JHI Press Release
Charitable Partnership Resolves Critical Health Issues for Ethiopian Patient
GMC Completes Life-Saving Triple Valve Replacement Surgery
Lawrenceville, Ga. (November 15, 2012) – When an Ethiopian needed advanced cardiac surgery, Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC)-affiliated cardiologist Michael Lipsitt, M.D., GMC and Jewish Healthcare International stepped up to help. Recently, David A. Langford, M.D., one of the lead surgeons at GMC’s Strickland Heart Center, successfully performed the complex triple valve replacement. This charitable work was made possible by contributions from individuals, from the hospital, and from Jewish Healthcare International.
The patient, 29-year old Eyasu Minas Woldekirkos, required valve replacement surgery resulting from severe rheumatic fever experienced as a child.
According to Dr. Langford, a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon, postoperative recovery was uneventful and the patient was discharged six days following the procedure. Dr. Langford is employed by St. Joseph’s Medical Group and works exclusively at the Strickland Heart Center.
“Our vision is to enhance the health of our patients and other customers, as well as to partner with our physicians and health organizations to treat disease and create a healthier community,” said Phil Wolfe, GMC’s president and CEO. “While our involvement and support was simply our vision put into motion by many, we were humbled to play a role in the patient’s journey to health.”
Dr. Lipsitt first met Woldekirkos during a medical mission trip in April where he worked on behalf of Jewish Healthcare International. At a routine examination, Dr. Lipsitt noticed distinct signs of declining health in the patient.
“Upon examination and reviewing the results of his recent echocardiogram, I knew the patient’s valves were incredibly dysfunctional; I had no idea how he was alive,” said Dr. Lipsitt. “I never dreamed it would be possible to get Eyasu to Atlanta for this operation. However, with the cooperation of Gwinnett Medical Center, Dr. Langford, Jewish Healthcare International and Representative Tom Price, an impossible feat was accomplished.”
“Our goal is to save and improve lives,” said CEO Gene Rubel of Jewish Healthcare International, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing education and access to healthcare. “It was a distinct honor to lend our knowledge, leverage relationships and help orchestrate this effort that led to such a highly successful outcome for a man who was once critically ill.”
It is believed that Woldekirkos suffered from a common type of valve disease, rheumatic heart disease, which can cause a number of issues including causing the heart valve leaflets to become inflamed, stick together and become scarred, rigid, thickened and shortened. In addition the valves may become leaky. Rheumatic fever is usually caused by an untreated streptococcal infection, such as strep throat. The use of penicillin to treat strep throat can prevent this disease.
The Strickland Heart Center is a 40,000 square-foot facility that houses advanced technology, including state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs and operating rooms, providing residents of metro Atlanta access to leading cardiac care professionals.
About Jewish Healthcare International
JHI is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of, and access to, healthcare services available to communities in need throughout the world. Through the utilization of teams of U.S. and international volunteers and staff, JHI is able to provide ongoing healthcare education, training and services to those in need, thereby enhancing the medical infrastructure of the communities served. To learn more about JHI’s programs in Ethiopia and worldwide, visit jewishhealthcareinternational.org, facebook.com/JewishHealthcareInternational, twitter.com/JHItweets or youtube.com/JewishHealthcareIntl.
About Gwinnett Medical Center
Recognized by HealthGrades™ as America’s 100 Best Hospitals, Gwinnett Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Offering cardiovascular, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services, GMC’s 4,200 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org or follow us at facebook.com/gwinnettmedical, twitter.com/gwinnettmedical or youtube.com/gwinnettmedical.
Press Release 11.15.12 (pdf version)
Background Paper 11.15.12 (pdf version)
October 31, 2012 (Atlanta) – Stephen Kutner, M.D. has retired as head of Jewish Healthcare International (JHI). Gene Rubel, who joined JHI as Director of Operations takes over as CEO and Dr. Roger Brick as Medical Director.
“Steve was the founder and has been the inspiration for JHI for the past 13 years. We thank him for his service and dedication and hope he enjoys his retirement” noted Dr. Jerry Kobrin, JHI’s Board Chair. “We are delighted that Steve has agreed to continue to serve JHI by joining the Board.”
Dr. Kutner founded JHI in 1999 in direct response to the massive dislocation to Jewish communities caused by the demise of the Soviet Union and the desperate need for health care resources in Eastern Europe. In addition to its activities in the former Soviet Union, JHI has been active in Israel, Haiti and Ethiopia. More than 400 healthcare professionals have volunteered to participate in JHI programs over the past thirteen years.
Gene Rubel has worked closely with Steve as Director of Operations since September 2011, and brings an impressive business background in international settings as well as an in-depth healthcare understanding to JHI. He has been instrumental in developing the current initiatives in Ethiopia, Israel and Haiti.
Dr. Brick began volunteering on JHI missions ten years ago, and has served on JHI’s Board. He became Deputy Medical Director in 2010. He is currently directing JHI’s Israel Youth Village program and will be leading six missions to Israel during the current school year.
