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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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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: Kilgali, Rwanda

IVUmed service last month included five workshops, making March our busiest month to date! We’re highlighting this tremendous work with quotes from IVUmed volunteer medical providers on those trips and photographs from the regions served.

 

Today’s Highlight:  Kilgali, Rwanda

Our reconstructive urology workshop in Kilgali was a great success. Lead by Jeremy Myers, M.D., our IVUmed team  saw 30 patients and performed 25 surgeries. They also provided training for 12 doctors and nurses.

 

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“This was very enlightening for me, allowing me to see and experience the challenges facing health care delivery in a developing country. It was a great opportunity to visit an area of the world previously unknown to me.”

– Stuart Anderson, MD

 

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“It means a lot to expand knowledge in an area where there are talented surgeons and in Rwanda the trip felt impactful.” Jeremy Myers, MD

 

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“Felt proud to be part of team that helped to pass on valuable skills to our Rwandan colleagues.” Olufenwa Famakinwa, 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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IVUmed Volunteer Featured in Local Paper

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IVUmed is currently conducting a female reconstructive urology workshop in Pignon, Haiti at the Hopital Bienfaisance de Pignon until March 27, followed by a male reconstructive urology workshop through April 5th. The Morrison County Record out of Minnesota interviewed Justin Lindhart, a CRNA volunteer on the female urology team, on his fifth medical service trip to Haiti.

 

In his interview, Lindhardt shared details regarding his work with IVUmed and insights into providing medical training and care in Haiti, giving a perspective on the challenges and rewards of working in resource-poor areas around the world.

 

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Lindhardt is quoted, saying,  “IVUmed takes care of the background checks, helps with booking flights, places to stay, insurance and proof of licensure, etc. They make it much easier for us…Our goal is to teach the Haitian physicians and nurses the necessary skills in current urology practice.”

“The hospital at Pignon, in comparison to other third world countries, is outstanding. They have Stryker Endo Suites which means they have high definition monitors and video equipment. They are able to hook up by satellite to any hospital around the world to assist in teaching and learning from others. By using this equipment they are able to watch other procedures at other sites,” Lindhardt said.

“The thing that impresses me the most is the resilience of the patients. An example is we did a procedure on a 3-year-old boy who had a hernia. The next day he got on a motorcycle with his dad for the three-hour trip home. Never complaining or fussing at all.”

“In other years we had support  in the form of supplies from St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Catholic Health Initiatives, and Little Falls Anesthesia which we were very thankful for. Now there is funding through IVUmed and others. They have everything we need ready for us when we get there,” he said.

Lindhardt concluded his interview by saying, “It is an absolutely wonderful learning experience. I would encourage anyone who can to try the experience.”

 

Our thanks to the Morrison County Record for covering this story, and to Justin Lindhardt and all of the many IVUmed volunteers who serve around the world to help realize IVUmed’s goal to make quality urological care available to all people.

Read the original interview on The Morrison County Record website here.

 

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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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Women’s Month Feature: Kristin Chrouser

 

IVUmed Board Member and Volunteer:  Kristin Chrouser, MD

 

Dr. Kristin Chrouser was IVUmed’s first fellow and has been an IVUmed board member since 2004.

 

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Dr. Kristin Chrouser has trained and assisted doctors in Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, India, and elsewhere. Of her reconstructive urology work for women of Namibia, Dr. Chrouser stated, “the smiles and often spontaneous dances of joy that erupt when a woman leaves the hospital cured and dry make it all worthwhile”.

She became involved with IVUmed when she traveled to India as a Traveling Resident Scholar. She spent two weeks at a urology camp in Bhopal, India organized by local Hindu charity Jeev Sewa Sansthan (JSS), which translates as “Service to the Living”. The organization, founded on the principle that God is seen in all people, has founded several schools, an eye hospital, and provides several short-term urology and general surgery “camps” each year. IVUmed partners with JSS to provide US urologists and resident volunteers for JSS camps.

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Dr. Chrouser and mentor Dr Sakti Das, a veteran IVUmed mentor and long-time India camp participant, scrubbed in together on dozens of cases.

About her experience in India, Dr Chrouser reflected:

“Surgically, I had an amazing experience. There were moments of frustration—language barriers, incorrect suture, no sterile forceps with teeth, scissors that refused to cut, inadequate anesthesia, but overall, given the environment, things ran very smoothly… I learned that a dorsal lumbotomy incision can be used to access the collecting system in an adult (with minimal need for post-operative analgesia), as long as you’re willing to work in a hole! I found that almost anything can be done under spinal anesthesia—as long as you don’t mind your patient watching you operate…Despite my inability to speak Hindi, I saw in the eyes of my patients a message of hope. It made me forget the small inconveniences of working in India and remember the real reason for service to others.”

 

 

Read more about Dr. Chrouser’s work on her website: www.freewebs.com/chrouser.

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