Will You Focus Your Career On Low-Resource People?

July 30th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|


Will you focus your career on low-resource people? When asked this question at the beginning of their education, most healthcare professionals affirm the virtues of serving those who are forgotten. The energy of such vision helps propel them through the first obstacles of career development. But within a few years, this early altruism is often replaced by more self-focused priorities. The reasons are understandable: fatigue, litigation, financial debt, family needs.


But the warmth of that early nobility usually lingers. How can we regain that early excitement for the well-being of those who are poor, undereducated, minorities, disabled, elderly, veterans, refugees, migrants, chronically ill, and victims of war or disaster? How we answer this question may result not only in alleviation of their suffering but also in levity for our own hearts.


Begin with a simple “vision trip.” Visit a charity clinic in your hometown, interview a public health leader, or join in an international service team. In addition to the insights gained, you’re also likely to create valuable friendships with those who share your priorities. Next, make some achievable commitments. Schedule two days a month at that charity clinic or two weeks a year with that international service team. As you grow in experience, your goals may also expand.


As a resident physician in 2011, Datcha Dorvil was taking these first exploratory steps. Following her Professional Certificate Course in International Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Dorvil added a service-learning experience at Mseleni Hospital in South Africa. Her vision continued to grow, and for the last 10 years Dr. Dorvil has served native Americans with distinction through the United States Indian Health Service.


Will focusing your career on low-resource people be simple? Certainly not. Resources will be stretched. Staffing will be short. Hours will likely be long. Financial income may be a fraction of your peers. But the rewards – the occasional hearty thank you and that growing inner sense of altruism – will affirm your career focus on low-resource people.


Allie Judkins – 2022 Cross-Cultural Healthcare Service Award Recipient

July 15th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|


This award recognizes one who demonstrates care and concern for culturally diverse communities and who gives selflessly of time and resources for their benefit.


The 2022 INMED Cross-Cultural Healthcare Service Award recipient is Allie Judkins. In 2007, she earned the INMED Professional Diploma in International Medicine and Public Health, serving at Kapuna Hospital in Papua New Guinea. Today, Dr. Judkins serves as Associate Director for Global Health Research in the Division of Neonatology at the University of Utah. There, she mentors health care professionals in health quality improvement projects overseas. Dr. Judkins works as content expert for neonatal resuscitation for the Global Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and advises training and implementation teams on several continents. She also works at the Center for Medical Innovation at the University of Utah: This organization works to take ideas from “Bench to Bedside” through its maternal-child health promotion programs in India, Nepal, and Kenya.


Dr. Judkins continues to be instrumental in overcoming challenges in such low-income countries that result in improving access and quality of life and health. Throughout her career in global health Dr. Judkins continues to engage in the frontline of global medicine in India and Nepal, directing multiple maternal neonatal programs in collaboration with the government.

For You: Best Videos of the Humanitarian Health Conference

July 1st, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|


In June INMED hosted our 17th annual Humanitarian Health Conference in Kansas City. Our perennial theme is Equip, Connect, Go! Equip yourself with essential skills to promote the health of marginalized people. Connect with individuals and organizations with whom you can serve. And Go, overcoming obstacles that may limit your personal action.


If you missed an important session or were unable to join us in-person, we are happy to announce that we just launched the Virtual Humanitarian Heath Conference with video presentations from the 2022 HHC! These presentations are organized into three tracts:


Patient Care

  • “Cough in a Child,” Susan Aycock
  • “Typhoid Fever,” Sam Fabiano
  • “Undifferentiated fevers,” Cal Wilson
  • ”Vaccines for Global Use,” Fernando Merino


Community Heath

  • “Building a Sustainable In-Country MedSurg Project,” Ted Higgins
  • “Challenges in Sustainable Global Health,” Cal Wilson
  • “Development of Community Health Programs” Allie Judkins
  • “Overcoming the Inevitable Obstacles,” Barry Bacon
  • “Working with In-Country Medical Partners,” Ted Higgins


Career Development

  • Plenary Session “Go,” Jeff Colyer
  • “Career Development for Global Medical Professionals,” Barry Bacon
  • “Finding Your Calling,” John Clements
  • “The Power of Teams,” Jimmy Dodd
  • Plenary Session “Connect,” Sean Mark


Physicians can earn 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ for CME and all participants can receive a certificate of completion that can be submitted for one’s respective profession continuing education. Registration for the 2022 Virtual Humanitarian Health Conference is $170. The virtual conference will close on July 31, 2022, so Register soon to view all the available presentations. Equip, Connect, Go!


