A Dynamic Paradigm in Global Health and Surgery

Innovation, collaboration, sustainability were common themes of discussion at the first annual “Extreme Affordability: Innovative Solutions of Surgical Care” conference hosted by the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Focusing on providing affordable surgery globally, this conference called together surgeons, policy makers, bioengineers, anthropologists and non-governmental organization leaders to discuss the need and accessibility of surgical care to the international community.

Mark Harris, M.D., co-founder of the International Anesthesia Education Forum writes about his experience at the conference, “I am left with a sense of enthusiasm, optimism and community. There are so many people from different fields and countries collaborating and using innovative approaches to the myriad problems facing the low resource world.”

Speakers from around the world shared their perspectives on these current themes of global health and surgery. Keynote speaker, Clayton Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, discussed the decentralization of healthcare providers and technology to develop affordable and sustainable healthcare in resource-limited and rich settings. Christenson is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth.

With a pattern recognition-based concept, Christensen’s message was well-received by conference attendees.

“The speakers were thoughtful and captivating which was no small feat!” Rhiana Menen, resident with the East Bay Surgery Program at UCSF, commented. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this wonderful conference. As someone early in my career but very much trying to incorporate an emphasis in global surgery, I now have a much better idea on how to proceed and have made some invaluable contacts.”

As one of the few non-governmental organizations presenting at the conference, IVUmed was able to share its perspective on global health. Josh Wood, executive director, provided an in-depth look at how to develop and sustain global partnerships for dynamic change in an economical and efficient manner.

During his presentation, Wood explains, “When you start to become aware of surgery, how much need there is and the potential we have to relieve that need, it may seem overwhelming; but there are extensive opportunities, especially if programs are carried out in a sustainable manner so we can get more bang for our buck.”

A staggering one million African infants are estimated to die in the first 4 weeks of life and there are only 24 urologists for the 9 million people living in Haiti. With these, and other outstanding statistics, the developed world recognizes a preventable epidemic. Through technology and innovative collaboration, these leaders are truly developing a paradigm shift in global health.

Discussing the role of surgery in global health, Steve Alder, Chief of the Division of Public Health at the University of Utah, comments, “You have to talk about the elephant in the room; is it the scalpel or the syringe?”

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Resident Scholar Reflections

Julie Riley, MD

University of Missouri
Hue, Vietnam – February 17 – March 4, 2012
Mentor: Dr. Walter Beh, MD
Sponsored by: South Central Section of the AUA

Through the generous sponsorship provided by the South Central Section of the AUA, Dr. Julie Riley traveled to Hue, Vietnam with mentor Dr. Walter Beh. Dr. Riley and her mentor collaborated with Vietnamese colleagues

Reporting on her experience, Dr. Riley stated:
in the urology department. During her time in Hue, Dr. Riley was able to experience the differences in international healthcare.
“I did enjoy that we were able to give daily presentations. The conversations following these topics were very interesting to further understand the culture as well as understand some of the limitations on the Vietnamese surgeons. In addition most of the Vietnamese doctors wanted improved English particularly medical English and this provided a forum for them to practice.

I feel that the experience was very positive and I look forward to continuing international urology through active patient care as well as education and support to local urologists. I am very grateful to both the South Central Section and International Volunteers in Urology for
allowing me to participate in such a remarkable program. In addition, I am very glad that I was able to experience the culture and the medicine of Vietnam and to provide the local urologists with equipment and all knowledge that I could.”
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Oreoluwa Ogunyemi, M.D.

University of Wisconsin
Accra, Ghana – January 14, 2012 – January 22, 2012
Sponsored by: Oceana Pharmaceuticals

Through the generous sponsorship provided by Oceana Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Ogunyemi was accepted as a Traveling Resident Scholar to work in Accra, Ghana under the supervision of mentor, Dr. Sunny Mante. During the trip, Dr. Ogunyemi was able to give back to an area that faced similar issues as her home country, Nigeria.

