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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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World Impact: IVUmed President in the News

IVUmed president and founder, Dr. Catherine de Vries, was honored as a feature in the July issue of Salt Lake Magazine.

 

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Here are some highlights from the article:

 

“Pediatric urologist Catherine deVries sees patients at Salt Lake City’s Primary Children’s Hospital, but as president and founder of IVUmed, she sends doctors and urology residents around the world to train local medical professionals in countries with few resources. “

“…In 1994 DeVries started her own nonprofit, IVUmed, in Honduras and Vietnam. Today, it provides medical care to kids in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the West Bank in the Palestinian territories.

“When we started in Vietnam, they had done less than 80 pediatric urological operations—total—in the year we started,” she says. “Now, 20 years later, they not only do a full range of surgery serving all of South and Central Vietnam, but also have a teaching program of their own—it’s exactly what we hoped for.”

“Beyond IVUmed, deVries’ supports global healthcare in other ways. She is the director of the University of Utah Center for Global Surgery, a member of the Global Alliance for Elimination of Filariasis, a parasitic disease spread by flies and mosquitoes that can lead to blindness, and she shares her experiences with students as a professor of surgery at the University of Utah.”

Read the full article here on the Salt Lake Magazine website.

Thank you to Salt Lake Magazine for this excellent article and interview with Dr. de Vries, for recognizing her personal commitment to global surgery and global health, and the efforts of the organization she founded and continues to lead today.

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Quotes from the Field: Pignon, Haiti

March was our busiest month yet at IVUmed – including five workshops across the globe! Our next few blog posts will highlight those trips with quotes from IVUmed volunteer medical providers and photographs from the regions served.

 

Today’s Highlight: Pignon, Haiti

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“It was heartening to see the level of enthusiasm from trainees at all levels. I felt that the Haitians are eager to develop the skills and to use them in their own practices. This is a transformative time for healthcare in Haiti, and we are lucky to be part of it.” Catherine deVries, MD

 

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“The local urologists were so grateful for the experience. After working with them for even a week, I could see improvement in their techniques. Making a difference like this (though it will take time) will truly improve the country. They were a great group of people, and with a refreshing drive to enhance their skills. It was inspiring to be a part such a great project that makes a real and immediate difference.” Jonathan Warner, MD

 

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Notes from the Field: Reconstruction in Rwanda

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Jeremy Myers, MD, of the Department of Genitourinary Injury and Reconstructive Urology at University of Utah School of Medicine, recently returned from an IVUmed reconstructive urology workshop trip to Rwanda. Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Myers recorded his thoughts on working with IVUmed and his experience in Rwanda. He has kindly allowed us to share his thoughts here:

 

Jeremy Myers 3/17/2014 – University of Utah and IVUmed:Rwanda_countryside

“I am just returning from a 2 week trip from Rwanda, Africa with IVUmed.  The focus of this group, headed by Catherine DeVries MD, is on increasing global urologic access through education of local surgeons.  The motto of the organization is “Teach One, Reach Many.”  This philosophy differs substantially from many relief organizations or mission trips.  Most often these trips seek to give aid and provide surgical care in resource poor countries.  While this is a noble sentiment, the impact of these trips may not be very great when they are viewed in the context of a country’s overall population and needs.  How much impact can a single trip have, with 20-40 operations performed in a country with a population of millions?

“This is why IVUmed’s mission and guiding principles are so important.  As opposed to impacting a few patients, surgeons can impact a population by identifying sites where surgeons are wanting to increase the level of care they provide and have the basic resources needed to create this change.

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“In Rwanda, there are 2 urologists for a population of 12 million people!  They are talented surgeons that are concentrated on providing quality care and also upon training more urologists.  They are now training 2 other urologists and anticipate a residency in urology in the future.

“Our trip was the first adult reconstructive urology workshop in Rwanda.  We found that the surgeons there were very talented.  They had excellent fine dissection and made the most of the resources they had.  They perform about 50-60 urethroplasties a year.

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We were able to demonstrate new techniques [that will enhance the local care of severe pelvic injuries].  The [local surgeons] should be able to incorporate [them] into their skill set with their already impressive urethroplasty experience.  These were challenging cases, but not something the Rwandan surgeons had had much exposure to.

“Our team consisted of 2 adult reconstructive urologists, a urology resident, a radiologist who was married to one of the reconstructive urologists, and an anesthesiologist.  We performed about 26 operations in 2 weeks.

 

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“We were able to have the weekend in Kigali, which is the main city in Rwanda.  Our weekend was spent visiting the markets in the city and relaxing.  We also made a visit to the genocide museum.  While this was a difficult visit to make, we felt this was something important to do in order to understand how the genocide has affected all of Rwanda and shaped its current government and culture.

“This was a fantastic trip and our team felt we were able to educate and show the Rwandan surgeons some advanced techniques that they can incorporate very readily into their practice.  I am looking forward to returning and reinforcing these techniques and observing what progress the urologist have made in shaping their urology training programs.  They were inspiring surgeons and individuals and very gracious hosts for our trip.  While it takes a while to get to Rwanda, the experience was worth it.”

 

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IVUmed Founder to Receive Physician of the Year Award

 

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IVUmed president and founder, Catherine deVries, M.D., has been awarded the Castle Connolly National Physician of the Year Award for Clinical Excellence. The Castle Connolly Award recognizes “physicians and leaders in healthcare whose dedication, talents, and skills have improved the lives of countless thousands of people throughout the world.”

 

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The Castle Connolly award presentation will be held in New York City on March 31, 2014. Congratulations to Catherine on receiving this prestigious and much deserved recognition for her years of medical service and the founding of IVUmed, dedicated to making quality surgical and urological training and care available worldwide.

 

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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”.

 

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