Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 2 Public Health

Clinic week is over and we are starting our public health week in the schools. The kids are too cute and hopefully they'll learn something (as will we).  Time is going by so quickly but it's has all been amazing thus far.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Welcome to Ghana!

 We've arrived safe and sound in the village of Ho! Everyone is so amazing and the food is fantastic. We're so excited for the welcome ceremony tomorrow and then we start our work in the clinic. Wish us the best.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Water Filter Project

Imagine a jumbo jet full of children crashing and all those kids tragically and senselessly losing their lives. This is not far from reality since lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing…every four hours. Now imagine this: You, living in the United States, capable of providing the direct means of keeping these children alive with a small donation. A place where your money goes directly to providing clean water for children and adults alike. Would you do it?
Do we have the ability to cause a ripple in this river of hardship and difficulty associated with lack of access to clean water? Today, I tell you that we can. Join Reach4Ghana (R4G) in its quest to provide clean water for hundreds of families in Ghana for years to come. A contribution of simply $25 will buy one large filter which will provide clean water for a family for THREE years and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to purchasing each filter. That means NO overhead cost and hence, you personally know that you are giving the life saving gift of water to those in desperate need.
These filters were developed by an MIT professor and are made locally in Ghana through a sustainable organization known as Pure Home Water. Hence, we are hoping to simultaneously help support their efforts in providing clean water as well as stimulate the local economy.

Who We Are: R4G is composed of medical, pharmacy, and physical therapy students in collaboration with physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists that aim to provide sustainable medical relief as well as rural health education to five villages in the Volta region of Ghana. This Friday, we begin our journey and are asking you to help give the gift of clean water to those in need.
While you can’t hear them, children RIGHT NOW families are in desperate need for our help. Though we are small organization, we know that with your help we may be able to make a dent in this gross epidemic that CAN BE PREVENTED.
Below is the Paypal account for where you may be able to donate any monetary amount towards our goal. Remember $25=you giving clean water to a family for three years.

More info on R4G:
More info on the filters including a video:

Thank you for your help and please spread the message along. It is our responsibility to take care of those who do not have access to our means. Let’s get out there and make that difference

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What a great Gala dinner!

Thanks to everyone who came to the 4th Annual R4G Gala Dinner Saturday evening, which I'm sure many will agree was our best ever. It was a great show of support to this year's team and the organization. Many thanks to those who donated the venue, the silent auction items, and everyone who helped make the event a big success. Thank you to Zack McDowell and Dr. Whitehurst-Cooke for making remarks and encouraging the team and all those present. Zack summarized very well the past, present, and future of REACH 4 Ghana, mentioning many of our key partners, and his video is below:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

REACH 4 Ghana is accepting donations through the organization Giving to Extremes. Check it our and consider donating!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spurning new education opportunities...

REACH 4 Ghana is currently hard at work with research, medical, and public health plans to make our trip a success. One of the things that our particular trip wanted to pursue was improving women's health. As a result of many different reasons (bearing down, carrying water incorrectly, obstetrical complications, diet),  researchers have noticed that pelvic floor dysfunction (the muscles that basically hold up your bladder, rectum, and uterus in women) tends to be a common problem. We decided as a group to pursue ways that we could educate our patient population in Ghana about this and involve our Physical therapy students in some exercises in "Phase 1" of the program.

We've teamed up with great resources here in Richmond, including a Physical Therapist that specializes in the pelvic floor, who is giving us the low-down on how to recognize and help these patients. Most often, lots of these problems can lead to incontinence or prolapse, and exercises can be taught to patients that they can do everyday to increase the strength of these muscles in order to improve the quality of life without medication. Fistulas from obstetrical complications will inevitably need surgery, perhaps a service that our group cannot provide, but we feel like our ability to educate women on many of these exercises would be a worthwhile endeavor and are working hard to create screening protocols and create a physical therapy tutorial while we're in our clinic week.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fun Fact!

