Elizabeth Burgos will be on hand to talk with you about international service-learning options at INMED Training Sites in 25 nations. Leda Rivera will field you questions about INMED Academic Credit Courses. And Val Geier can assist with CME/ACE accreditation for your upcoming medical education events.

 

The best part of such conferences is the opportunity to talk together in person about inspiration and aspirations. We’ll be looking forward to a conversation you at GMHC next week!

 

Hope Against Pus, Pain, and Hunger

October 22nd, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

“Adorable, little two-year-old Jacinta arrived at Cavango Hospital in severe respiratory distress,” says Tim Kubacki. “Ultrasound revealed a large amount of liquid in the space surrounding her heart and in one chest cavity. We drained several cups of thin pus, likely from TB, the consistency of motor oil, from her chest cavity, which had collapsed her lung, and about two cups of thick, creamy pus from her heart cavity (pericardium) with no available anesthesia. She was frightened but held still throughout the procedure that required repeating three more times in the coming days… Jacinta’s caring mother is a joy, full of questions and interested in everything we do, crying during her daughter’s procedures but looking on in amazement as she sees all of the pus removed from around her tiny heart.”

 

Tim is a family physician and a 2012 graduate of the INMED Professional Diploma in International Medicine and Public Health. Since 2011, he and his family have lived in the African nation of Angola, where Dr. Kubacki has been one of my colleagues at CEML Hospital. Passionate for those in rural Angola who have absolutely no healthcare, Kubacki, with his colleagues from both Angola and Brazil, serve at Cavango Hospital – the location so remote that travel by air is often the only option.

 

 

But in Angola, remote is where most people live. Life in that region is hard, with malnutrition and trauma making people especially susceptible. Surmises Kubacki, “Severe infections and addressing the resulting accumulations of pus are a common part of our work because of lack of access to medical care causing delayed treatment for infections that otherwise would be treated simply and painlessly much earlier. Lately, it seems every day we are draining pus from various body cavities in multiple people… from the heart, the muscles, the skin, the abdomen, chest cavities, the neck.” Please read more about Dr. Kubacki and hope against pus, pain, and hunger at KubackisInAngola.

Controlling The Next Emergency Pandemic

October 15th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|


 

Is the COVID-19 Pandemic simply a once-in-a-lifetime threat? Or rather, is this a warning of health emergencies to come? Today’s globalization of travel and commerce make communicable, infectious diseases much more transmissible person-to-person and nation-to-nation. August’s analysis by the Center for Global Development projects that the probability of another COVID-19-like pandemic in the next 25 years is 47-57%. In conclusion, the report calls for great investment into prospective pandemic risk reduction, infectious disease surveillance, and robust response planning.

 

This fall, INMED is offering the Emergency Pandemic Control Course. This two-credit-hour, graduate level Learning opportunity emphasizes objective investigation into critical questions, including identifying infectious agents, modes of transmission, incubation periods, and effective modalities for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This course also highlights how emergency pandemic control also often requires deliberate interventions to address special ethical challenges: disease-associated racism, resistance to local and international cooperation, and extreme stress placed upon low-resource health systems.

 

INMED’s Emergency Pandemic Control Course can be taken as a standalone, or as part of the INMED Master’s Degree in International Health. Without question, the next 25 years will see significant growth in international travel in commerce. Armed with pandemic control skills, healthcare leaders of today and tomorrow can save our world’s citizens from a twice-in-a-lifetime threat.

 

Is It Ethical To Send Covid Vaccine Abroad?

October 1st, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|

 

700,000 Americans are now documented dead from COVID-19, making it the deadliest disease event in American history. This grim stat exceeds even the number of deaths from the infamous 1918 Spanish Influenza. To date, 400 million doses of highly effective COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the US and just now added is a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for people of higher risk.

 

But some ethicists and public health experts are crying foul. At this same moment, less than 1% of people living in low-income nations have received even one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the disease runs unchecked throughout Africa, South America, and southern Asia. This vaccine inequity, they argue, violates the universal principles of beneficence and justice. Even the principle of enlightened self-interest, also known as common good, is violated because in a global pandemic actually no one is safe until everyone is safe.

