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IVUmed’s Work Helps Combat Global Poverty

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IVUmed experts provide hands-on training to build local capacity and increase access to quality healthcare.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 billion people lack access to basic surgical care. Access to specialized care like urology is even more restricted with critical shortages of trained personnel. The United Nations cites the unavailability of healthcare as one of the root causes of extreme poverty. Debilitating health conditions not only drain family resources, but also affect productivity and prevent many throughout the world from earning a living. A breadwinner unable to work due to illness, or family members obliged to stop working or attending school to care for a relative can lead to considerable loss of income and long-term poverty.

IVUmed works to make quality healthcare more accessible in resource-poor areas of the world. We build self-reliant surgical teaching programs capable of meeting the needs of their communities. By providing expert surgical training to physicians and nurses throughout the world, children and adults in need of care will not have to live for years with debilitating conditions that threaten their economic and overall well-being.

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The Year Was 1995…Look How Far We’ve Come!

Twenty years ago, IVUmed was incorporated by its award-winning founder, Catherine deVries, MD, to address the enormous need for patient care and professional training in urology in resource-poor areas of the world. From common congenital malformations to pelvic floor injuries, various cancers and other diseases, urology represents a vastly underserved area of global health.Vol. 1 Issue 1 Newsletter

Initially established to help meet the staggering need for pediatric urology in developing countries, IVUmed has grown to include virtually all areas of urology and incorporates education for nurses, anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists and other related areas of medical and surgical care. IVUmed’s services have been requested in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America. With a proven model that has helped to successfully build surgical training programs in countries as diverse as Honduras, Vietnam, Senegal and Mongolia, IVUmed tailors its efforts to the needs of each of its many partner hospitals and communities.  Our partners in these sites have demonstrated strong long-term commitments to IVUmed’s work and mission and will ultimately serve as a bridge between today’s investment of resources and our shared vision for access to quality healthcare in the future.

Our success is based on uniting peers and strengthening relationships among medical providers with a common shared purpose of ensuring access to quality urological care.

* We connect physicians and nurses in low-resource settings with experienced colleagues for peer to peer interaction.
* We provide hands-on education through ongoing on-site surgical workshops.
* We build self-reliant surgical teaching programs capable of providing local and regional education.
* We are the chosen provider of care and education in partnership with multiple global urological organizations.
* We identify, support, and develop future generations of IVUmed volunteers and host colleagues.

We have refined our capacity-building model over two decades and have become the go-to organization for urology training in developing parts of the world. Our intensive, onsite hands-on workshops equip physicians and nurses throughout the world with the skills they need to serve their communities. Meanwhile, the greater objective of IVUmed training is to develop future generations of medical personnel by building lasting surgical teaching programs. Your support helps ensure that children and adults in resource-poor areas of the world will no longer have to suffer for years with treatable conditions that greatly affect their quality of life.

Our surgical workshops are complemented by distance consultation and other means of instruction and support to help ensure that our partners progress toward their training goals. We also utilize telehealth technology for distance education and are collaborating on educational modules comprised of surgical video, lectures, medical animation, and testing.

Please join us this 20th anniversary year, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  Together, we will make a difference!

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March is International Women’s Month

 

From our founder and president, Catherine DeVries, MD, to active board members, and specialists and nurses on the ground, IVUmed has been shaped by the dedicated involvement and expertise of many amazing, committed women. We’re highlighting their work as part of our celebration of International Women’s Month:

 

IVUmed Founder & President, Catherine deVries, MD6184-CatherineDevries_web

A graduate of Harvard University, Catherine deVries holds a Masters in Pathology from Duke University and an M.D. from Stanford University. She trained in Urology at Stanford University and completed her fellowship in Pediatric Urology at University of California, San Diego. Her awards include the American Red Cross International Hero Award in 2011, the American Urological Association’s 2009 Distinguished Contribution Award, The American Urological Association’s Honorary Member 2007, along with many others.

 

Catherine incorporated IVUmed in 1995, to address the enormous need for patient care and professional training in urology in resource-poor areas of the world. Initially established to help meet the staggering need for pediatric urology in developing countries, IVUmed has grown to include virtually all areas of urology and incorporates education for nurses, anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists and other related areas of medical and surgical care. With a proven model that has helped to successfully build surgical training programs in countries as diverse as Honduras, Vietnam, Senegal and Mongolia, IVUmed tailors its efforts to the needs of each of its many partner hospitals and communities.

