September 15, 2010

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Photo 1: Senator Bill Frist and Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of The Hebrew University

Photo 2: Senator Bill Frist and Ambassador Dr. Josephine Ojiambo. An IMPH alumna and the newly appointed Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN

Last night, Senator Bill Frist, M.D. was the keynote speaker at the Maimonides Awards Dinner honoring George S. Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Cardinal Health. The Dinner was to benefit the International Master in Public Health Fellows at the Braun School of Public Health and the Faculty of Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Maimonides Award is conferred by the American Friends of The Hebrew University to honor philanthropic commitment to pioneering research in the field of medicine and health care conducted at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Maimonides award recipients are distinguished by their humanitarianism, communal leadership and work in support of research breakthroughs that will benefit mankind.

Senator Frist spoke on the role of the International Master of Public Health Program. More broadly, he spoke of global health in terms of peace and American health diplomacy.

September 3, 2010

Water=Hope Campaign Builds Wells and Writes Senators

The Brad Paisley H2O Tour Airs on GAC TV this Weekend

GAC's Top 20 crew made its way to Raleigh, NC this past weekend to catch up with Brad Paisley on his H2O Tour. Dive in and join GAC for the hottest videos of the week and behind the scenes interviews with Brad and his tourmates Steel Magnolia, Justin Moore, and Darius Rucker.

Brad makes a stop at the Water=Hope Booth with GAC TV to visit with Brande and Kim and our volunteers and to share about the campaign!

brad at booth

September 3, 2010 8:00pm ET
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6,306 Signatures Mailed to Senators in Washington D.C. for Water for the World Act

The Brad Paisley H2O Tour has swept through Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Texas in the past two months, and the Water=Hope Campaign has heard your voice! Over 6,300 signatures were collected during these concerts to support the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009.  

We asked Senators George S. LeMieux (FL), Bill Nelson (FL), Charles E. Schumer (NY), John Cornyn (TX), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) to sign the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 as a co-sponsor to advance clean water and sanitation development activities accompanying your signatures. The Act would provide over 100,000,000 people with first-time access to safe drinking water and sanitation on a sustainable basis by 2015.

At the same time, we said Thank You to Senators Roland W. Burris (IL), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY) Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA), and Arlen Specter (PA) for already co-sponsoring this important bill. And, Senator Richard J. Durbin (IL) is the sponsor of the bill. We are proud of their leadership on this issue.

If you would like to call or write your Senator, click HERE to find his/her contact information.

Buy a T-Shirt to Build a Well

We are excited to announce that our Water=Hope Campaign t-shirts are now on sale on our online store! With each donation of $25, you will receive one (1) navy blue shirt, made by American Apparel. The Water=Hope logo was designed by the famous Hatch Print shop in Nashville, Tennessee especially for the campaign. 

A portion of the proceeds will go directly toward building wells in Ethiopia, Liberia, and Uganda and providing clean water through purification systems to families in the Appalachia Region. Please support this great initiative to provide thousands of people with clean water this year for the first time. Buy a tshirt; help us build a well.

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Thanks for your support,

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Jenny Eaton Dyer, Ph.D.

Executive Director

August 31, 2010

by Brande Jackson


The Water = Hope campaign spent the past weekend in North Carolina with the H2O tour, getting even more country music fans involved with our campaign to bring people around the globe clean drinking water! We arrived in Charlotte on Friday morning and got to work, setting up for the day and preparing for our volunteer crew. We had 11 amazing volunteer join us: Joe, a volunteer from Cleveland, came out with his friend, and we had several groups of high school and college friends joining us as well.

Charlotte volunteer crew!

It’s been really inspiring to have so many students volunteering for us this summer, and we hope they are able to take the Water = Hope campaign back with them to their campuses this fall!

Water = Hope support



Our volunteers in Raleigh were a lot of fun; 7 of them came from Wake Early College of Health and Sciences, a college prep high school about an hour away (one of the volunteers, Lizzy, also brought her mom and a friend!), and our other three all attend a local Raleigh high school (sorry for forgetting the name, girls!). All were a blast to work with, and did a great job talking to fans all night long!  

Water = Hope volunteers in Raleigh


Water = Hope volunteers!

All weekend long, we talked with fans who were not only interested in supporting Water = Hope, but who told us stories of things they and family members were doing through churches, schools and in their communities to make clean water a priority for people around the globe - it’s so great to see this fan community engaged around this issue! The tour will resume next week in Spokane as we finally make our way out west with about nine more stops. We still have room for volunteers to join us, so be sure to get signed up today!