 

Vaccine equity is only one pressing issue in international health today. Others include global gender inequality, globalism vs “statism,” and persistent “brain drain.” This fall, INMED is offering the International Healthcare Ethics Course, taught by Scott Armistead. Dr. Armistead and his family lived in Pakistan from 1999-2015, speaking Urdu and providing medical care at Bach Christian Hospital, plus two more years service at Kanad Hospital in the United Arab Emirates.

 

The INMED International Healthcare Ethics Course is a two-credit hour learning opportunity, either standalone or as part of the Master’ Degree in International Health, and includes credible voices from both Euro-American and other cultural perspectives. Course graduates will gain an understanding of the breadth of complexity from which sound ethical decision-making occurs in an international context and be capable of speaking wisdom into compelling issues like vaccine equity.

 

The Most Inspiring International Health Book?

September 24th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

 

Daktar is the most riveting account of faith and healthcare I’ve ever enjoyed. Set amid the agonizing 1971 Bangladesh war for independence from Pakistan, Viggo Olson describes his very personal experience with injured and dying Bangladeshi people, and his heroic efforts to bring compassionate healthcare amid the chaos. Disabled in the midst of the fighting by his on fractured arm, I felt the pain and determination of this author’s struggle to be effective against all odds.

 

Diplomat in Bangladesh is also a befitting subtitle, as this book also documents Dr. Olson’s years long effort to establish a medical center, beginning with pre-war dealings and red tape with Pakistani politicians in order to get permission to establish the hospital.

 

Dr. Olson it’s also an intriguing personality. Trained in a prestigious United States surgery department, he walked away from a distinguished and lucrative career. Daktar chronicles his journey from agnosticism to a burning faith in Christ and his illustrative career decision making process. I find it no wonder that 50 years later we continue to be inspired by Viggo Olson’s monumental book, Daktar.

 

Learn From The Best: INMED’s 2021 Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient

September 17th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

INMED’s faculty include Micah Flint, recipient of the 2021 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity. 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.

 

Micah Flint completed an MPA in healthcare leadership and disaster management at Park University. He also holds a nursing degree and bachelor’s degrees in science and liberal arts. He earned his INMED Diploma in International Nursing & Public Health in 2008, which included two terms of service at Baptist Medical Center in northern Ghana. Micah has created engaging presentations and learning content on Disaster Response, Cross-Cultural Skills, Health Leadership, and Simulation. He is the author of the Disaster Response: Pocketbook for Volunteers and Disaster Management in Limited Resource Settings, 2nd Edition. He is an active member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

 

Micah Flint teaches the INMED Lifestyle Health Course, which will next be offered in the 2021 Late Fall Term beginning on October 18. Healthcare professionals will benefit from this opportunity to complete a personal health status analysis and to develop a personal health plan that addresses nutrition, stress reduction, sleep hygiene, social life, and activity. The Lifestyle Health Course earns 2 credit hours toward the Master’s Degree in International Health.

 

Announcing Essential Care for Every Baby Course!

September 10th, 2021 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

Every baby requires warmth, hygiene, umbilical cord care, eye care, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and proven-effective medications and immunizations. But many babies around the world go without. Can you feel the agony of a parent watching their child die needlessly for lack of basic nutrition or vaccination? Today,  INMED announces the Professional Certificate Course in Essential Care for Every Baby and Essential Care for Small Babies Helping Babies (ECEB-ECSB Master Trainer Course).

 

This is an evidence-based educational program to prepare healthcare professionals to teach basic baby care techniques in low-resource locations to benefit midwives, mid-level providers, and community health workers. ECEB-ECSB can also be effectively combined with other elements of the Helping Babies Survive series, such as Helping Babies Breathe (HBB). ECEB-ECSB is an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in collaboration with the Laerdal Global Health, and Save the Children.

 

The INMED Professional Certificate Course in Essential Care for Every Baby and Essential Care for Small Babies is a hybrid experience that combines online preparation followed by a one-day, in-person event to master hands-on skills and assess achievements. Academic credit earned is 1 credit hour. Sample the INMED learning experience with this 15-minute Free Demo Online Course. Please send your questions to [email protected] or call 816-444-6400.