Who Won the 2022 Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity?

June 24th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Training Sites In Action|


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 2022 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity recipient is Tom Kettler. Dr. Kettler has been a career family physician with College Park Family Care Center in Stanley, Kansas.  Deeply concerned about health care in Kansas City’s urban core, Dr. Kettler led a coalition of community leaders to establish the Hope Family Care Center at 31st St. and Prospect Avenue. This faith-based family medical practice provides quality primary healthcare in Kansas City, Missouri’s east side. All patients are welcome including both insured and uninsured.


Dr. Kettler attributes his tenacity in establishing and leading Hope Family Care Center to his faith in Christ and commitment to a lifelong journey of learning and service to others. Well done, Dr. Kettler!

Who Won The 2022 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award?

June 17th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
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 2022 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award recipient is Ted Higgins. Dr. Higgins is a surgeon who has devoted his career to his patients, and teaching surgery in third world countries, in particular Haiti. He was introduced to third world surgery as a fourth-year surgical resident at Yale when he and his wife spent 3 months in Haiti operating at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital. After Ted finished his vascular surgery fellowship at Baylor, his family moved to Kansas City, his wife’s hometown. Soon Ted was making yearly surgical mission trips with his church to the Dominican Republic helping train their surgeon in general, laparoscopic, and vascular surgical techniques. This lasted until 2010, when the catastrophic Haitian earthquake occurred, and Ted returned to Haiti.


He again started working with Haitian surgical residents from the General Hospital in Port Au Prince. The tiny delivery room, though, used for surgery was inadequate, particularly for teaching, so the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope was constructed in 2016. This contained 2 major operating rooms for teaching and performing surgeries. He soon hired several talented Haitian surgeons he helped train to avoid their leaving Haiti. They established a surgical team and set up a 24/7 trauma and emergency facility that now performs general, vascular, urology, obstetrics, and gynecology procedures. A nearby medical clinic was soon incorporated in to the Surgicenter that included medical, pediatric, HIV, maternity, and dental patients. When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in 2016 and Hurricane Laura in 2020, the Surgicenter provided not only emergency medical care but also shelter, food, and water for hundreds of local residents. Even amid the Covid pandemic, in roughly 19,000 patients were cared for at the Surgicenter and clinics in 2021.

Begin Earning Your INMED Master’s Degree this Fall

May 27th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|


The Master’s Degree in International Health (MIH) is unique in the field of graduate education. With emphasis on the unique needs of low-resource and cross-cultural communities, MIH graduates are prepared to lead comprehensive health promotion and disease intervention efforts. Three specialty tracks are available: International Medicine, International Nursing, and International Public Health. This 32-credit hour program is designed for healthcare professionals and healthcare profession students, most of whom take one course at a time and complete the degree over 1.5 years.


This degree is distinctly focused on improving the health of marginalized people by equipping healthcare personnel with expertise in epidemiology, diseases of poverty, maternal newborn health, international public health, cross-cultural skills, disaster management, health leadership, healthcare education, and research into quality improvement. INMED MIH graduates today serving inner city people in New York City, Ghanaians in West Africa, refugees in the Middle East, and with United Nations peacekeeping forces throughout the world.


INMED has assembled excellent Faculty, created remarkable Courses, established exemplary International Service-Learning experiences, all with the mission of giving you, today and tomorrow’s health leaders vision and expertise to improve the lives of those who are poor, undereducated, minorities, disabled, elderly, veterans, refugees, migrants, chronically ill, and victims of war or disaster. Visit the MIH FAQs and begin earning your Master’s Degree in International Health this fall.


Who Received the 2022 National Healthcare Service Award?

May 20th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|


Many health care professionals within their own nations are sacrificing personal comfort to care for their neglected neighbors. The award recipients are role models in providing health care for their own people.


The 2022 INMED National Healthcare Service Award recipient is Barry Bacon. After completing medical school and family medicine training, Dr. Bacon worked at a mission hospital in Malawi, southern Africa, and was medical director for 16 remote site clinics for 3 years. Upon returning to the US, he practiced and taught full-spectrum family medicine in rural northeast Washington. Dr. Bacon has continued to stay connected to global health, particularly through teaching physicians in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Malawi. His work also includes creating a peace initiative between two warring tribes in northern Kenya and working with the lost boys of South Sudan to create a medical school to transform health outcomes in that region of the world.


