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TODAY news for Thursday, February 12, 2007

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

LLUAHSC looking for additional personnel for Afghan hospital

Brian Cozad, warehouse logistics coordinator for the LLUAHSC office of global outreach, prepares to ship one of a number of incubators to the U.S. military for use in Iraq.
Brian Cozad, warehouse logistics coordinator for the LLUAHSC office of global outreach, prepares to ship one of a number of incubators to the U.S. military for use in Iraq.
From its very beginnings more than 100 years ago, Loma Linda has been a strong proponent of both healthful living and outreach.

Its very name, College of Medical Evangelists, suggested the training of health professionals who would take the message of health, as well as the Gospel, to the “ends of the earth.” To date, hundreds of Loma Linda University alumni have served internationally in a variety of capacities.

In addition, an increasing number of health care staff from other Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center (LLUAHSC) entities have become involved in international outreach projects.

To help focus and expand these efforts, as well as solicit both internal and external resources, the LLUAHSC office of global outreach was formed.

“There is a renewed interest in outreach and service on our campus,” says Jerry Daly, MSLS, vice president for global outreach, LLUAHSC. “The task of my office is to match students, faculty, and staff—a wide array of health care professionals—to the best outreach and service opportunities for them.”

Working closely with the Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) office of international affairs, led by Jan Zumwalt, RN, MS, MBA, individuals from Loma Linda are sent abroad, and international health professionals are being brought to Loma Linda for professional upgrading or training.

Afghanistan

Perhaps the best example of the work of the office of global outreach is the Loma Linda connection in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Agency for International Development—better known as USAID—has renewed its cooperative agreement with Loma Linda to continue working with Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, as well as Kabul Medical University (KMU).

The two-year USAID cooperative agreement of $6.6 million will help support the management of the largely orthopaedic hospital by Loma Linda, as well as faculty development for KMU.

USAID, Mr. Daly explains, is an organization which works to build or rebuild the infrastructure in countries ravaged by war, devastated by natural disasters, or incapacitated for other reasons. This revitalization process usually addresses such areas as education, public works, disaster response, and health care.

“Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital is staffed by seven full-time individuals from Loma Linda and two from the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP),” Mr. Daly continues, “including a hospital administrator, CFO, two nurse educators, a trauma/general surgeon, anesthesiologist, internist, and two clinical laboratory technologists.”

Some of these individuals will soon be returning to the United States. “We’re also hoping to recruit more individuals,” Mr. Daly suggests, “including an orthopaedic surgeon, a nursing director, and a nurse educator.”

Anyone who is interested should contact the LLUAHSC office of global outreach or LLUMC department of international affairs.

“There are nine hospitals in Kabul,” Mr. Daly points out. “Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital has 210 beds with a census of between 170 and 180 patients per day, sees about 125 patients a day in its emergency rooms (one for men and one for women), and treats approximately 150 outpatients each day.”

The hospital employs 341 individuals, with 90 physicians, 120 nurses, and the remaining as support staff.

“Our primary goals at the hospital in Kabul,” Mr. Daly elaborates, “are to improve the standard of care and build the capacity of the hospital—all with the understanding that we won’t be there forever and the hospital will need to operate on its own.”

To reach these goals, daily in-service training and lectures are provided for the staff. Newer technologies are being introduced and staff are being trained to use them. A system of cost recovery is being implemented to offset expenses.

“We’ve learned from our experiences with Adventist Health International (AHI),” Mr. Daly details. “AHI works with 32 hospitals around the world.” He adds, “Global outreach is closely involved with the outreach and support activities of Adventist Health International.”

One source for projects is the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“The General Conference helps us identify needs,” according to Mr. Daly. “Our Church leaders know that they can ask Loma Linda for help and resources.”

Campus collaborations

Mr. Daly is excited about the emerging cooperative structure that is evolving at Loma Linda.

“This is truly a collaborative effort,” he insists. “Departments all across our campuses who don’t usually interact are partnering together to reach shared outreach and service goals.”

This distinguishes Loma Linda, Mr. Daly feels, from other educational and health care institutions. “People here are excited about serving others.”

Distribution of resources

Another facet of the LLUAHSC office of global outreach includes coordinating the distribution of surplus medical and dental equipment and resources to international sites.

The equipment and supplies come not only from Loma Linda, but from sources across the United States.

Loma Linda serves as a clearing house for these items, ensuring that pieces of equipment are in good working order and properly shipped to places that can best utilize them.

For instance, the LLUAHSC office of global outreach recently shipped a number of incubators to Iraq for military use.

“The incubators were in excellent working condition,” Mr. Daly describes. “We sent them for the U.S. military to use in some of its military hospitals which treat civilians.”

When the local health care systems fail them, many of the local inhabitants living around U.S. military installations will come to the U.S. military hospitals for help.

“We match equipment and supplies with an appropriate setting,” Mr. Daly elaborates. “For example, incubators require an oxygen supply, stable electricity, and properly trained personnel.”

Gastroenterologist Michael “Micky” Walter, MD, associate professor of medicine, LLU School of Medicine, is a retired general in the U.S. Army and served in Iraq. Dr. Walter was instrumental in contacting and arranging for the donation of the incubators to the U.S. military.

“We had custom cartons made and built crates for the incubators,” Mr. Daly remembers. “Then we shipped them to Baltimore, where they were integrated into the military supply system. It was quite a process!”

The global outreach system at Loma Linda is developing and evolving. Through a collaborative effort, people are finding opportunities to experience the joy of service, and medical equipment and supplies are reaching hospitals and clinics around the world that can truly benefit.

“We want to have a system in place that allows us to quickly and efficiently respond to the needs of our world,” Mr. Daly articulates, “while providing students and staff with opportunities for service.”

For information about the LLUAHSC office of global outreach, call (909) 558-4420. For the Medical Center office of international affairs, call (909) 558-7748.

By Larry S. Kidder, MA

TODAY news for Thursday, February 12, 2007