Blog

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!

Read More

IVUmed – Helping Children Around the World

IVUmed Rwanda

IVUmed in Rwanda

IVUmed’s Pediatric Urology Capacity Building Program makes quality surgical care available to children around the world – especially in low-resource areas. We accomplish this by building a global network of train-the-trainer centers of excellence. There are no pediatric urologists in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti, and many places in India, leaving millions of children without access to care for debilitating urological conditions.

Pediatric urology diseases, malformations and injuries are among the most common conditions affecting children worldwide, and are up to 10 times more common than cleft lip and palate. In the US, when a baby boy is born with a condition such as hypospadias (a congenital condition in which the opening of the urethra is situated on the underside of the penis instead of at its tip), surgery can be performed before the child is even out of diapers, and there are few to no lasting effects. In countries where this type of surgery is not available however, shame, poor self-esteem and secrecy surround this condition, which often results in adult infertility if left unrepaired.

IVUmed’s teams of volunteer physicians, nurses, and anesthesiologists provide hands-on surgical workshops, lectures, online educational materials, telehealth consultation, and impact measures to equip doctors and nurses with the skills they need to care for children in their communities. In turn, these newly trained medical professionals build future capacity for care by passing along IVUmed training to their colleagues, fulfilling IVUmed’s motto, “Teach One, Reach Many”.

IVUmed’s focus on education stands out among global health organizations, as does our focus on urology. Another unique element to IVUmed is our collaborative model. While IVUmed is guided by a dedicated board and staff, leadership of our programs stems from the dynamic doctors and administrators at our many partner hospitals around the world. Their priorities lead our efforts, which are put into action by our volunteer doctors and nurses. Together, and with the generous donations of many benefactors, we are building a worldwide system of pediatric training programs, ensuring that children everywhere will have access to the care they need.

With the help of supporters like the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Societe Internationale d’Urologie (SIU), the American Urological Association (AUA), the Pan-African Urological Surgeons Association (PAUSA), and regional surgical associations, IVUmed is building a strong global network. Teaching hospitals throughout the world, skilled medical volunteers, ministries of health, local community leaders, international medical societies, regional colleges of surgeons, and charitable foundations combine strengths to give children everywhere the opportunity to lead the healthy, productive lives they deserve.

You can be involved too, whether a physician, engineer, photographer, philanthropist, medical student, etc.  We invite you to explore our volunteer opportunities here.  http://www.ivumed.org/how-you-can-help/

IVUmed patient in Vietnam

IVUmed in Vietnam

 

Read More

June 9-15 is Men’s Health Week!

MHW

June is Men’s Health Week, and the month of June is Men’s Health Month, a time to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” 

 

Men’s Health Month is anchored by a Congressional health education program and celebrated across the country and internationally with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities.

 

IVUmed’s workshops provide quality care and build surgical capacity to serve men and their families  in low-resource regions all over the world. Our medical volunteers provide surgical training for both common and neglected urological conditions affecting men, women, and children. Click here to learn more about IVUmed’s workshops, serving men, women, and children on a local and global scale.

menshealthmonth2JPG

Check out this link from www.menshealthmonth.org if you’d like to participate in Men’s Health Week events in your area!

 

Follow us online for more updates on IVUmed workshops and events around the world:

FacebookLogo_NoEdges   images   linkedin   YouTube Logo

 

Read More

Quotes from the Field: Kumasi, Ghana

March was our busiest month yet at IVUmed – including five workshops across the globe! We’re highlighting this excellent work with quotes from IVUmed volunteer medical providers on those trips and photographs from the regions served.

 

Today’s Highlight: Kumasi, Ghana

 

IMG_5461

“This was my first international trip. The lack of medical supplies and general knowledge was striking to me. Key is to working with what they have and building on basics to help create lasting education and change in practice. I left feeling like we made a difference in caring for these patients and teaching nursing staff how to care for our patients as well. I felt humbled and lucky to have the kind of medical care we have in the US. One of the most memorable things I saw in Ghana was how loving the families were– all of the children had parents there who loved them and were there taking care of them. On rounds in the ward, they all supported each other and it was one big community. I was so happy they were welcoming and were appreciative of what we were there to do.”  (Shared Anonymously)

PED_3

“It was fantastic. I really want to get heavily involved with IVUmed in the future! Let me help!!! Most memorable experience was how grateful the patients are. I work a lot with inner city patients who have no insurance, and I used to think that they would be grateful to have any medical care. I found this to not be the case, so it was just so nice to be able to operate and have patients just be so very grateful and to try to do exactly what the doctors said (even though in some cases there was a language barrier.)” Janae Preece, MD

Bob_lecture

Follow us online for more updates on IVUmed workshops and events around the world:

FacebookLogo_NoEdges   images   linkedin   YouTube Logo

Read More

Notes from the Field: Reconstruction in Rwanda

Myers_Jeremy
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.

