Feeling Heavy Burdened? Here Find Rest

October 30th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

Job pressure. Virtual fatigue. Family isolation. Holiday loneliness. Financial uncertainty. Cold weather. Illness vulnerability. “Is this a fever overcoming me?” Our sense of heavy burden is almost ubiquitous. The CDC reports that 40% of American citizens reported mental health or substance abuse problems over the summer. Over the pandemic months, alcohol sales have soared. Medical care for depression has spiked. Binge television watching is at record highs. Most concerning, suicide is steadily on the rise.

 

Where can we turn for more wholesome relief? Consider refocusing on an attitude of gratitude. Not to belittle any loss or suffering we are experiencing, but a time-tested intervention for anxiety and depression is thankfulness. What are some moments in 2020 over which you are pleased? What is a blessing you’ve received? Who has gifted you with an unexpected compliment or call? What hope or expectation may ignite your tomorrow?

 

I derive great reassurance from this plea and promise: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This reassurance is documented in Philippians 4:6-7. Please read it for yourself.

 

For whom are you thankful today? What encouragement is helping you carry your burden? Please share your thoughts by emailing INMED, and we will reply with gratitude.

 

The Case for ‘Global Surgeons’

October 23rd, 2020 by INMED
Posted in Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|

 

One person out of three around the globe lives in a community with no access to a general surgeon. Often, people are separated from physicians with such skills by scores of miles or thousands of dollars. As a result, children, healthy adults and pregnant women die from typhoid intestinal perforations, femur fractures, and labor that fails to progress. Tragic indeed, since treating these diseases is easily within the realm of a surgeon. A moment for perspective: I am a family physician and public health specialist. Nevertheless, I can operate on an intestinal perforation, repair a femur fracture, and perform a cesarean section. Out of compelling necessity, I learned the skills for my service in Angola, southern Africa.

 

Such breadth of skill is contrary. Instead, the field of surgery continues to rapidly sub-specialize. Today’s general surgeons do not receive formal training in orthopedics or obstetrics, and their experience with procedures outside of the abdomen is often limited. I observe that their ability to learn such non-general-surgery skills is excellent, but it requires intentionality. Enter the concept of global surgeons. These are individuals trained with very broad skills, including anesthesia, too. They are prepared to serve the one out of three persons without a surgeon, and to provide them the spectrum of necessary surgical interventions.

 

How can thousands of physicians and clinical officers become equipped and credentialed for such service? Some INMED Training Sites, including CEML Hospital and Soddo Christian Hospital, host formal programs to impart these skills, as does the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS). Sam Fabiano, in this image, is a PAACS graduate serving today in Angola. Experienced surgeons are in high demand to assist programs, such as trained Sam Fabiano, by providing teaching and supervision for trainees. Do you or your colleagues possess surgical skills? Seriously consider contributing your talents toward empowering tomorrow’s global surgeons.

 

COVID-19 vs HIV Pandemics

October 16th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

 

COVID-19 and HIV: both are among the most important health issues of our lifetimes. But beyond this fact, how do you the two pandemics compare?

 

First some similarities. Both diseases…

 

  • Caused worldwide concern, and often outright fear
  • Are largely asymptomatic in the beginning
  • Were diseases over which relatively little was known
  • Were accompanied by strong ethnic bias
  • Mobilized tremendous scientific and governmental response

 

Significant differences between COVID-19 and HIV exist as well:

 

  • COVID-19 victims usually recover, while HIV without treatment is universally fatal
  • COVID-19 deaths are usually among elderly persons while HIV death about HIV deaths affect those who are younger
  • Development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations has proceeded far more rapidly than interventions against HIV
  • Economic impacts from COVID-19 have been more widespread than those resulting from HIV

 

Cathy Creticos, MD, Director of Infectious Disease at Howard Brown Health, recently illuminated some of the comparisons between today’s COVID-19 pandemic and that of HIV in the 1980s and ‘90s: “Here we are in 2020 with this disease that kills people, that we don’t have any treatments for, that we really don’t understand the full manifestation and presentation biology of the virus. We’re really dealing in the same situation as in the HIV epidemic… I wonder if we had this type of effort at the beginning of the HIV epidemic, if we’d have solve this problem by now,” says Dr. Creticos. “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that COVID affects everybody, but HIV was certainly perceived as not affecting everybody.”

 

Dr. Creticos’ insight is profound: The reality that both of these lethal diseases are a threat to all of humanity, and the conviction that through joint, coordinated, and diligent work we can overcome today’s compelling menace.