#1 The fact of the day has to do with the Ewe language, the language spoken in southeastern Ghana and southern Togo by over 3 million people! Ewe is a tonal language, meaning that pitch is very important in the meaning of a word. For example, in Ewe the following three words differ only in their tones:
  • tó 'mountain' (High tone)
  • tǒ 'mortar' (Rising tone)
  • tò 'buffalo' (Low tone)

#2 Ewe is a national language in Ghana and Togo. 

#3 Ewe is a subject-verb-object language (just like English!). The possessive comes before the head noun (sound familiar?). Ewe uses postpositions rather than prepositions. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014


At our last meeting we had a guest speaker from student health discuss with us some of the health concerns and vaccinations we'll need for our trip including yellow fever and possibly typhoid, tetanus, menactra and influenza. I'm not looking forward to my vaccines, but that means we're that much closer to Ghana!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Diving in Head First

     Preparations are well underway for our 2014 trip, scheduled to commence on June 5th and end June 23rd to be based out of Ho, Ghana. Local villages that have been frequented in the past include Adigbo torn, Akpafu todzi, Goviefe todzi, Logba horlikope, and Peki agbateh.
     Our medical team is busy preparing for the in-country needs of our clinic weeks. Residents from the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System will be assisting us in-country as we travel to rural villages without health communities already in place. We will be partnering with our friends from Irani Brothers and Company Ltd and Life for the Living Medical Centre (LILIMED) to aid us in procuring much needed medications, supplies and clinic expertise, respectively. Additionally, this year, we've made contact with VCU's undergraduate chapter of United2Heal, an organization that procures various medical supplies via donations from the VCU Health System Hospital in order to send them to countries in need. Mohamed Ibrahim, a REACH 4 Ghana team member, was the founder and serving president of United2Heal while in undergraduate before he attended medical school. In honor of Mohamed's memory and in an effort to continue to do the intercultural and humanitarian work he was so passionate about, we are honored to have created a partnership with the organization that meant so much to him.
     Our Public Health committee recently met to establish various different criteria for our in-country teaching sessions. We've brainstormed various different lesson plans for Children ages 6-18 and have also planned engaging activities for students to learn about sanitation, malaria prevention, the important of brushing teeth and washing hands, and STD and HIV education. Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of this is to make our lessons culturally competent and sustainable. For example, if we teach nutrition to children but they have no access to the types of food we lecture on, our efforts are for naught. We are continuing to seek resources for ways in which we can make our lessons relevant, needed, and local-resources focused.
     We are so lucky to have the added benefit of our board for their immense guidance and help as we construct the bones of what our trip will look like. Shikha, Miki, Katie, Jeremy, and the rest of the REACH 4 Ghana team and previous team members have had no shortcoming of positive affirmations and organizational skills that are helping to streamline our preparation process to make this trip even more successful.

Our Cultural Committee recently shared this quote of a Ghanian-American Philosopher that said that “Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes. Societies without change aren't authentic; they're just dead” 
― Kwame Anthony Appiah

Reflecting on this, as we aim to make positive changes in the lives of others, we are constantly humbled by the generosity and positive contributions that others are constantly making on our own lives and the beginning of our own medical and health-oriented careers. 

Stay tuned for more updates about our DRUM CIRCLE DINNER and our Gala in the spring! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

REACH Sweatshirts

The wait is over!!! The sweatshirt order is in! Distribution is scheduled between 12:15 and 2:15 tomorrow, January 17th 2014 in the MMEC lobby. See you there, or feel free to contact any team member to set up another pickup time. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Drum Circle Dinner in 2.5 weeks!

Advertising continues strong for the annual REACH 4 Ghana Drum Circle Dinner. There’s only two and a half weeks left to order your tickets; get them while you can!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meet Karen and Qasim!

We have two new members joining the team this year: Karen and Qasim, both are M1 students. Can't wait to start working with them. Welcome to the REACH 2014 family Karen and Qasim!