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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

 

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Notes from the Field: Hue, Vietnam – Part 2

Lawrence Jenkins, II, M.D. , an IVUmed resident scholar, volunteered with our general urology workshop in Hue, Vietnam on March 10-22, 2014. This is the second half of selections from his field notes:

Notes from the Field:  Hue, Vietnam

 

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Day 5

There was a ceremony with the university directors and urology senior staff where Dr. Hampton was given the title of Visiting Professor. It was nice yet very formal and Dr. Petrossian and I received small wooden plaques with the university and hospital name on it to commemorate our trip. Drs. Hampton and Petrossian left to go back to the US.

Day 5-7 – I took a bus to Hoi An, which was 4 hours south of Hue. I arrived in town at night and went into town to see a lantern festival where they turn off the lights and businesses only use candlelight and lanterns, and people place paper lanterns in the river. The next day, I took a tour to My Son Holy land, a sanctuary dating from the 4th to 13th centuries. We stopped at island on the way back to see sculptures and carvings being made. Later, I walked around the old town for a bit, then found a cooking class and made some delicious meals. In the morning before leaving I took an 8.7 mile / 14 km bike ride into the countryside and saw life outside of the tourist area.

 

Day 8

I met Dr. Kahan, from New Hampshire, who was the faculty mentor for the second week. This was his fifth or sixth trip to Hue. There were several open stone surgeries that day, one renal and two ureteral. The technique that the Vietnamese doctors had was superb and they were able to efficiently remove the stones without unnecessary manipulation. The afternoon surgeries were performed in the same room and at the same time as a general surgery case, which is unheard of in the US at the present time with infection concerns.

 

Day 9

We performed another nephrectomy, this was for a kidney with chronic infections. That evening the urology staff took us out for dinner and drinks. It was fun and we were able to socialize not only about urology but about life in Vietnam vs life in the US.

 

Day 10

We did 2 percutaneous nephrolithotomies with new renal access gained with the assistance of fluoroscopy. Both were for lower pole stones. The only method they have available for lithotripsy is laser; however, in the US we have pneumatic and ultrasonic lithotripsy as well. They were having difficulty gaining access and I was able to show a different method that I learned during residency. It felt good to be able to show them something new since they were showing me so much about open stone surgery.

 

Day 11

I did my third presentation for their morning conference. Most people seemed interested and had some good questions. We then went to see some surgeries and in the afternoon I spent some time in the clinic with one of the attendings. The clinic was one room amongst a group of many clinic rooms that likely rotated specialty. In the evening, we had a closing dinner on the river with the department. It was very nice to see everybody again and enjoy the authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

 

Day 12 – 13

Dr. Kahan left to go back to the US. I rented a scooter and rode around the countryside with one of the Vietnamese doctors, Dr Fu. We went to see several Buddhist temples and a lookout point with a great view over the Perfume River. That evening, I left for my extremely long trip back home.

Overall, it was an amazing experience that changed my perception of not only urology but the general delivery of healthcare. Seeing what they were able to do with much less equipment makes me appreciate what we have so much more. In Hue, medicine is pure, not overwhelmed by the need to order extra tests in fear of malpractice lawsuits. The Vietnamese doctors were very welcoming and I hope to go back one day.

 

 

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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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June 9-15 is Men’s Health Week!

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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.

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

 

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Quotes from the Field: Dakar, Senegal

Our recent pediatric urology workshop in Dakar, Senegal was a great success! Enjoy quotes from IVUmed volunteer medical providers who served in Senegal and photographs from the region:

 

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“Seeing the surgeons who, a few years ago, were unable to even to basic cases, and now can evaluate and treat many of the cases we see, was very encouraging.” Mark Bellinger, MD (helped conduct the first IVUmed workshop in Senegal)

 

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“IVUmed continues to impress me with its tactical deployment of superb surgical services in locations interested in international collaboration and assistance. Thank you to the Board of Directors and the IVUmed staff for providing these enriching opportunities. All of the trips I have taken with IVUmed have been exhilarating and I am thrilled to use my skills to help others.” Robert Lembersky, MD

 

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“This trip was fabulous and it was so wonderful to see how eager to learn and improve the hosts were. I felt the “Teach One, Reach Many” mission was being honored.” Moira E. Dwyer, MD

 

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Quotes from the Field: San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Our recent workshop in Honduras is the 4th feature in our “Quotes from the Field” series. With five workshops around the world, March was our busiest month to date! 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:  San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Our pediatric and endo urology workshop in San Pedro Sula was lead by Rama Jayanthi, M.D.. Our IVUmed team saw 105 patients and performed 57 surgeries. They also provided training for 10 doctors and nurses.

 

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When asked to describe a most memorable experience or insight from the trip, volunteer surgeon, Anna Staudt, M.D., responded, “The whole thing! It’s just not work at all. The people were great, compassionate and helpful.”

 

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“This trip was an amazing experience on many levels. I learned techniques from the Honduran surgeons that I hadn’t seen before. The procedures they taught me were techniques that they had learned from other visiting urologists from Europe. This type of international exchange of knowledge was impressive.”  – Megan Schober, M.D., pediatric urologist

 

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“There were no conflicts. We all knew we had one goal and that was follow IVU’s mission. The local staff were receptive and willing to participate at all levels of care for the children.”  – Ashay Patel, D.O., urologist

“The IVU team cohesiveness was outstanding. From the moment of landing and getting of the plane, we really gelled and that made the week run very smoothly.”  – Doug Storm, M.D., pediatric urologist

 

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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

 

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“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)

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“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

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