Saturday, February 2, 2013

UT-Knoxville Students Help HHI in Developing EMR Platform for International Surgical Missions

Humanitarian Health International is pleased to announce a newly formed collaboration with students from The University of Tennessee's College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

One of the major logistical hurdles faced by humanitarian medical organizations is the gathering of personal medical history and medical records on new patients. The initial vision underpinning HHI has always included the development of a simple but effective records system. We were given the opportunity to present our problem and propose the solution we envision to students in Dr. David Banks’ COSC 400 class. And we were very pleased when several senior students agreed to collaborate with us in the creation of an efficient, comprehensive electronic medical records software package for use in humanitarian surgical settings.

The electronic medical record (EMR) we are now developing will be designed to streamline the process of obtaining comprehensive medical histories of new patients.  The EMR will include an iOS based app for iPad–iPhone mobile devices that will be easy for HHI volunteers and staff to operate and understand. Our main hope for EMS is to create a streamlined method that will enable volunteers with no medical training, to begin new patient intake procedures. The EMR app would display a basic medical history questionnaire, both in English as well as the native language of the patient.  EMR software would guide HHI volunteers according to an algorithmically determined appropriate set of questions that subtend the history of the patient.  Patients would then be guided to a second station and have a physical examination completed by a medically trained volunteer.  Each patient’s information would then be compiled and shared to other iPads on site, which would give the anesthesiologist and surgeons a complete record of the patient’s history to enable them to gauge the safest, and most appropriate procedures.  EMS will include videos explaining surgery, anesthesia, and recovery to the patients in their own language.  We are hopeful that our collaborative effort with Dr. Banks's class will streamline HHI’s efforts to provide care.

We are excited to have specialists from other fields volunteering their expertise to advance the HHI mission. And we’re absolutely thrilled to see the high levels of enthusiasm the UT students express.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ringing in the New Year following HHI’s First Fundraiser at the Casual Pint

               What an energizing night at the “Casual Pint” several evenings ago! Humanitarian Health International teamed up with local craft beer market establishment, the “Casual Pint” on December 27th to host its first support and fundraising event. While the seemingly un-ending walls of beers from around the country beckoned to the beer aficionado in us all, there was a palpable excitement in the air as we had the opportunity to discuss HHI, our mission and goals, with all those in attendance from the greater Oak Ridge-Knoxville area, many very long-time friends. Not only are we so grateful to report that the evening greatly exceeded our expectations for raising donations, but, equally if not more impressive, was that we found excited friends and community members willing to donate their own professional services to HHI’s cause. Thank you so much! Here’s to an exciting new year – good cheer and health to all.
-- Humanitarian Health International

Casual Pint/HHI Night
David and long-time friends, the Powells
HHI Rulz!!
Thanks for all the support!

Big Day

Today marks a big day for Humanitarian Health!  With the New Year upon us, we purchased our first plane ticket as an Organization  With the funds raised at The Casual Pint and through other donations, we have accomplish our goals for raising sufficient funds for supplies and travel for our first trip, and could not be happier. We will be going down to Haiti with One Vision International, a nonprofit based out of Knoxville Tennessee. David will be involved in a general medicine clinic as well as making contacts with local providers for future surgical trips. We're very excited about this opportunity and very excited to be going to Haiti.  

John and Amy at One Vision International have been a huge help to us during the time we have been setting up HHI.  They have even been generous enough to allow us to visit their office and see the day-to-day operations and given us a large donation of surgical supplies that they will not be using in their medical clinic.  We are really excited about continuing to work with them in the future and being involved with the trip in February.

Heidi and Phoebe cataloging surgical donations

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Upcoming Event

HHI has an exciting event coming up a couple days after Christmas... our first official fundraiser!  We'll be gathering on December 27 at the Casual Pint in Knoxville, TN for a happy hour to raise money for upcoming trips to Guaranda, Ecuador, and potentially Haiti (more on that later) in 2013.

So, if you're in the area, we'd love to have you stop by, share a drink, and find out more about HHI's plans.  We've got some exciting things going on that we'll share with you soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Steps in the Journey


One of our top priorities as HHI grows is to stay as transparent as possible to our supporters and let you know what is happening within the organization.  This blog will be the main source to carry that out, so check back often to see how we are tracking towards our first surgical care trip to Guaranda, Ecuador in Fall 2013, as well as how we are working to get the word out on our mission and grow our support base.

So Where Are We Now?

Last week was a big step for HHI; we submitted our Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service.  Basically, we filing for 501(c)(3) status, making donations we accept tax deductible ( yours?!).

David's excited to get this in the mail
Hopefully the application process will move along fairly quickly...

We've also received a ton of support from friends and family (THANK YOU!!) in helping raise funds for our application fee, having a website created/hosted, etc, as well as offering their time and ideas to get the word out about HHI.  Our next step is working to develop our brand (if you or someone you know has experience (or a willingness!) in logo design, we'd love to talk to you) and putting together the details for our first trip, which is less than a year away. 

We're also having conversations with groups that will be able to help HHI work on a larger scale; meaning more annual trips and caring for hundreds (hopefully thousands) more people in need to surgical care that they don't currently have access to.  More on that to come...

That's pretty much it for now.  Hopefully this shows you a little bit about how we'll be using this blog moving forward.  We'll aslo be sharing profiles of ourselves and both community and medical mission volunteers, as well as some of the people that HHI will be caring for.  Please contact us at if you would like to be involved in any way with HHI or have any questions.  For more information on what we're about, check out our website (and find us on facebook and twitter).

Friday, November 16, 2012


HI EVERYBODY!  We’re Humanitarian Health International.  But you can call us HHI.  We’re on a journey to close the gap in the inequality of surgical care provided in the global health community.  We established in Fall 2012 with a small group of dedicated people who believe that, despite the overwhelming numbers of the underserved when it comes to access to surgical care, we can make a difference in lives and communities throughout the world.  A 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health estimated that there are 2 billion people around the world without access to proper surgical care.  That’s nearly 29% of everyone on earth!  Furthermore, the poorest 1/3 of the world’s population receives only 4% of the 234 million surgeries performed around the world every year.  Even in developing countries where surgical care is available, it almost always located in the urban sprawls within mostly rural environments.  

Sorry for all the numbers, but the more we consider them we realize that those types of statistics typically don’t change until people work together with the specific purpose of turning them around.  So what does HHI think can be done?  Well, it starts with action.  We are in the beginning stages of the process of creating a network of both medical professionals and community volunteers who want to help change these numbers and change lives.  While we realize we can’t magically create access to surgical care for the 2 billion people lacking it now, we can start making a life changing difference to individual people who desperately need it.  

Guaranda, Ecuador

We want to focus on basic surgeries that we may take for granted in the US.  These interventions can make a life and community changing difference in many parts of the world.  This is exactly where we plan to start.  We are currently working towards taking our first trip to Guaranda, Ecuador in the Summer of 2013 to provide cataract removal surgeries, which can restore sight to those currently without.  There is a lot of work to do before this trip, and we have a lot to learn, but we couldn’t be more excited by the journey we’re setting out on.  If you feel like you would like to be involved, whether it’s as a medical professional, community volunteer, or through donations, please contact us.  We’ll be updating the website regularly with where we are in our journey, along with profiling volunteers and some in the host community of Guaranda.