Medicine In Action Winter 2017 Medical Mission

This mission was extremely successful and a lot of fun.  It was larger than our previous missions as the clinic and surgery teams did not get a chance to get together this time for a group photo. The clinic team consisted of Chimene Liburd Brown, MD (our treasurer and family practitioner), Aisha Lofters, MD (a wonderful f1st time volunteer from Jamaica and Canada in family practice), Elaine Chong (aka mom), Annie Menzies and Dimples Morris (our local volunteers from Kingston, JA).  The team ventured to Magotty for a couple of days, then Seaford Town for the remainder of the first week and subsequently Enfield in St. Mary the beginning of the next week.

Medicine In Action was able to see a total of 204 patients and perform 57 pap smears.  There were a variety of patients seen including some men and we of course continued on our quest of offering cervical cancer screening to a much-needed population.


Team (Drs Aisha Lofters and Chimene Liburd, Dimples Morris, Annie Menzies and Elaine Chong) with sisters and Father Luke and two little members of the Seaford Town community.

Our surgical team consisted of Karolynn Echols, MD (our president and urogynecologist), Lorraine Bailey, RN (our vice-president and nurse coordinator), Tamara Toidze, MD (a 3rd time volunteer urogynecologist from Philadelphia), Nima Shah, MD (a 3rd year urogynecology fellow) and Alex Berger, MD (a 4th year Ob/ Gyn resident from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital). The local physicians Abigail Creighton, MD (Ob/Gyn from Falmouth Hospital) and Diedre Gordon, MD (Ob/Gyn from St. Ann’s Bay Hospital) worked side by side with surgeons from Medicine In Action to make this mission a very successful one.  Although our commute the first week was long, our 1st mission to Falmouth was a success.  MIA donated on behalf of Dr Mary Jo O’Sullivan and the late Dr. Frank Major an anesthesia monitor and there was a small ceremony put on by the hospital to make it official.

The surgical team pictured with Dr. Abigail Creighton (center), CEO Mr. Mclennon, Deputy Matron Sister Blakemowatt, and Parish Manager Ms. Smith. During an official ceremony with the monitor donated by MIA to Falmouth Hospital. 

The team saw a total of 25 patients and performed a total of 18 cases. The Kiwanis Club of New Falmouth also partnered with MIA to help bring the much-needed surgery to the underserved women in Falmouth. New Falmouth set up a “meet and greet” that unfortunately MIA could not attend due to the patient schedule and the distance we would have to travel after a long day. The Kiwanian Newton (now Lorraine’s spouse) boxed our food up and delivered it the next day. The volunteers were very impressed with the food and felt no shame in using their fingers to enjoy the Escovitch fish. Dr. Karolynn Echols gave two sponsored symposiums: one in Montego Bay to the Ob/Gyn physicians of Cornwall Regional and the other to the Ob/Gyn department of St Ann’s Bay Hospital. Both were well attended and we learned a lot about pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.

After the mission Karolynn, Elaine and Annie went on a much-needed holiday to Ocho Rios and Port Antonio and met some new friends, ate local food, swam at the waterfall and the beach. Port Antonio is Jamaica’s most well kept secret and well worth the adventure.

Heavy Hearts for November Mission 2016

Hello Medicine In Action Family,

It is with a heavy heart that Medicine In Action begins its November Mission 2016 in Jamaica. We have lost an invaluable team member who made impactful contributions on our missions. Dr. Frank Major, a Gynecological Oncologist, has taken flight to be with the Lord on October 18, 2016.

Dr. Major mentored students, medical residents and physician colleagues in our clinics and during surgeries. He shared his vast knowledge with us all. His unwavering support will be remembered always as his contributions during our missions positively impacted the quality of care we provided to the people of Jamaica.

Frank was a remarkable man and everyone at MIA is better for having known him. For those of us that had the privilege of knowing and working with him, we were humbled by his kindness and compassion to everyone around him.

He will be missed dearly.

One Love!

Jamaica’s Campaign to Promote Global Road Safety

Jamaica’s Campaign to Promote Global Road Safety

By Ambereen Sleemi

Published May 4, 2015

Recognizing the global impact of traffic accidents and trauma, the United Nations deemed the week of May 4 as Global Road Safety Week. In its third year, the focus is on pedestrian accidents. Globally, three times as many people are killed on roads in developing countries than developed countries. Jamaica’s government is certainly on board, having launched an aggressive traffic sign campaign over a decade ago.

