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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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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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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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Resident Scholar Reflections

Judith Hagedorn, MD
Stanford University
Hebron, West Bank – March 15 – March 24, 2012
Mentor: Dr. Scott Eggener
Sponsored by: Verathon

Through the generous sponsorship provided by Verathon, Dr. Judith Hagedorn traveled to Hebron, West Bank with mentor Dr. Scott Eggener to learn and assist surgeries at Hebron Hospital. Although in a politically turmoiled area, Dr. Hagedorn was able to develop an understanding of the diversities in healthcare due to limited resources.

Reporting on her experience, Dr. Hagedorn stated:

“Every morning we got picked up with the Ambulance of the Hebron Hospital. Our Palestinian driver made a daily pit stop, either to get some strong Arabic coffee or freshly fried falafels. 

“The hospital was quite simple, but clean. The staff was very friendly and showed

their appreciation for our visit. In addition, the patients were overly thankful and there was never a day we didn’t leave the hospital without a small present from one of the patients’ families.

“The clinical decision-making was also quite interesting and different from what I had learned in the Western World…. I had a wonderful, eye-opening, and rewarding experience, which definitely strengthened my passion to contribute to global health, and I am already looking forward to my next international medical/surgical trip.”

Interested in learning more about our resident scholar program?

Find more information at our website, www.ivumed.org.
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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.