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  • Walks of life | Alberta Medical Association
    following hip and knee replacement surgery Without access to essential surgical and medical interventions many people in Cuenca Ecuador are condemned to life in wheelchairs a fate that can leave entire families financially destitute It was this reality that inspired Dr Thomas H Greidanus an Edmonton orthopedic surgeon to create Operation Esperanza an organization dedicated to helping the people of Cuenca We see many women who are in their early 30s with arthritis in one or both hips explains Dr Greidanus And then they can t work they can t look after their families and often they are abandoned by their husbands because of it Having a hip replacement is life changing not only because the pain is gone but because it gives them back their lives Each year Dr Greidanus leads a multidisciplinary medical mission to Cuenca to offer medical care and pediatric and adult surgeries that might otherwise be out of reach Over the past 16 years he and his team have seen as many as 250 patients each visit and performed dozens of surgeries for patients living with debilitating conditions They ve also worked to help educate and inform the people of Cuenca on how to prevent hip injuries We noticed early on that way they wrap their babies or carry them in slings increases their risk for dislocated hips We know that it s difficult to change the things they ve learned from their mothers and grandmothers and that s why education is key Although coordinating the travel arrangements and overseeing the donation and transportation of necessary equipment and medication requires considerable time and effort from Dr Greidanus he stresses that it s worth it It s been so rewarding to be able to help people who would never be able to have this kind of

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/walks-of-life (2016-02-01)
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  • A reason to smile | Alberta Medical Association
    International It s not the kind of vacation everyone would sign up for but for Calgary pediatric anesthesiologist Dr Robin G Cox the chance to spend two weeks inside an operating room in a foreign country is irresistible Especially when he s helping to change the lives of children who might otherwise never receive much needed reconstructive surgery There s a group of pediatric anesthesiologists in Calgary and many of us work with organizations that do this kind of mission work explains Dr Cox who volunteers with ReSurge International a group that provides reconstructive surgery for the world s poorest people Since 2008 Dr Cox has made four trips to countries such as Peru and Vietnam where a team of anesthesiologists and surgeons perform up to 80 reconstructive surgeries on cleft lips and burns It s important on these trips to have people who have been around for awhile notes Dr Cox You need to be able to work under sometimes difficult circumstances He recounts that during his most recent trip to Vietnam the team had propped the window of the operating room open slightly to vent gases when a snake decided to join them in the OR We had this poisonous pit viper in the room with us and a patient asleep so we just had to carry on until the surgery was done It was a good ending for the patient but not a good ending for the snake laughs Dr Cox Despite sometimes harrowing conditions Dr Cox intends to continue volunteering his time to more medical missions A lot of these children face social stigma so to be able to come in and help them live more normal lives is quite rewarding It reminds you how lucky we are to live and work where we do And

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/a-reason-to-smile-cox (2016-02-01)
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  • A global perspective | Alberta Medical Association
    passionate about family medicine So much so that she created the Global Generation Foundation GGF in 2011 specifically to build medical capacity in countries around the world by helping to educate family physicians who will live and practice where they are needed most I was really inspired during these visits to Asia and Africa where I saw the disparity between where the physicians work and where the people live explains Dr Gibson who was named one of Calgary s Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine the year the foundation began In a lot of these countries you have 80 of the physicians in the city while 80 of the population lives rurally Dr Gibson launched the not for profit in collaboration with her husband a Calgary entrepreneur with a goal of health for all GGF has attracted interest from dozens of volunteers with expertise in medicine and community development They ve also worked to establish respectful partnerships with groups that share their commitment to family medicine and capacity building Family medicine is really an emerging specialty in some parts of the world and to be part of helping these countries define how to meet their community needs is quite exciting As with any small organization funding is always a struggle and GGF will be hosting a golf tournament on August 15 to raise funds to support ongoing projects in Africa Those projects along with initiatives like GGF s waiting room sessions where family physicians offer talks on subjects people don t discuss with their own doctor have become a driving passion for Dr Gibson I really feel like the world could be doing more to support its neighbours better Now is the time to do it and I want to be a part of that More about this initiative

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/global-perspective (2016-02-01)
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  • Helping communities help themselves | Alberta Medical Association
    on their own VIDEO Watch this video to learn more about the Healthy Child Uganda initiative Healthy Child Uganda was formed in 2002 as a partnership between the University of Calgary the Canadian Pediatric Society and Mbarara University in Uganda We recognized that there was this huge challenge in terms of maternal and child survival in rural Uganda recalls Dr Jenn Brenner a pediatrician at Alberta Children s Hospital who teaches at the University of Calgary and is one of the founding members of the partnership Our focus from the start was on the promotion of community based health practices This includes training community health workers who are selected by their own communities to receive basic training on what they can do to improve the health of children in their communities The main killer diseases where we work are things like malaria diarrhea and malnutrition so we look at what we can do Simple things like clearing bushy areas to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and using mosquito nets to prevent malaria Things which community health workers can do Since its launch Healthy Child Uganda has grown to serve almost half a million people and train 3 000 4 000 community health workers We ve had great outcomes and have shown that with focused activities you can have a measurable impact on child and maternal health Our goal has always been to build capacity and then leave communities in a better position to then manage on their own It s been a life changing experience for Dr Brenner who still travels regularly to Uganda It has been really rewarding and I m so inspired by the people I ve worked with in Uganda and by their passion for their communities There is such tremendous potential there and it s been