Around Kingston, Jamaica, among the cacophony of horns, music and people, a street sign revolution has been evolving quietly over the last 15 years. Jamaica is seen as a tourist paradise: ice-cold Red Stripe, beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, jerk meat products, and more. In the urban area of Kingston and along the winding, uneven roads up through the mountains, it has also been a treacherous land mine of traffic fatalities affecting all forms of transport, pedestrians, and the occasional stray goat. Yet, dotting the sides of these roads are brightly colored billboards announcing safety messages with some humor and practicality. “Speed kills, kill your speed” or “Protect your head, don’t end up dead” and many more that convey the same message of traffic safety to the thousands that use the roads daily.


Haiti, Still in the Time of Cholera

Haiti, Still in the Time of Cholera


By Ambereen Sleemi
Published April 29, 2015

n January 2010, the small island of Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake that hit the capital city of Port-au-Prince in the late afternoon of a busy workday. As the nation tried to grasp the scope of the tremendous loss of life and damage to infrastructure, another tragedy hit. This time, it was not the overt physical assault of the earth moving. It was the microscopic insidiousness of Vibrio cholerae the bacteria that causes cholera, spreading through the community at breakneck speed, ultimately infecting 1.2 percent of the population—over 700,000 individuals—and killing 8,700. Five years later, cholera is still a threat to Haiti’s most vulnerable populations, with over 10,000 new cases reported in the first three months of 2015. Although it is less deadly, it is now endemic—a fact of life in modern day Haiti, even though the country never before had a recorded cholera outbreak.

Dr. Karine Severe is an internal medicine physician with GHESKIO, the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections, a health center set up in the early 1980s to battle the enormous AIDS epidemic that ravaged Haiti. The center has evolved over the decades to become a comprehensive health facility, rising to meet the health challenges of the underserved and impoverished.  GHESKIO has become ground zero in the fight to keep the post-earthquake cholera epidemic from engulfing Port-au-Prince. Dr. Severe has a ground-level view of how the cholera epidemic established itself in her home country. Yet, despite the herculean challenges this impoverished island nation has faced, the epidemic came to Haiti by means that were not inevitable. Read the full article.

The Napa Wine Century Bike Ride

Dear Medicine In Action Family,

As you may already know, I co-founded Medicine in Action in 2005 with Dr. Karolynn Echols. We are a grassroots 501c3 non-profit dedicated to helping women in developing countries. We have worked in Jamaica, Tanzania and Haiti. Our main work currently takes place in Jamaica where we currently host 2 medical missions each year. Our emphasis is on women’s health care, both in primary care and GYN surgery. Furthermore, we have established a partnership with Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica where our physicians are helping to train the residents in Jamaica, specifically in urogynecology.

I took a break from the medical missions after having the twins back in 2012. This was a difficult decision for me as MIA had been such a huge part of my life. But now, I’m ready to get back into action!! Delivering quality medical and surgical care to the women of Jamaica, in my home country, has always been a really important part of my life’s work, hence the reason for starting MIA back in 2006.

To kick off my return to MIA, I am planning on riding the Napa Wine Century as a fundraiser for Medicine in Action. The funds raised will go mainly to costs associated with patient care, such as buying supplies and equipment used in clinics to see patients as well as in surgeries. Specifically, ware hoping to purchase an ultrasound machine and a cystoscopy set. A portion will also go towards the Sugar Scholars Medical Student Scholarship program. This is the student scholarship program that was set up in honor of my father Alton “Sugar” Chong.

The Napa Wine Century will take place on May 2, 2015 and is a 100 mile road bike ride. It will take me all day to ride and I’ve been training now for about two months. As you may know, I broke my arm last year after falling off a cliff, mountain biking. This was a little set back, to say the least, as I was off my bike for about 4 months. Getting back into shape has been quite a challenge.

My goal is to raise $5000 before the ride. There are two ways to donate. You can either donate a flat fee, or you can pledge an amount based on how many miles I ride while I’m training. If you chose to pledge per training mile, your credit card will not be billed. I will ask for your donation at the end of my training. I plan on uploading all my rides via strava on my facebook page and for all those cycling enthusiasts, I invite you to follow me there. Checks can be mailed to me at 8101 Skyline Blvd, Oakland CA, 94611 and made to Medicine in Action.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support. All donations are tax deductible.

Yours truly,

Debbie Chong, MD