In the United States, he especially loves working on health disparities in his local community in Washington state, especially on behalf of those afflicted by addiction, mental health, poverty, and homelessness. Most remarkable of these initiatives is Dr. Bacon’s work to establish Hope Street Project to alleviate homelessness in Colville, WA, and creating a business to employ homeless men to take uninhabited buildings and create beautiful living spaces.

Who is the 2022 International Medicine Award Recipient?

May 6th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Training Sites In Action|

This award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to health in developing nations. Award recipients have demonstrated uncommon dedication and endurance in pursuit of this cause.
The 2022 INMED International Medicine Award recipient is Sam Fabiano. A native of Angola, Africa, Dr. Fabiano displayed an early interest in healthcare. He studied medicine in St. Petersburg, Russia and then completed a five-year surgery residency with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons at Bongolo Hospital, Gabon. Dr. Fabiano recently returned to Angola with his wife Amanda, and daughter, Bella, where they serve today at CEML Hospital. A general surgeon in the fullest sense, Dr. Fabiano also provides GYN, orthopedic, and even neurosurgical care in a nation where such skills are rare. In Dr. Fabiano’s vision also includes CEML hospital training future surgeons to continue serving the nation of Angola.

Who Trains Tomorrow’s International Doctors and Nurses?

April 29th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|


Who trains the healthcare professionals who will go on to serve with Doctors Without Borders, Samaritans Purse, the United Nations, or International Medical Corps? Mainstream healthcare education does not prepare them for work in low-resource and international settings. Quite the opposite, in fact.


Barriers to effective, longer-term service in international health are enormous: unknown diseases, strange languages and customs, and work often without the benefit of laboratory, imaging, pharmacy, or consultants. Added to these are personal fatigue, financial limitations, and strained interpersonal relationships.


How do successful global health volunteers overcome these barriers and go on to serve with esteemed organizations with distinction? Training is critical, both to acquire the necessary skills and to coach future volunteers through the complex personal journeys. Throughout the year, INMED provides training and coaching through our Professional Diploma and Master’s Degree in International Health (MIH) programs, with over 1,200 graduates since 2004.


Julie Rosá is INMED’s most recent graduate. She is a family physician from Hiawatha, Kansas. Over the last year Dr. Rosá completed the MIH degree, including her scholarly project about developing a family medicine residency in the Middle East. Later this year, she and her husband will be moving to Kanad Hospital in UAE to launch such a new residency program.


June 8-9, INMED training and coaching go into light speed with one-day course in UltrasoundOB Ultrasound, Helping Babies Breathe, Essential Care for Every BabyHelping Mothers Survive, and Hands-On Skills for Low-Resource Healthcare. June 10-11, we enter hyperdrive with the 17th annual Humanitarian Health Conference in-person in Kansas City – an event to inspire, equip and connect participants with sending organizations and global health careers.


Who trains tomorrow’s international doctors and nurses? It’s INMED!

Uncommon Valor: John Testrake

April 8th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|



Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”


In 1989 I arrived in the capital city of Angola, southern Africa, to begin making good on my commitment. Those were wild days of civil war: roads littered with landmines, nightly military attacks on citizens and foreigners alike, wide-spread hunger, and epidemics of cholera and typhoid. Travel to the interior was especially risky. Yet it was to churches in the interior city of Huambo to whom I had made my pledge to launch a new healthcare project.


Mercifully, Mission Aviation Fellowship had just stationed a plane in Angola, upon which so much of my initiative depended. The pilot, an older man, was very warm, competent, and engaging in character. After several days I finally discerned that he was John Testrake – the hero of TWA Flight 847, hijacked in 1985 from Athens to Beirut and Algiers; the pilot who negotiated the release of his passengers all the while with a gun to his head.


Years later, Testrake’s grandson was my student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. “My grandfather died when I was young. What was it like?” questioned the young man. “John Testrake,” I replied, “was a man of deep spiritual faith, fulfilling his ‘routine’ duties with excellence. Then, when suddenly confronted by crisis, he decidedly led with wisdom and valor.”


Whether negotiating with terrorists, traversing the African outback, or confronting any myriad of challenges, may you and I decide with similar wisdom and valor what to do with the time that is given to us.