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EarthMed Medical Mission to Mongolia a Success

by Rabia Paracha, Staff Reporter | August 05, 2009
Three of the ten
earthMed medical team
members that traveled to
Mongolia to perform
several open heart
and lung surgical
procedures with local
staff members in two
hospitals are pictured here.
A team of ten earthMed medical volunteers just returned from their travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to train Mongolian medical staff and conduct evaluations for improving health care. The earthMed medical team was in Mongolia since last May performing several open heart and surgical lung procedures with Mongolian staff members in two hospitals.

The medical team provided cardiovascular and valve replacement surgery and anesthesia training, lung biopsy and resection surgery training, orthopedic/regional anesthesia training, operating room nursing training, pharmacy management and biomedical engineering support at the Shastin University Hospital and the Tuberculosis Hospital of the National Center of Communicable Diseases.
earthMed's mission is
to improve medical
care in developing

The earthMed medical team paid their own expenses, volunteered their vacation time and donated their services to provide their medical expertise over the two-week mission. The two physicians who led the team, cardiac anesthesiologist Patricia Gramling-Babb, M.D. and cardiothoracic surgeon John R. Handy Jr., M.D. have performed surgeries and provided their expertise on several previous missions to Mongolia. Dr. Handy is the Director of Providence Thoracic Surgery, Co-Director of the Providence Thoracic Oncology Surgery Programs and practices within The Oregon Clinic. Dr. Gramling-Babb is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesia at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine in Chicago. In recognition of their accomplishments while volunteering in Mongolia for almost ten years, they were awarded honorary doctorates by the National Medical Research Institute of Mongolia, which has previously awarded only seven other honorary doctorates in its 50-year history. The doctorates were awarded by Professor Nachin Bassanjav, Ph.D., D.Sc. (Med), director of the National Institute of Health Mongolia.

"We are very pleased with the success of our programs in Mongolia," said Lou Schonder, earthMed's Director and founder of the suburban Philadelphia non-profit. "The Mongolians have a strong foundation that we are able to build upon. The dedication of our colleagues in Mongolia to learn new surgical, patient care, educational and administrative techniques, while gracefully accepting constructive criticism, is instrumental in effectively collaborating with earthMed to improve healthcare in Mongolia. We're thrilled that our work is doing so much to change and save lives for years to come, and we are enthusiastically evaluating other locations in the developing world where we can expand our work."