 

2020 Nobel Prize: World Food Program!

October 9th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

 

This week in New Delhi, the Nobel Committee awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Program (WFP), a United Nations agency, for its work to combat hunger. In both 2016 and 2019 I personally witnessed the WPF providing the essential food provisions for Syrians refugees who had fled from ISIS to Kurdistan, northern Iraq. WPF is also active in Afghanistantackling hunger in a way that contributes to peace, South Sudanwhere civil conflict and collapsing economy fuel famine, and conflict-torn Yemen – where today’s WFP’s emergency response is largest in the world.

 

In announcing the award, The Nobel Committee lauded the WFP “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” In her address, Nobel Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen described the Committee’s intention to “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.”

 

The Syrians refugees who I met, and aid workers at their sides, would heartily agree!

 

COVID-19 Facts, Fiction, and Friction

September 25th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

 

Credible projections forecast an upswing in COVID-19 infection throughout the 2020 fall and winter seasons in North American and the northern hemisphere. To prevent disease and death, let’s succinctly review three of the most pressing disease control questions:

 

Do cloth masks really prevent infection?

 

Yes. Research from multiple sources, including Arizona State University and University of California San Francisco, demonstrate that cloth masks prevent asymptomatic infected persons from transmitting the disease to others. Such masks also protect well persons from contracting the disease from bystanders. How so? The COVID-19 virus is chiefly passed person-to-person through water droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. Simple cloth masks reduce the spread of these droplets.

 

Is COVID-19 really deadly?

 

Absolutely. Data from the World Health Organization demonstrates the mean case for case fatality rate (the chance of a person with COVID-19 infection dying from the disease) is 0.6 percent. For comparison, this rate is about six times higher than influenza. But, vulnerable persons, such as elderly and chronically ill, experience fatality rates as high as 25 percent. And remember, children do not necessarily suffer mild infection. Growing data document the risk of severe pediatric complications. All told, in 2020 COVID-19 infections has surpassed injuries as the third leading cause of death in the United States.

 

If I have had COVID-19, am I safe from a second infection?

 

No. Reports of re-infection are emerging. Nonetheless, some persons are relying upon newly available antibody (serology) tests as proof they are immune. Such tests, if positive, indicate that the person has already experienced the infection. However, contrary to popular notion, there exists no evidence to date that persons with COVID-19 antibodies are actually protected against future infection. In other words, positive antibodies are not a passport to reduce protective measures.

 

Many well-meaning people will object to such responses to these disease control questions. And hence, inevitable social friction. But precious loved ones, and many other social elements we hold dear, continue under threat. So, join me in being guided by the facts, rejecting even convenient fiction, and to these ends, enduring resulting friction.

 

INMED, India, and the Emmanuel Hospitals

September 18th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in Healthcare Education|

 

Emmanuel Hospital Association, EHA, is a network of 21 hospitals and 27 community health projects in northern and central India committed to caring for poor communities irrespective of caste, creed or race. Even today, a high proportion of India’s population continues to suffer from preventable infections, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, malnutrition, and pregnancy-childbirth related complications. EHA provides a full range of clinical care, including obstetrics & gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, general surgery, urology, and general & family medicine.

 

Since 2006, EHA has hosted INMED Learners for supervised service-learning experience in India focusing on medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, and public health. Some of these INMED Graduates continue serving in similar low-resource, cross-cultural locales today.

 

New in Fall 2020, EHA physicians, nurses, and public health specialists, are now taking part in INMED Professional Certificate Courses. This is possible by a generous donation from the home school education publishing industry, and results in Indian healthcare personnel sharpening their skills to provide even better care for their countrymen.

 

Why Study At INMED?

September 11th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

Healthcare professionals increasingly choose to earn an additional graduate degree. That extra qualification often opens the door for opportunities in leadership, research, and teaching. But a professional graduate degree is no light undertaking. Often, it requires a two- to four-year commitment, and the average master’s degree in the United States costs between $30,000 and $120,000.

 

Enter INMED. Since 2003, we provide global health courses, international service-learning experiences, Professional Diplomas, and the Master’s Degree in International Health (MIH) for people who wish to serve with excellence in international, low-resource, and cross-cultural contexts. Compelling reasons to choose your education at INMED include:

 

  • Focus on forgotten people. INMED’s unique mission is to equip healthcare professionals to serve those who are poor, disabled, elderly, under-educated, migrants, refugees, and victims of war and disaster.
  • Inspiring faculty. INMED faculty possess high academic qualifications and significant service experience. Moreover, they are persons of character to be emulated.
  • State-of-the-Art learning. INMED’s online learning experience and in-person classes embody today’s best in education.
  • International Service-Learning. INMED’s Training Sites in 25 nations provide supervised opportunity apply one’s learned skills.
  • Low cost. INMED works diligently to control tuition and reduce barriers to quality education. At just $272 per credit hour, hard earned dollars are transformed into visionary learning.
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    What is better than an additional graduate degree? A degree that is altruistic, affordable, and inspiring. Come study with us at INMED!