Charlotte gave us a lot of love - we talked to hundreds of fans about the importance of clean water, with many of our volunteers going out and working the parking lot and talking to the ‘tailgating’ crowd before they came in, to much success! We also got a nice shout out from a local radio station which helped us out quite a bit - lots of fans mentioned hearing about us before they came to the show that day. We also need to mention that we raised more money in Charlotte for our well building project than we have at any other show thus far on the tour, so a special thanks goes out to our volunteers that night and all the supportive fans!  The next day we were in Raleigh. Our normal set up routine had the added bonus of a GAC film crew being on site; shortly after our volunteers arrived, they came by with Brad to talk to me and Kim about what the Water = Hope campaign was doing on the tour, so watch for us at some point in the next week! Brad also took the time to talk to our volunteers, 10 high school girls (plus a mom and a boyfriend!) who, needless to say, were very excited to meet him! Brad Paisley meeting Water = Hope volunteers

August 25, 2010

The Finale and Return 

By John Deason
Lipscomb College of Pharmacy
Namwianga, Zambia

john deason zambia

The clinic went very well.  We saw easily 3,000 plus patients a day and were out there for 6 days for a total of well over 16,000 patients in the end.  The other two villages we visited were not as exuberant in the welcoming, but they were happy to receive medical attention nonetheless.  I found I became rather adjusted to being completely covered in dirt while out there.  I’ll give credit to my dad for all those camping trips.  So even when we came back from the bush I really didn’t rush to go take a shower.  I turn 26 on the 26th of the month along with a new found friend Molly who turned 21.  They serve Mac and Cheese for us and I received a double helping of chocolate pudding at Supper.  All in all I dare say I couldn’t have had a better location for a Golden Birthday!

Our primary concern is collecting data for one day implementing a computer into the mission.  Each day me, Britt, Dr. Staggs (who insists I call him Bill), and Brandon Post (our tech guy we could not have survived this trip without) work on getting our quota of data we need to see the most common complaint, diagnosis, and medicine dispensed.  Once we achieve that, we work in different areas.   Most chose to stay in the pharmacy and lend a hand.  I usually go to various departments and see what they’re up to, which naturally means I get to lend a hand.  

Once all the clinics were over and everyone was taken care of, the entire group (minus most of the Zambians) went to Livingstone for a short break before we headed back top the States.  There we took in the sights such as Victoria Falls and a Beautiful Sunset Cruise.  It was also an opportunity to say goodbye to everyone that might not be on the same flight back.

Its incredibly hard for me to explain how I felt in those few days.  I had spent so much time in an area where electricity wasn’t even a guarantee, and yet, here we were in a pleasant little hotel with hot showers day and night and all kinds of places to eat and hang out.  It took some time to adjust, but I think the hardest feeling for me to face was that I soon would be leaving.

It’s so strange; after being here for so long, I found that Namwianga had become a home to me; the people I stayed with and the Zambians my family.  Working hand in hand with them, spending every minute of the day with them, and sharing our lives with each other really formed bonds that are difficult to describe...  As much as I desired a moment alone to collect my thoughts (you rarely get a chance to yourself with so many around), the idea of leaving them knowing you won’t see each other for a considerable amount of time, was unbearable. 

Goodbyes were eventually said in a bustling Dulles Airport while we clamored to find all of our luggage and rush to catch our connecting flights (some of which weren’t caught).  There was a sincere look in the eyes of each person I hugged and wished safety for in the next leg of their journey that they too would be missing each and every one they had spent just a fast paced, hectic, yet so beautifully wonderful time with.

Loneliness really didn’t register until I was on my flight back to Nashville.  As I looked back on the nearly two months spent in Zambia, I could only smile.  Only the best of memories kept coming back into my mind, though I know I had some hard days and times where I lost my temper, none of that seemed to be relocatable in my memory.   I knew God had granted me a wonderful time.

I was almost lost to my thoughts, then I saw the green hills of Tennessee.  It’s funny how you just know when you’re over your own State.  Instantly my heart skipped a beat.  All of my friends and family that I had been missing for so long came rushing back into mind.  For the first time since the trip began, I just jumping out of my seat wanting to be back home.  I landed to hugs and hellos and the rest is history.

