Winter 2012 Update

Center for Women's Health: Global Women's Health Initiative

Demanding physical labor is a part of daily life in rural Ethiopia and is often the cause of a debilitating condition called uterine prolapse.

As part of OHSU's global women's health initiative, and in partnership with hospitals in Gimbie, Ethiopia, OHSU health care providers are creating a sustainable solution by providing medical service and training to Ethiopian rural health providers to correct this condition. By improving the lives of Ethiopian women, the health of entire communities improves as well.

In Cahabon, Guatemala, where the maternal mortality rate is higher than the US by factors of 10, OHSU teams are working to improve the health and well being of Guatemalan women by building education and support programs to train rural Guatemalan providers.

Cutting edge solutions and high tech instrumentation isn't always necessary to provide high quality care. Often, a very small investment can have an enormous positive outcome in terms of health. When OHSU providers simply share basic medical knowledge with these rural populations, it can significantly improve their maternal mortality rates.

Rahel Nardos, OBGYN

Dr Rahel Nardos"It's such a human thing to do, to help women in need somewhere the resources are so limited.

"This is a community project and we are the bridge between two communities. It simply wouldn't happen without support from people here. We are changing lives certainly – improving the quality of life for these women exponentially. I want donors and supporters to know what an incredible thing this is."

This initiative also has a positive impact here at home. The OHSU providers who visit and work in Gimbie learn vital lessons in healthcare. They return from these trips more confident and better prepared to practice in our own communities.

Jennie Leslie, OBGYN

Dr Jennie Leslie"International work experiences change our perception of normal, of what is acceptable, and what is possible. They teach us how to be in the world. That perspective helps us to be better care providers as it gives us respect for differences that are otherwise very difficult to learn."

OHSU residents who serve internationally learn compassion, cultural sensitivity, how to care for a high risk population in a low resource setting, and an appreciation for the importance of prioritization. Simply put — these experiences make them better physicians.

Elizabeth Kavanaugh, CNM

Dr Elizabeth Kavanaugh"Independence is such a tenant of our society that I think we forget the impact of showing human kindness. These acts of caring promote peaceful existence. The act of giving, philanthropy itself promotes a peaceful and healthy existence."