Rwanda_boy

“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.

Rwanda_Myers

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.

 

Rwanda_countryside2

“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.”

 

Follow us online for updates on our workshops and other IVUmed events worldwide:

FB Logo    images     linkedin     YouTube Logo

Read More

Programs Update: Kumasi, Ghana

 

Ghana2014_Lecture

IVUmed Chair, Hiep “Bob” Nguyen, MD, recently returned from a pediatric urology workshop in Kumasi, Ghana. He reflected on the IVUmed team’s work there and shared these thoughts on the experience:

 

“It has been a wonderful trip. The team has been working very hard…everyone is exhausted but so energized from being able to take care of so many children. We received so much thanks from the parents, making us wish we could even do more, but there are only so many hours during the day and days during the week.

Ghana_clinic2

“Our Ghanian hosts have been so generous with their time and assistance. They crowd our operating room wanting to learn and share their experience with us. 

PED_5

“The surgical workshops challenge you physically, mentally and spiritually. They give you a new perspective on health care and on kindness, making you a better person with each patient you take care of and each health care provider you help learn.”

 

Follow us online for updates on our workshops and other IVUmed events worldwide:

FB Logo    images     linkedin    YouTube Logo

Read More

February 28th is Rare Disease Day

RDDay

 

Rare Disease Day is an international annual campaign to raise awareness among the general public regarding the world’s rarest diseases and how they impact patients’ lives. According to www.rarediseaseday.org, Rare Disease Day “is also designed for patients and patient representatives, as well as politicians, public authorities, policy-makers, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases.”

 

 

 

IVUmed volunteer physicians and nurses often assist in the treatment of especially difficult or rare cases while training and serving in low-resource environments worldwide. One disease that is extremely rare in the United States but seen more often in tropical climates is lymphatic filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis, a painful and disfiguring disease. LF is most often acquired in childhood, though its visible manifestations occur later in life, causing temporary or permanent disability.

 

 

Rare Disease Day was first launched by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances in 2008 and has since hosted over 1000 events worldwide, with over 70 countries participating in the 2013 events. Check out the 2014 Rare Disease Day events list here for awareness events in your area.

 

Follow IVUmed online for updates on our international workshops and local events:

Facebook  FB Logo                               Twitter  images                                LinkedIn  linkedin

Read More

Anesthesia Open House: March 13th

Attend a volunteering open house for anesthesiology providers:

  • Learn about where IVUmed serves around the world

  • Hear current IVUmed volunteers share personal experiences from their service with IVUmed

  • Discuss the logistics and rewards of humanitarian medical service with IVUmed staff

  • Discover current opportunities to teach fellow physicians and bring quality surgical care to resource-poor communities worldwide!

 

OpenHouse Anesthesia 2

 

IVUmed is dedicated to building urological capacity in resource-poor areas of the world. Anesthesiologists are a crucial element of patient care and a valuable asset to the medical education we provide. Anesthesiologists are invited to join IVUmed medical teams to improve medical care and education in resource-limited parts of the world. For more information, please visit our website: www.ivumed.org or contact Amy at amy@ivumed.org.

Read More

Common, Costly, & Critical: January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

“Birth defects are common, costly, and critical.” is the National Birth Defects Prevention Month theme for January 2014.

BirthDefectMonth

 

Every 4 ½ minutes in the United States, a baby is born with a major birth defect. Birth defects are a leading cause of death among U.S. infants, causing roughly 20% of mortality in the first year of life. Babies born with birth defects are also more likely to have more illness and long term disability than babies without birth defects. National Birth Defects Prevention Month raises awareness about the frequency of birth defects occurring in the United States and the efforts to prevent them. While not all birth defects are preventable, women can do many things to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. The Center for Disease Control suggests:

  • Be fit. Eat a healthy diet and work towards a healthy weight before pregnancy.
  • Be healthy. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. Be sure to consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy.  Work to get health conditions, like diabetes, in control before becoming pregnant.
  • Be wise. Visit a health care professional regularly. Consult with your healthcare provider about any medications, including prescription and over-the counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements, before taking them.