JHI is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of, and access to, healthcare services available to communities in need throughout the world. Through the utilization of teams of U.S. and international volunteers and staff, JHI is able to provide ongoing healthcare education, training and services to those in need, thereby enhancing the medical infrastructure of the communities served. A background paper on JHI is attached.
Press Release 10.31.12 (pdf version)
Background Paper 10.31.12 (pdf version)
JHI volunteers save lives on overseas assignments
April 17, 2012 (Atlanta) – Jewish Healthcare International (JHI), in conjunction with Congregation Or Hadash and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is excited to announce its new programs and activities to the Medical and broader Atlanta community at an interactive program (http://www.jewishhealthcareinternational.org/events.php) at the Congregation Or Hadash Sanctuary on Sunday, April 29 at 9:30am at The Weber School, 6751 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30328.
Meet Dr. Paul Hart, who saved the life of 6-year old Talida (see photo), an Ethiopian girl waiting to make aliyah. Hear from Leanna Cossman, who is working with MASHAV (Israel’s Foreign Ministry) on a project to bring advanced emergency and trauma care to Northern Haiti. Interact with the volunteers who started JHI’s new program to provide vision and hearing screening for 18,000 youth-at-risk in 60 Youth Villages throughout Israel.
Dr. Stephen Kutner, JHI Founder and Medical Director will MC the program, sharing his story of how a self-styled “meshuggeneh”, helping elderly Jews in Romania founded a multifaceted international organization with global reach that makes stories like Tadila’s possible. In addition to Sunday’s program, JHI guest speakers will address the congregation during Friday night and Saturday morning services at Or Hadash on the 27th and 28th of April. RSVP is appreciated for the Sunday program. Please sign up at: http://www.jewishhealthcareinternational.org/events.php.
Jewish Healthcare International is a not- for-profit organization based in Atlanta that sends volunteer healthcare professionals to work in a variety of projects aimed at improving the quality of and the access to healthcare in at risk communities worldwide.
Press Release 4.17.12 (pdf version)
Jewish Healthcare International (JHI) sends Healthcare missions to Haiti and Ethiopia
February 8, 2012 (Atlanta) – This week, teams of Jewish Healthcare International (JHI) volunteer healthcare professionals arrived in Cap-Haitien, Haiti and Gondar, Ethiopia as part of JHI’s overall mission to improve healthcare services in at-risk communities worldwide. “Having two missions occurring simultaneously in very different parts of the globe demonstrate that JHI is capable of taking on new and challenging assignments wherever they occur,” commented Stephen Kutner, the founder and Director of JHI. “Our focus until recently has been on Eastern Europe, but we now are responding to the needs of various populations using different program models and concepts,” Kutner continued.
In Haiti, JHI volunteers lecture and provide hands-on training at Justinian University Hospital in Cap-Haitien. This ongoing education is essential to the success of the hospital’s Emergency Room and Critical Care Center. The Critical Care Center was recently built and supplied by MASHAV, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Agency for International Development Cooperation. Working with hospital administrators, MASHAV, The Haitian Ministry of Health, and local organizations such as Konbit Sante, JHI is in the process of developing a long-term plan for improving and expanding the hospital’s capabilities for providing emergency and trauma services to the people of Northern Haiti.
The team in Haiti is led by Leanna Cossman, a critical care nurse from Champaign, Illinois and includes Brad Keating, an EMT and paramedic from Tampa, Florida, Rahul Khare, an emergency medicine doctor from Chicago, Illinois, and Patricia Lee, a certified nurse-midwife from Reinholds, Pennsylvania.
The group arrived in Cap-Haitien earlier this week and will stay for one week. JHI looks plans to send training teams to Justinian University Hospital every two months, as a way to form ongoing partnerships with the numerous organizations involved in the effort, and to make a lasting impact on the quality of and access to emergency and trauma care services in the area.
In Gondar, Ethiopia, JHI is initiating a long-term program to provide healthcare screenings for Ethiopian Olim (Immigrants to Israel), as well as ongoing education for fellow healthcare professionals at Gondar University Hospital.
The JHI program in Gondar has been developed in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, and aims to screen Ethiopian Jews living in Gondar before they depart for Israel. These Olim will undergo JHI screenings for vision, hearing, as well as chronic medical conditions, so that appropriate services, such as the provision of glasses and hearing aids, can be prepared before their arrival in Israel.
In addition to the screening clinic, JHI will also pursue a long term educational effort to provide teaching and hands-on training at Gondar University Hospital.
Dr. Paul Hart, a family practice physician from Southborough, Massachusetts, and long-time JHI volunteer veteran, arrived in Gondar earlier this week, and will spend the next three weeks setting up a JHI screening clinic, as well as lecturing at Gondar University Hospital.
JHI is eager to complete these primary steps towards forming an ongoing relationship with Gondar University Hospital and looks forward to sending future JHI volunteer groups to Gondar every two to three months.
Jewish Healthcare International is a not for profit organization based in Atlanta that sends volunteer healthcare professionals to work in a variety of projects aimed at improving the quality of and the access to healthcare in at risk communities worldwide.
Press Release 2.7.12 (pdf version)
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