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/helping-communities-help-themselves (2016-02-01)
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  • Seeing success | Alberta Medical Association
    and complex Although a diagnosis or retinal disease is always frightening here in Canada it can usually be treated quickly But in developing nations like Cameroon where there are few specialists and limited medical facilities the diagnosis often means permanent blindness That s what motivated a medical team from Edmonton s Royal Alexandra Hospital to travel to Mutengene Cameroon in early April to help save and restore sight for local patients Here in Edmonton I may see one or two very complex cases each year explains Dr Matthew T Tennant an Edmonton retinal specialist surgeon and associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta But in Cameroon every single case was difficult and complex He notes that many patients had been living with retinal detachments for a number of years and one patient in particular who hadn t been able to see since age five had her sight restored by the team at age 25 During their four days in surgery the team completed 32 separate complex surgeries dealing with retinal detachments Although it was a daunting schedule Dr Tennant found the hardest part was not being able to accommodate everyone People came from a long way away and were very patient in waiting to be seen The trip was prompted by an invitation from a former retina fellow at the University of Alberta who returned to Cameroon It was a great experience and something I d love to do again especially if we can travel as a team Working together with the equipment we were able to bring it was literally like working here at home And being able to do what we do for people who would never have access to this kind of care is pretty incredible More about Dr Tennant s project Read about Dr Tennant

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/seeing-success (2016-02-01)
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  • Creating a family tradition | Alberta Medical Association
    s important and what s possible Created with flickr slideshow PHOTOS See photos from Dr Comeau s medical missions including the recent trip to Kenya with medical students from the University of Alberta Dr Ray Comeau is no stranger to working on international medical missions The family physician from Sylvan Lake and his wife Deryl a registered nurse have made several trips abroad through their work with A Better World Canada making nine trips to six different countries since 2002 This type of work really changes your perspective on what s important and what s possible explains Dr Comeau Last June Dr Comeau was able to share his passion for improving health care in developing nations with the next generation of physicians when he accompanied a group of University of Alberta medical students to Kenya Not surprisingly the group included his own son One of the mandates of A Better World Canada is to get young professionals exposed to overseas work says Dr Comeau During the trip the three students worked alongside Dr Comeau his wife and other volunteers to deliver much needed medical care to patients in a village outside of Nairobi and later at a hospital in Mombasa It was an inspiring experience for all involved The students were able to do investigations and develop treatment plans notes Dr Comeau While there they encountered everything from anthrax and leukemia to injuries and arthritis We were able to do a lot of good things including de worming an entire community The students were also humbled by the gratitude of their patients To see the difference we can make in the lives of others is so fulfilling Hopefully this work will continue to be part of their professional careers Find out more U of A medical students say work in

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/family-tradition (2016-02-01)
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  • Uncharted waters | Alberta Medical Association
    they can live with them their whole lives and they become disabling For me it was a pretty standard surgery but for them it was life changing For Calgary trauma physician Dr Andrew Kirkpatrick the chance to spend three weeks working as a member of a medical team on a medical mercy ship was the fulfilment of a promise I had travelled to Sierra Leone as a medical student back in the mid 80s and always wanted to go back and do something for the people there he explains Last May he got his chance serving on Mercy Ships African Mary while it was docked in Togo West Africa Each year the ship visits a different country docking in the harbour and providing as much surgical care as they can It s a huge ship the size of an ocean liner and had six operating rooms recalls Dr Kirkpatrick While there he worked as a general surgeon and spent much of his three weeks on the ship repairing hernias Here a hernia isn t a big deal but there they can live with them their whole lives and they become disabling For me it was a pretty standard surgery but for them it was life changing Although he s proud of what he accomplished while there he is quick to note that his stint was relatively short We have nurses in the Foothills operating room who have gone for six months He s already planning his next trip and hopes to bring his wife a cardiac anesthetist and two young children with him I m grateful for the support my family gives me to do this work and would love to give my kids a chance to see the world and see how lucky they are to be Canadian Find

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/uncharted-waters (2016-02-01)
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  • Off the beaten path | Alberta Medical Association
    have or don t have VIDEO Learn more about Dr Lobay s goodwill trip to Cambodia As a volunteer with Kindness in Action Dr Kevin Lobay has made seven trips since 2006 each one taking him to a country where modern dental and medical care is urgently needed The minute you hit the ground you re organizing supplies and setting up your workspace explains Dr Lobay Then you get to work doing cleanings fillings extractions draining abscesses and educating people on how to manage problems Often Dr Lobay and his colleagues struggle to secure electricity to power the tools they need relying on local ingenuity to keep things running And even with power sometimes the tools simply won t work On our most recent trip to Uganda often the equipment didn t work so we did what we could doing extractions and hand scaling As a physician he was also able to treat minor injuries and perform sutures when necessary VIDEO Dr Lobay and his team adapt to conditions at one of their clinics dealing with power supply issues Although the work can be exhausting Dr Lobay a clinical lecturer in the department of emergency medicine and a clinical instructor with the School of Dentistry at the U of A is inspired by the patients he meets on his trips The people in Uganda are incredibly impoverished yet they re among the happiest people I ve ever met For me it just shows that happiness isn t about the things you have or don t have Dr Lobay has shared his international experience with both students and colleagues and often sends out a call within the faculty when a new mission is being planned I tell everyone that this is an incredible opportunity to see the world and learn more

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/advocating/many-hands/off-beaten-path (2016-02-01)
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