I was talking to my friend about my trip, when he asked, “We’ll did you find what you needed while you were there?”  I replied, “Yes, I got everything I needed and have come back with new wants that I never knew I’d have!”  I explained that God was gracious in letting me look into the window of what he wanted from me out of my life.  While I didn’t come prepared to work and perform all the tasks I wanted to do, I was comforted by the fact that this is why I am still in school and why I was led to pharmacy to begin with.  I fully believe that God intends for me to come back and prepare myself, because next time I won’t be looking into a window, I’ll be walking though a door.

Praise God for this trip and for all those who have made it possible.  More importantly, thank you for all those who have taken an interest in reading this blog and praying for my on this journey!


August 16, 2010

by Brande Jackson

Water = Hope made it out to three different cities this past weekend in Florida: Daytona Beach, Tampa, and West Palm.

We stepped off the bus in the morning and were pleased to see we were surrounded by all sorts of Daytona Beach fun, including a water park, carnival and the beach a short walk away. We ventured over to beach and walked around for a bit before we had to meet our awesome volunteer crew for the night. We had Michelle come out and bring her husband Derrick, her mother and her nephew Dustin. Michelle was an employee at the local Old Navy store, and took part in their volunteer program (much like our Gap girls that we met in Cleveland). Because she took the time to come out, Old Navy will make a donation to Water = Hope!!

water hope tampa

We love seeing more retailers encourage their employees to volunteer like this, and we really appreciate the effort that Michelle and her family put in to make our time in Daytona a great experience!

Next we headed to Tampa where the whole H2O crew, as well as some of the artists, took part in a hundred foot high water slide!! After that we met our crew, which consisted of four high school friends who were last minute add-ons from the waiting list and were really great. Sophia, Stephanie, Kelsey and Sarah were working to fill community service hours for their school and said they had a lot of fun working with Water = Hope and wanted to volunteer with us again. We also had Jamie come out and volunteer, who was very passionate about the water crisis and a lot of other issues that affect third world countries. She was working with a program that requires applicants to volunteer with different organizations and then in return they set you up with volunteer opportunities abroad.

water hope daytona beach

Toward the end of the night we had Andy and Joel, who are musicians that play with Steel Magnolia which is a part of the H2O tour, come by the tent and pick up some Water = Hope shirts. Keep an eye out for them to appear on stage!! Thanks for a great night Tampa!

Our last stop on our tour de Florida was West Palm Beach where we prepared ourselves for a sold out show. We met Jillian, Katelyn and Stephanie who worked hard with us to spread the word about Water = Hope to the people of West Palm. They worked hard into the night and helped us have our best donation night of the three cities! We were very impressed by that, especially considering we only had the three girls working with us. Thanks for your hard work girls!!

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We’re headed to North Carolina next, visit us as to sign-up!!


August 19, 2010

by Brittany Lattimer
Lipscomb College of Pharmacy
Namwianga, Zambia

brittany lattimer ZMM 

The Zambia Medical Mission is an annual event that has been taking place since the 1990’s.  Every year Americans and Zambians come together to host clinics in four different villages in the southern province of Zambia.  This year those clinics were held in Simalundu, Kapaulu, Nazibbula, and Mabuyu over six days.  Back in the ‘90s it began as a much smaller operation but has blossomed over the years to now include about ninety-six Americans and over one hundred Zambians.  Everyone that participated, which included doctors, nurses, dentists, etc. who took time off from their jobs to volunteer to help serve others.  It was amazing to be surrounded by so many optimistic people willing to serve God and the people of Zambia.

It was quite an amazing thing to be a part of and to be able to witness this event from a first hand perspective.  Let me briefly describe how the medical mission is set up.  A line begins to form early in the morning before the clinic opens around 8 am and will remain until around 5 when the clinic closes.  There are nurses that will triage the patients and determine which station they need to go to.  The different stations included wound care, lab, eye care, dental, spiritual, children’s ministry, and medical.  Over the course of six clinic days almost 20,000 people were seen, over 501 clean delivery kits distributed, 96 people baptized, over 50 cataract surgeries performed, over 50 wheelchairs given away, and 2 babies born.

I was lucky enough to be able to witness one of the births.  Let me say first and foremost how resilient and strong the Zambian women are.  The baby was breeched and although she did not receive one drop of anesthesia she did not scream even once during what I know had to be a grueling labor.  It was amazing to be able to witness a human being coming into the world.  It’s not often that you get to do that.  Unlike many women in such remote areas, she was able to be assisted by a doctor, nurse, and a midwife. 