 

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In addition to founding IVUmed, Dr. deVries has served as an educator and leader in international surgical care and advocacy. In all of these domains, she said that her aim has been “to help make quality surgical care accessible and affordable to people worldwide and to support the surgeons who provide that care”.

 

Follow IVUmed online to stay up-to-date on IVUmed workshops and event worldwide:

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Global Surgery: A new public health culture

A shift in disease
Globally, two billion people do not have access to basic surgical care. Though historically Public Health focused on infectious diseases, it is increasingly clear that more people worldwide suffer from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and trauma. Surgical care is not only needed for large traumatic injuries, but also birth defects, maternal health, cancer, and diseases associated with aging that often require surgical intervention. Annually, NCDs are responsible for 63% of global deaths; 80% of these deaths occur in developing countries.

Essential, affordable care
As the “neglected stepchild of public health”, mentioned by Drs. Jim Kim and Paul Farmer, surgical care must be recognized as a cost-effective, basic component of healthcare for all individuals. To put into perspective the critical need, estimates suggest that at least 3 million women in low-income countries have unrepaired vesicovaginal fistulas (VVFs), and approximately 30,000 to 130,000 new cases develop each year in Africa alone. Increased access to affordable surgical care enables patients suffering from VVF and other conditions requiring surgery to return to healthy, productive lives.

In fact, investments in surgical care in many cases have proven to be less costly than traditional public health interventions. One measure used in the analysis of cost related to disability is the DALY, or “disability-adjusted life year”. It projects the total years of life lost due to the burden of disease. One DALY equates to one year of productive, healthy life lost. In Zambia, the estimated cost per DALY averted for caesarian section for obstructed labor is $319. This cost is well within the budget of other public health measures, such as antiretroviral treatment of HIV.

Focused initiative
Successes like the 1970s campaign to eradicate smallpox demonstrate the power of a concerted public health effort. Surgical programs for prevention and treatment of disease could confer similar public health benefits. The demonstrated success of capacity-building programs like IVUmed’s reveals that educational efforts to improve affordable surgical care are possible and effective. Public health professionals, bioengineers and physicians are moving toward a united front on the burden of surgical disease.

In 1968, the U.S. Surgeon General foresaw that, “It might be possible, with interventions such as antimicrobials and vaccines, to close the book on infectious disease and shift public health resources to chronic diseases.” Yet over 40 years later, 28% of the world still has no access to surgical care. The new statistics are changing the focus of public health discourse. From academic centers to social media blogs, professionals are sharing ideas for affordability and availability of surgical care.

Global surgery conferences, such as the 2013 Extreme Affordability Conference hosted by the University of Utah’s Center for Global Surgery, are being held across the country.

Also, social media has recently given global surgery a voice on the internet. Twitter search “#globalsurgery” provides an endless list of conversations, article links, and event streams. The conversation has started and projects are being initiated. However, the public health community needs to ask, is the effort focused?

Strategy in action
As a surgical education organization, IVUmed recognizes the need for efficient, concerted efforts to provide access to surgical care. IVUmed’s services have been requested by many surgical and urological organizations to help increase access to care in resource-limited parts of the world. This global strategy increases the reach of our united efforts.

Establishing greater access to professional training among surgeons worldwide creates a foundation for an improved healthcare system. As IVUmed and its partners develop self-sustaining surgical education programs, greater access to quality care is made available where it is needed most.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 11% of the global burden of disease can be treated with surgery. Building the capacity necessary to meet this demand involves developing partnerships, accessibility, and affordability. Following in the footsteps of successful public

health efforts of the last century, IVUmed is joining the world’s leading organizations in creating surgical education models to lay a similar foundation.

 

Join a Global Effort
If you are interested in furthering IVUmed’s mission to make quality urological education and care more widely available, please visit our website at www.ivumed.org or contact our office at 801.524.0201.

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Bringing ideas and countries together with telehealth

IVUmed is invited—and invited back—by host countries that see us as long-term partners. To make the most of the interval between each hands-on surgical training workshop, we have increased our use of telehealth technology.

In partnership with the University of Utah, we have conducted a series of lectures and consultations with our colleagues in Rwanda. This allowed IVUmed volunteers to provide some initial training before hitting the ground in Kigali for their first on-site workshop.

IVUmed is currently working to increase access to this valuable technology among its partner sites and is developing a digital training platform that will combine videoconferencing, distance consultation, and content libraries. This software, developed by IBM and Boston Children’s Hospital, will make an entire digital learning package available to doctors and nurses in low resource—and importantly—low bandwidth areas of the world.

