These Docs Dreamed of Saving the World, and They’re Doing Just That

Doctors across the United States can read up on vital health information with a quick Google search, but how do medical professionals in global underserved communities access this same material?

WiRED International, a volunteer-driven non-profit, has been solving this problem since 1997 by building Medical Information Centers (MICs) for healthcare professionals and Community Health Information Centers (CHI Centers) for local community members. For information-starved doctors and nurses in regions stricken by war and poverty, the CHI Centers represent a chance to learn from previously unattainable medical information. On the other hand, MICs offer grassroot community involvement of birth attendants, students, peer educators, and traditional healers and teach them the health issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention in Kenya.  In order to verify that each of WiRED’s training modules are accurate and effective, WiRED pulls from a board and volunteer-base with extensive clinical and public-health backgrounds.

By giving medical professionals the chance to learn more about the health needs of their region, WiRED aims to empower local doctors and nurses to take better care of their communities. The list of program countries reaches across the globe and Community Health Information Libraries can be found in countries ranging from Albania to Iraq to Sierra Leone. In 2009, WiRED’s founder, Dr. Gary Selnow, received the UC Berkeley Public Health Hero Award in which he talked about the program:

WiRED’s latest program is a Severe Malnutrition Module produced in response to the alarming increase in malnutrition in Syria. Future programs for 2014 include a Peace Corp program and Caritas project. Additionally, WiRED has begun shifting centers to a community outreach model. According to Dr. Selnow, the developing CHI Centers will have “trainers take the programs to community groups, schools, churches and other gatherings to teach about health topics, such as diabetes, maternity care, clean water, nutrition, and dozens of other topics.”

Interested health profession students (and professionals) can volunteer their time as development assistants, writers, researchers, or translators. Donations to WiRED, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, are also tax deductible.

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Ryan Nguyen, "Almost" DO

Ryan Nguyen is a DO student at the Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and blogs about medical school at WhiteCoatDO.com. In addition to school, he is a Foundation Scholar for the California Academy of Family Practice and Student Ambassador for Doximity. He tweets @RNguyenMed.