Many women are not so lucky to be able to receive the assistance of doctors, nurses, or even midwives.  That is where the clean delivery kits come into play.  These kits contain a candle, matches, a razor blade to cut the umbilical cord, a string to tie the umbilical cord, a plastic sheet to provide a clean delivery surface, a blanket, and an outfit for the baby.  According to an organization called Path, over 1,600 women die per day from childbirth complications and over 950,000 newborns die per year from infections.  That’s why it great that we were able to distribute 501 clean delivery kits, because they help to reduce these numbers.  Unfortunately we ran out, but it will make a huge difference to the 501 women who received them.  It was great to be able to participate in such a huge operation and it was remarkable to see so many people in one place.  I really hope that I can participate in this again in the future.

August 12, 2010

by Brittany Lattimer
Lipscomb College of Pharmacy
Namwianga, Zambia

brittany lattimer fam planning 

When we live in a country with more forms of contraceptives than you can count it is hard to imagine that every country does not have the same resources.  When I went to Zambia I never realized how difficult family planning could be for many couples.  Many do not use birth control not because they do not want to, but because it isn’t as easily accessible. In Zambia usually bigger families with five, six, or seven kids is the norm because they do not have many options.  According to an article on Unplanned Pregnancy Statistics by Diana Bocco, the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York estimates that up to 49 percent of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. This includes pregnancies happening both inside marriage (or monogamous relationships) and those happening to single women.  So you can imagine how surprised I was to see this statistic about the United States when we have one of the most progressive health care systems in the world.

In Sub-Saharan Africa,  Niger has the highest percentage of any country in the world, at 233 unplanned pregnancies per every 1,000 women.  It’s very easy to see why there would be so many unplanned pregnancies in other countries.  Many other countries’ health care systems are not as developed as the United States, and they don’t have access to the same resources.  Most people live too far away from clinics to be able to go regularly, and even if they can go, not all clinics are equipped with the right supplies.  Now compare that to the U.S. where there is almost a drug store on every corner where men and women can obtain contraceptives. 

In many areas in Africa, it can be difficult to just get an STD test because of how far they are away from clinics or hospitals.  In the U.S. there are endless possibilities of places where you can get testing done.  Physicians offer these services in addition to the public health department, and if you’re in college most health centers can also perform these services.  Most of us take for granted the ability to be able to jump in the car and drive ten minutes to have these types of services performed.  Majority of people in more rural areas of Africa rely solely on walking as their transportation. 

Also though some STDs are curable, certain ones like HIV/AIDS will be something that you will have to treat for the rest of your life.  Most people in the U.S. do not realize how blessed they are to be able to have access to so many forms of birth control and don’t take full advantage of resources that they have. 


August 12, 2010

Clinton Bush Haiti Foundation

President Bush traveled to Haiti this week to witness the rebuilding efforts firsthand, meet with Haitians about their immediate needs and future hopes, and visit with organizations that are assisting in the rebuilding effort with support from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

During a visit with mango farmers after he arrived, he said, "Our goal is to help this society go from one that is dependent on aid to one that can grow its way to prosperity." A grant from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund will benefit an initial group of up to 5,000 mango farmers and their families. We hope this model will help transform the entire mango sector, increase exports and incomes, and ultimately benefit 25,000 mango farming families in Haiti.

george bush w mango farmers

President Bush met up with his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, while visiting GHESKIO in Haiti. To watch Jenna’s report, check out NBC’s Today Show segment:

george w gheskio staff

President Bush met with Dr. Jean W. Pape and GHESKIO staff, clients, and patients at a medical clinic in Port-au-Prince. In the aftermath of the earthquake, GHESKIO has provided emergency health care, shelter, micro-loans, and humanitarian assistance to thousands of Haitians with support from a Clinton Bush Haiti Fund grant.

President Bush visited with INDEPCO leaders and workers in Port-au-Prince. Garment manufacturing is one of the most important industries in the Haitian economy, and the INDEPCO association of apparel micro-entrepreneurs is helping keep the industry running by fulfilling orders for school uniforms and other garments, and by housing seamstresses and tailors whose workshops are being rebuilt. CBHF’s grant to INDEPCO will allow it to repair a key building to house displaced ateliers, complete an order for 40,000 school uniforms, and employ more garment workers by expanding its network and sales.

george bush w indepco leaders


To help our neighbors in need, please visit  and give what you can.