The Coming COVID-19 Climax

August 28th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

 

First, a plea for objectivity. One powerful force complicating the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the temptation to package information to fit preconceived outcomes. Over the last five months, the result of such wishful thinking has often been lax and ineffective disease interventions, and over this same interval United States deaths from COVID-19 have surpassed even deaths from trauma to become the new third leading cause of mortality.

 

Multiple source projections compiled by the CDC for United States for the fall of 2020 show a progressive rise in COVID-19 infections and deaths. Rationale to explain this phenomenon include colder weather, more time in confined indoor spaces, c0-morbidities from influenza and upper respiratory infections, and fatigue and resistance to masking and other physical distancing measures. The bright news is that effective COVID-19 vaccines will likely be widely available sometime in 2021.

 

But in the meantime, what objective measures can we take to protect ourselves against the coming COVID-19 climax? Foremost, research data continues to support the effectiveness of avoiding crowds, wearing masks, being tested, and isolating for suspected infection. What’s more, in this season of relative social isolation, we may also find rich opportunity to develop a new talent or nurture a virtue. This summer, we at INMED used our extra time to roll out the Master’s Degree in International Health.

 

How will you conduct your life during the coming COVID-19 climax? Plan for safety and productivity as we all anticipate a healthier new year.

 

 

Urgent Epi! And We Don’t Mean Epinephrine

August 21st, 2020 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

“We need epi, stat!” This dramatic phrase – so familiar in emergency medicine – today possesses new significance. Epi (epinephrine), that lifesaving drug, also means epidemiology, that lifesaving science of disease investigation.

 

Indeed, today we do need epi stat. Beyond COVID-19, current epi crises encompass Ebola, Zika, cholera, chikungunya MERS-CoV, malaria and influenza. Also included in the epi realm are non-communicable killers like cancers, Alzheimer’s, traumatic injuries, and coronary artery and cerebrovascular disease.

 

Epidemiology is one of healthcare’s most unsung yet virtuous endeavors: teasing out the true causes of ill health, tracking the vulnerabilities and spread of disability and disease, exploring effective means of prevention and treatment. And all the while, maintaining positions based upon objective science.

 

This fall INMED will twice offer the Professional Certificate Course in Epidemiology. This structured, 10-week online learning experience is under the guidance of INMED Faculty. Sample the INMED learning experience with this 15-minutes Free Demo Online Course.

 

Today, do need epi stat, and we’ll continue to do so. Thus prepared, you could be the one responding with lifesaving skills.

 

Whom Shall We Trust?

August 15th, 2020 by INMED
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

The COVID-19 Pandemic stretches most every sector of modern society. Healthcare, employment, education, transportation, and social relationships continue in upheaval. Fortunate for us, we live in the Information Age. Abundant knowledge is readily available to improve our response to these crises.

 

But such knowledge is so voluminous, and sometimes so complex, that few persons have capacity or skill to consider it all. Instead we must of necessity must turn to authorities – people who make it their vocation to sift through the evidence and summarize it on our behalf. Vaccine research is a pressing example. Suddenly millions of common citizens are captivated with this potential solution to COVID-19. But vaccine development is a most complex of sciences, requiring profound expertise. We common citizens, while trying to be reasonably informed, come reply upon word of authorities.

 

And here’s the contention: Which authorities are worthy of our trust? The personal process of identifying persons in whom to place our confidence seems so innate that we rarely discuss it head on. Yet some thoughtful analysis can help you and I to avoid following unreliable authorities. Analysis about:

 

  • Motives. What rationales could be driving the authorities? We do especially well to doubly scrutinize situations where significant money or power are involved.
  • Consensus. What are the statements of other authorities? While consensus does not guarantee accuracy, it certainly improves the odds.
  • Test of Time. Authorities with an impressive record of integrity and accuracy usually continue to generate such outcomes.
  • Personal Endorsements. The confirmation of a faithful friend adds immense credence to our sense of trust.

 

Today’s pandemic will likely intensify in the coming fall season, magnifying social upheavals and search for solutions. For guidance, let us carefully discern whom we shall trust.