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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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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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Surgical Groups Like IVUmed Can Help Combat Ebola Outbreak

“While the fear of Ebola delays efforts to treat surgical patients in need”, according to General Surgery News, “African surgeons do their best in time of fear and lacking resources.” See full article here.  For the last 20 years, IVUmed has sent groups of talented, dedicated medical volunteers into low-resource areas in Africa and around the world to teach local physicians and nurses patient care and management for surgical conditions in non-emergency situations. This training can also be applied to successfully manage public health emergencies like the Ebola outbreak. With strong surgical infrastructure in place, medical providers who have been taught by IVUmed already have the knowledge they need to meet the challenges of a crisis situation.

Local physicians and nurses are taught skills for acute care, patient management, sterile technique, and other key areas of surgical and infectious disease management. Additionally, successful treatment of the crippling effects of many surgical conditions builds the confidence of communities in their healthcare providers and hospitals to allow for more rapid and effective response to disease outbreaks. Since surgical success is plainly visible, local patients gain trust in the capabilities of their hospitals and hospital staff.

Through our Teach One, Reach Many model, IVUmed helps improve the overall strength of our global partner institutions.   Get involved and support the life-changing work of IVUmed today.  www.IVUmed.org

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“Movember” is Here!

As you probably know, “Movember” is a global movement each November aimed at raising awareness of men’s health risks, especially prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. Using the mustache as a catalyst, Movember encourages men to invest in their own health by more openly talking about their health concerns and more proactively seeking necessary medical care.

This is important stuff!  Did you know that the WHO (World Health Organization) expects the number of prostate cancer cases to double to 1.7 million in less than 20 years?  

IVUmed experts provide education for treatment of common urological cancers such as bladder and prostate cancer all around the world.  

Go get checked, and if you need to, get treated.  In countries that IVUmed serves, these treatable conditions go undiagnosed and can cause untold suffering and death.  

You can help! 

Encourage your man to grow a mustache…unless you don’t like them.  If that’s the case, just encourage them to make an appointment and get a physical.  Women get mammograms – let’s get guys to take their health seriously too!

You can also make a donation to the life-saving work of IVUmed in honor of the man in your life.  Instead of new mustache wax for the holidays, make a gift to IVUmed in your guy’s name. 

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Go here for more information regarding the Movember movement.

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Urology Residents: Apply Now

Applications are now being accepted for our Traveling Resident Scholar program for the 2015-2016 academic year.  North American urology residents and fellows who will be PGY-3 or above during the next academic year are eligible to apply.  For applications, please visit http://www.ivumed.org/what-we-do/traveling-resident-scholars/ .  The deadline is February 1, 2015.  For more information, please contact our office at 801-524-0201.

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urology resident scholarship opportunity

 

 

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Dr. Robert Edelstein: Friend of Haiti

Dr. Robert Edelstein first traveled to Haiti for humanitarian service after the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in 2010. However, his commitment to helping improve medical training and patient care in Haiti was not satisfied through a single visit. He has just returned from his fourth IVUmed surgical workshop in Deschapelles, Haiti, working with fellow IVUmed volunteers to build sustainable urology capacity there. 

  Dr. Edelstein answered a few questions regarding his experiences volunteering with IVUmed and his insights on the benefits of educational and humanitarian medical service for the givers and receivers:

 

1. What has kept you inspired to volunteer in Haiti and work with IVUmed?  I first went to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, because I felt a very strong need to help out in any way that I could.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but it ended up being a very productive trip.  While there, I felt that I had to return. The need for urologic services in Haiti is profound, and the strength and resourcefulness of the Haitian people is very inspiring. I had always wanted to work with IVU due to its experience, urologic focus, and commitment to teaching, and I have been lucky enough to do so in the years since.

2.  What have been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of your IVUmed service so far?  The most rewarding aspect to me is having the opportunity to work with Haitian health care professionals. The trip gives an excellent opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences. There are many challenges, of course, but finding solutions together can be a great part of the experience. 

3.  What insights can you share with other medical professionals considering working with IVUmed or other humanitarian organizations?  The opportunity to serve outside of the United States is a uniquely challenging and deeply satisfying experience. Many of the things that we take for granted daily don’t exist in rural Haiti, and often new ways must be found to solve problems using the local resources. The depth of knowledge and resources that IVU has to work with is inspiring and reassuring on these trips.

For the latest information on IVUmed trips and events, follow us online: 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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Board member, Dr. Francis Schneck and daughter, Meghan recognized by local community for service in Zambia

Board member and Medical Services Committee Chair, Dr. Francis Schneck, recently led our workshop in Lusaka, Zambia. His daughter, Meghan, joined the team to help with logistics and interacting with the patients. Her high school field hockey team recognized her off-the-field time was worth it!

Read more: Mt. Lebanon field hockey player helps African mercy mission 

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Understanding International Volunteerism – Focus in Haiti


After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, there was an influx of medical volunteers and desire to help in such a traumatic event. While this displays admirable initiative, there are many factors that go into international medical volunteerism outside of the desire to do good work that require experience and understanding of local culture.  In one study, co-authored by Richard Gosselin of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, almost two-thirds of the surgeons who volunteered in Haiti had no prior disaster experience.

When a nation has declared a natural disaster, “disaster relief” is primarily in the first 24 to 72 hours following the event. In this situation, outside aid must be completely independent of local resources; providing their own medicines, staff, food, water, sometimes electricity and anything else needed to perform their role. The troubled area cannot be depended on or depleted of remaining resources when providing assistance. Many medical volunteers do not recognize or have the capacity to provide these resources when traveling to provide assistance; military and governmental organizations, primarily, are able to.

As days, weeks and months go by, the focus is on humanitarian aid. Many organizations will have developed a base for care and semi-permanent facilities. At this point, medical volunteers are able to connect and work with a well-experienced and community-integrated group to efficiently provide care. In this setting, doctors are able to use resources immediately available to them to perform surgery in a safe and effective way for the nation in need.

 With social media and news outlets, charitable organizations and medical providers have expressed the consequences of “inexperienced” medical volunteers. Questions we need to ask ourselves are:

When are we doing more harm than good?

Is this the best use of our skills and time?

How can we avoid recreating the wheel?

What can I learn before going into a culture completely different from my own?

Whether you are a community volunteer or a volunteer with a specific skill set, it is crucial to consider these questions when helping in disaster relief or humanitarian aid.

 

In the coming months, IVUmed is performing two surgical workshops in Haiti, one in Pignon and one in Deschapelles. Both the leaders and many of the volunteers going on these trips have been at least once a year for the past two years. This has given us the opportunity to develop relationships and partner with other organizations, such as Project Haiti and well established hospitals in the region.

 

To hear an informative podcast on the consequences of volunteering, please click here: The Tragic Consequences of Crisis Volunteering, by Amy Costello.

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