IVUmed partners around the globe wish to participate in this learning format. In fact, 93% of those surveyed stated that they are very interested in telehealth training in their facilities.

Through videoconferencing, online learning libraries, and remote consultation, our volunteers’ efforts have an even greater impact. They provide further education on concepts covered during workshops to maintain continuity and to prepare for further hands-on instruction. The technology also allows our volunteers to provide remote training in multiple countries at the same time.

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Cancer doesn’t hurt just the 20%

Dr. Eggener trains local physicians on urological oncology needs.

According to Reuters, “most of Africa’s around 2,000 languages have no word for cancer. The common perception in both developing and developed countries is that it’s a disease of the wealthy world, where high-fat, processed-food diets, alcohol, smoking and sedentary lifestyles fuel tumor growth.” However, according to the news service, sub-Saharan Africa will see an estimated one million new cancer cases this year — “a number predicted to double to two million a year in the next decade,” and, “[b]y 2030, according to predictions from the [WHO], 70 percent of the world’s cancer burden will be in poor countries.  Source

Cancers, including urological cancer, are not only a developed-world problem. An IVUmed board member, Scott Eggener, MD, is a urological oncologist based in Chicago who frequently travels to the West Bank to provide urological oncology training to local physicians.

However, the technologies needed to provide proper care of cancers are inaccessible to the developing world. The bioengineering and biotechnology fields in academic centers are acknowledging this large gap. Currently, several centers of innovation are working towards making proper medical care more accessible to the developing world.

To learn more about these innovations, you can check out several conferences on affordability and innovation in global health. Local to Utah, the Center for Global Surgery is hosting the  Extreme Affordability Conference  in late March 2013.

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American College of Surgeons Present Surgical Humanitarian Award

American College of Surgeons’ Clinical Congress officially presented Dr. Catherine deVries, Founder and President of IVUmed, with the Surgical Humanitarian Award:

Dr. deVries received the Surgical Humanitarian Award for dedicating 20 years of her career to improving urological care around the world. A practicing pediatric urologist, founder and director of the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and professor of surgery at the university, Dr. deVries recognized the unmet needs of children with genitourinary conditions and anomalies, and developed a model of care tailored to the needs of these patients. In 1994, she founded International Volunteers in Urology, the first not-for-profit organization specifically focused on teaching urology in resource-poor settings. Using a comprehensive, sustainable approach, IVU (now IVUmed) oversees highly skilled teams that train physicians and nurses in most areas of urology throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The far-reaching impact of these educational partnerships can be seen in countries like Vietnam, where early IVUmed trainees have established a urology training center in Ho Chi Minh City, which treats more than 1,000 patients annually and trains local physicians. In Honduras, local partners now conduct their own surgical outreach workshops. Similar successes have been achieved in the 30 countries where IVUmed is active and further leveraged by a wide range of international partnerships.”

We are thankful to have a leader among leaders here at IVUmed, Dr. deVries has established an organization that now sits at the table of leaders in global surgery, recruiting some of the most-skilled, humble and dedicated surgeons to teach surgical skills around the world.

For the rest of the article and award announcement, please go here: http://www.facs.org/clincon2012/press/volunteerism.html

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Jonathon Wu, MD
Stanford University
Hue, Vietnam – February 17 – March 4, 2012
Mentor: Dr. Walter Beh, MD
Sponsored by: The Western Section of the AUA

Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Western Section of the AUA, Dr. Jonathon Wu traveled to Hue, Vietnam with mentor Dr. Walter Beh. Dr. Wu and his mentor collaborated with Dr. Hung and his colleagues of the urology department, focusing on 19 patients with difficult cases. Dr. Wu was able to perform his first open pyelolithotomy under the supervision of a Vietnamese colleague, Dr. Tuan.
Reporting on his experience, Dr. Wu stated:

“In our two weeks of working mainly with Dr. Hung, I was very impressed by his surgical technique. Open surgery involved tediously dissecting out important structures and controlling all bleeding quickly with cautery or ligatures. He moved very quickly in the OR but was very purposeful with his movements. No suture was wasted as instrument tying was performed whenever possible. Bigger cases would often involve 2 attending surgeons intertwined in a well-rehearsed ballet.“What was even more impressive was the efficiency and resourcefulness of the hospital.
We mostly worked with Dr. Hung who has been on the urology staff for 6 years. He is quite motivated and very enthusiastic.
“This disparity was made much more obvious to us when we observed a kidney transplant on our last day.… During the course of our 2 weeks, we were able to see the kinds of needs our Vietnamese colleagues had.”
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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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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.