Most Americans believe 26% of the U.S. budget is allocated for foreign aid. The reality? Less than 1%. Contrary to popular belief - this is not an altruistic expenditure. The foreign aid budget actually makes the U.S. more prosperous and secure.
In honor of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, we've re-published this essay by James Nardella that originally appeared in The Mother & Child Project: Raising Our Voices For Health And Hope. As a tireless advocate for human rights and women's empowerment, Nardella's essay shows how men must become agents for change when it comes to putting a stop to practices such as FGM that devalue women. It isn't until all humans are treated equally that our world will see an end to poverty and suffering.
Like Dr. Paul Osteen and so many others who dedicate weeks or months of their year to provide clinical care in underserved populations in developing nations, Doctor-Senator Bill Frist has spent over twenty-five years traveling to impoverished, conflict areas with World Medical Mission to provide medical attention where none may exist otherwise.
“I lie awake at night, and I can’t sleep… I’m afraid that if I close my eyes, I won’t wake up,” the gentle Egyptian man I met moments before, a two-time survivor of cancer, shared with me. “I’m worried I haven’t lived well,” he continued. “You know, I haven’t done good things, like you.”
“Namaste,” the young Bhutanese woman said opening the door of her and her family’s apartment for the medical assistant (MA) and me. As she and her in-laws warmly welcomed us into their living room/dining room space, another young woman and a little girl emerged from the bedroom. “How many of you are living here?” the MA asked the only gentleman in the room through the interpreter we had on the phone. “There are five of us,” he answered.
“I don’t need this test,” the pharmacist-trained, El Salvadorian gentleman told my preceptor and me, quickly dismissing our suggestion that his persistent malaise, fatigue, and chills could be secondary to an underlying thyroid condition. “I have no problems with my thyroid,” he followed, in an effort to reinforce his point. When we proposed a CBC to check for anemia, he similarly protested, pulling down his right eye-lid to remind us that he had no Conjunctival Pallor.

This post originally appeared on ETSU College of Public Health.

Kenny Alphin and Bill Frist

In 2014, Senator Bill Frist, “Big Kenny” Alphin, and I worked together to identify twelve issues that we believed needed to be addressed to make a lasting change on the quality of life in our country and around the world.  While some of the data have changed, I think these issues remain as important today as they were when we posted them in early 2015.  I hope everyone will take a few minutes to re-read these posts, and think about how each of us can engage in this  “Essential Conversation.” 
-Dean Randy Wykoff

There can be no doubt that compassion for those less fortunate is a long and strongly held part of our national character. While some might argue that we have, as a Nation, lost some of that compassion, the three of us believe that it is still firmly rooted in who we are, and how we engage with the world.We believe that this sense of compassion is something that still binds us together, and we call on people from all sectors and sections of our country and beyond to join us in a conversation to identify and address some of the greatest threats to our global community.

While the modern world presents many challenges, it also provides a unique opportunity to come together and change the lives of the world's least fortunate. As a starting point in this dialogue, we have identified twelve issues that we believe demand action to help ensure the world becomes a better place for future generations.

Perhaps you will agree with our list, or perhaps you will identify other areas where we should focus our attention. Perhaps you have further information about these twelve topics and how we can make lasting changes at the local level, or perhaps some of these are issues you haven't spent much time considering.

No matter where you stand today, in 2015, we challenge you to be part of the conversation.

All we ask is that you set aside any pre-conceived notions; that you open your mind to new ideas and challenges; and, most importantly, that you approach these issues, and the people they affect, with compassion and caring.

We look forward to hearing from you. #Conversation2015 

Dr. Randy Wykoff, WK "Big Kenny" Alphin, and Senator Bill Frist 

The authors would like to thank Ms. Katie Neel, MPH, for conducting initial fact-checking for this article. The authors would also like to thank Alli Proffitt, Kate Etue, Brad Lifford, and Dara Young for remarkably thoughtful and insightful editing and other invaluable contributions.  

This article reflects the personal views of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of their employers, co-workers, or others. 

I guess you might say that everything is unexpected for me on this trip. This is my first time on the continent of Africa and so many things have been a surprise. For example, here in Kenya, almost everyone speaks English and there are zebras by the side of the road grazing on grass just like there are horses in the US.
As a surgical resident in a tertiary care center, I have seen a lot of patients in consultation for surgical evaluation. A typical consultation request includes age, gender and diagnosis of the patient. When I decided to pursue surgical training, I specifically acknowledged that I would forego much of the diagnostic process as typical referrals come to us diagnosis already known.

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