 

Awareness efforts offer hope for reducing the number of birth defects in the future. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) suggests these additional prevention strategies:

  • Manage chronic maternal illnesses such as seizure disorders or phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Avoid toxic substances at work or at home
  • Ensure protection against domestic violence
  • Know their family history and seek reproductive genetic counseling, if appropriate

 

Leslie Beres, MSHyg, President of National Birth Defects Prevention Network, said, It’s also important to remember that many birth defects happen very early during pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant, so planning a pregnancy is key and can also help make a difference.  Managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant increase a woman’s chances of having a healthy baby.

While approximately 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States has a birth defect, the international birth defect statistics are even more disheartening. According to a March of Dimes report, 6 percent of total births worldwide – almost 8 million children – are born with birth defects, with over 4 million infant deaths occurring annually due to birth defects and preterm birth.

When IVUmed started in 1992, our first programs were dedicated to pediatric urology.  Reproductive and urinary tract malformations are among the most common birth defects affecting children worldwide.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

IVUmed addresses the lack of available care through specialized intensive trainings and distance learning opportunities.  Due to continued demand, we have conducted these workshops in over 20 countries since the program first began.

Vietnam_1

IVUmed has various pediatric urology training workshops scheduled for 2014, including visits to India, Kenya, Ghana, Honduras, Vietnam, Senegal, the West Bank, Mongolia, and Zambia.

 

Resources for this article:

March of Dimes

Center for Disease Control

National Birth Defects Prevention Network

 

 

Read More

A Privilege: Final Entry from an IVUmed Nurse in Zambia

The final entry from IVUmed volunteer recovery nurse, Michael Felber, regarding his recent IVUmed humanitarian service in Zambia, shared from his travel journal:

IVUZAMBIA10112013 049

The last patients of the day seem to wake up more slowly. Often they have been under anesthesia longer, since shorter cases are usually scheduled earliest. I think by the end of the day they are also just more tired and hungry. By 6pm the local nurses and porters are ready to go home to their families, and I am sure are also a little concerned about missing the last bus home.Yesterday, Malasa, one of the nurses, was laughing and trying to wake up the patients. My patient wasn’t interested in waking up until she tugged on his earlobe and said “Boy, do you want to go see your mother?” He sat right up.  Douglas was still not interested in waking up, despite Malasa’s best effort. I told Malasa that I was going to wake her up at home on her day off, and she laughed. Finally, Douglas started to stir. We put a syringe of orange Fanta in his mouth and when the bubbles hit his tongue he startled. Then he began expertly sucking down the Fanta. By 6:30, everyone was on their way home.

 

So far, today has been pretty upbeat. For morning lecture, the residents played urology jeopardy. Everyone seems pleased with the number of children we have been able to treat.

 

Throughout the week, one operating room has remained open for emergency pediatric cases. They have ranged from routine appendectomies, removal of foreign bodies, to more complex cases. Yesterday a 5 day old baby was brought in with a malrotated bowel, like a twisted garden hose. By the time of her surgery her entire small intestines was necrotic from loss of circulation. The bowel had to be removed. She would need IV nutrition and ultimately a small bowel transplant, neither of which is available here.We watched her in recovery until she could be transferred to the ICU, where she will stay with her parents and receive comfort care. Today, a one week old premature baby was brought in for closure of gastroschisis, a condition where the stomach or bowel protrudes from the abdomen. In developing countries it is treated initially by suturing a sterile “silo” over the protruding bowel and gradually pushing it back into the abdomen. For this patient they used a sterile IV fluid bag and gradually compressing the end of it, like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. The baby weighed about 2.5 pounds, but was breathing well. It is amazing that he survived this far, but he still has huge obstacles ahead. Still, miracles don’t happen by themselves.

 

Complex patients and surgeries are scheduled in the beginning of the week so the team is available to deal with complications. Still, we are here to work, so a full day is planned. The last patients are as important as the first, so nobody can afford to let their guard down.

 

IVUZAMBIA10112013 026

By the end of today we will have treated over thirty children. It’s hard to measure results, though. Certainly numbers of patients treated and people trained are important, but you can’t measure up front how a surgery will affect an individual patient’s life, or what someone has learned from your teaching and your example, and what they will do with their knowledge.In medicine, you work with people and then you both move on. You rarely see the long term results of your work. There are far more built in obstacles than any individual or organization can change, but in the long run change is possible. Johnny Clegg, a South African musician, says in one of his songs that if you want a better future you have to “fetch it” yourself.

It’s also hard to measure the effect on ourselves, but I think it is overwhelmingly positive. At least most people I meet on these ventures want to come back. The imprints of experiences and people stay with you. Working with limited resources teaches you to be appreciative and creative. You learn not to waste your time or energy focusing on what you don’t have.And you learn again and again to regard your work as a privilege.

Zambia100613 015

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