Reporting on her experience, Dr. Ogunyemi stated:

“During medical school, I traveled to Central America to volunteer in Guatemala in obstetrics and family medicine, but I have never had the opportunity in the field that I will devote my career. I have always known, as an immigrant and child of immigrants, that it would be vital to provide to me to provide care globally and foster relationships that would make this possible. IVUmed is my opportunity to begin this work.

“Clinic was a fast and furious experience. Each few moments, one of the charts from the stack was pulled, a patient appeared and a story was told.

“My week in Accra was a wonderful experience and one that I will cherish for the rest of my professional career. I truly appreciate the opportunity from IVUmed to make this a reality and look forward to repeating similar endeavors in the future.

“The patients, with teeth gritted and anxious faces, put their care into our hands despite the language barrier between us. It was gratifying to be able to care for these patients and provide comfort.

“My arrival at the halls of 37 Military Hospital was welcoming. I found welcoming smiles and genuine interest in my urologic perspective and actively encouraged to challenge ideas and bring forth alternative treatment plans and opinions. There was a true collegial excitement at exchanging ideas and patient experiences and learning from each other.

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Resident Scholar Reflections

Jessica Casey, MD

Northwestern Univeristy
Mahuva, India – November 4-28, 2011
Mentor: Dr. Sakti Das
Sponsor: Resident Scholar Alumni

Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Resident Scholar Alumni, Dr. Jessica Casey traveled to Mahuva, India with mentor Dr. Sakti Das to participate in a free urology camp organized by the local Indian organization Jeev Sewa Sansthan (“Service to the Living”). During the camp, over 130 patients received much-needed urological care

“During my six days in Mahuva at Sadbhavna Trust Hospital, I operated like crazy – running back and forth between the 6 operating beds that filled 2 operating rooms. As I was finishing one case, a patient behind me was getting their spinal anesthesia injected and being prepped by assistants for me to operate on in a few minutes.

of the work being done while I was there.
During those short six days, I participated in 34 operations which
ranged from delicate hypospadias work to minimally invasive percutaneous nephrolithotomy to a reconstructive extrophy repair; and this was only a fraction

“In Mahuva they did not have all of the fancy equipment we have in the states; there was no fancy LigaSure, no argon beam, no laser lithotripsy. They had a scalpel, cautery, suction, a light and a patient who needed surgery. If something is bleeding, quickly put an “artry” (i.e. hemostat) on it and move on. If the suction isn’t turned on, use one of your two laps to stop the bleeding and move on.
If they don’t have the needle driver you want, make do with another.

“If I was struggling with a maneuver and blaming everything around me (the lighting, the instruments, the angle, etc), Dr. Das would calmly remind me to focus on my own skills and not blame my sur

roundings. Dr. Das’s influence made me
reflect at my own actions. Often at Northwestern, surgeons complain about not having the right gloves, the right assistant, the best light, etc. in order to make excuses for their own
skills. It’s best to just focus at the task at hand, not make excuses, and just get the work done.”

For more information on getting involved with our Resident Scholar Program, please visit our website at

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Haiti – November 2011

1,500 man hours, 15 physicians, nurses and technicians and true dedication compensate for the $320,635 worth of medical services contributed to over 150 patients in Haiti. In November 2011,IVUmed sent two medical teams to Descheppelles and Pignon, Haiti to train local physicians. Partner doctors received training and lectures from volunteer surgeons to create a sustainable program for urological procedures.

“We were there to help pioneer and teach innovative ways to help alleviate a female reproductive issue…They are very eager to learn yet they were filled with tremendous humility and appreciation.”

Laura Springhetti, Nurse Anesthetist volunteer, Pignon.

Our work there was established through two partnerships, with Promise for Haiti and Hospital Albert Schweizer of Descheppelles.

On March 10th, 2012, a group of IVUmed volunteers are returning to Pignon to focus on female urology. To stay connected with trip updates and volunteer opportunities, “like” us on Facebook.

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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.