August 2, 2010

by Jodi Southerland
East Tennessee State University: College of Public Health
Appalachia Region

Highlight the good – This summer has been extraordinary. I have been given an opportunity to see first hand how one or two committed individuals can make a positive impact on an entire community. Over twenty years ago, one man was impacted by the needs in his community. It began with one can of food distributed by one man and has since developed into a multi-faceted grassroots organization – Of One Accord, Inc. – which provides vital services to its community members. But in addition to these services, the agency wears many hats. It’s a social network – community members from every walk of life congregate together and discuss ways to improve the living and working conditions in their communities or they simply stop by to say ‘howdy.’ It’s an advocate – men and women, young and old identify local needs, voice their concerns and develop initiatives that are sometimes provocative, sometimes cutting-edge and sometimes counter cultural. It’s hope – over 300 committed individuals volunteer with the agency each year, many year after year, and willingly give of themselves, their time and resources to lend a helping hand to someone in need.

Inspire greatness – Over the past few weeks, I have experienced every emotion possible…elation, laughter, sadness, joy, hope and inspiration. I have learned the stories of our precious seniors. I have cried with them as they tell me stories of loss and hardship. I have laughed with them as they tell me stories about the ‘good ole days’ – pickin’ berries, churnin’ butter and makin’ music out on the front porch. I have been inspired by their tenacity and strength and I have also shared in their grief when I am told stories of how they feel forgotten by family, friend and community. These seniors are a walking history, living testaments, a repository of knowledge. We have learned together one from another. And although I can sense that I have impacted their lives in meaningful ways through various health promotion activities, these men and women have also educated me. Through their life stories, I have learned how to cope during crisis, how to manage with limited resources and how to cook up some good vittles even if the cupboards are bare!

Encourage mutual responsibility – It’s just plain old simple mathematics! There is strength in numbers. When people join together for a common purpose, we can make a world of impact. My friend, Sue, is someone making a world of difference. Together, we can make change happen. We can empower our communities through citizen engagement. We can mobilize other likeminded community members and promote social responsibility for health. One by one, we can make lasting change! And although there are unique challenges facing rural communities, a little hard work, grit and determination by one or two local residents can = a thriving community of hope. A big shout out to Big Kenny Alphin and the Love Everybody Foundation for making this opportunity possible here in Appalachia!

July 26, 2010

by John Deason
Lipscomb School of Pharmacy

            To fill you in on the rest of the events that have happened, my days at the clinic are all but over for this trip.  In the days leading up to the mission I was needed to much here to get things ready.  Once all the team members arrived (all 220 of them) things really got crazy, but I was very impressed to see how all the organization and planning really keeps things moving smoothly.  Meals are held in a large field of chairs behind the house and there is no where you can go without running into someone.  It’s nice be around so many people, but also a little hectic.

            The day of the first mission required us to get up an extra early (since I was on the advance setup team), grab a quick breakfast and start packing the lorries for the long haul to Simalundu.  Despite the early start and having to setup most of the camp with only a small fraction of the main group, the benefit of riding on top of all the piled up sleeping bags on the uncovered lorry was well worth it.  It made a very long, slow and bumpy ride rather relaxing.  I even got a short nap in.

            Once we arrived, we were greeted by a group of Zambian villagers singing songs of thanks for our arrival; it nice to have such a warm welcome. Thankfully, we were able to get everything ready before the main team arrived, and more importantly, before dark!  It was nice to finally be finished and have a hot meal. 

            After eating. my new found friend Britni (a doctor from South Africa) and I went to go see what all the commotion we were hearing from the village.  We arrived to see almost a parade of Zambian dancers singing to the moonlight in celebration of our arrival.  We were soon surrounded by many of them asking us questions from who are favorite football (soccer) teams were to if we were married.  They also did their best to teach us more Tonga, and had a blast laughing at us when we couldn’t pronounce the words correctly.

            I went to bed that night with a very big smile on my face.  The Zambians had decided to sing well into the night and the singing and marching carried throughout the entire campsite.  I can’t tell you what it does to a person to receive such a welcome.

            In the morning we set up all the giant canopies that would be our various departments and began the clinic.  I have never seen such lines of people in my life!  After one day of being there we saw over 3,000 patients!!!  The pharmacy dispensed medicine to almost all of them and most got at least 3 prescriptions each for a total of at least 9,000 scripts filled in an eight hour period!  I doubt I shall ever see the likes of such a well oiled and efficient pharmacy.

            We continued on for another day in the same fashion seeing another 3,000 patients and packed everything to move to Kapaulu the next morning (at 5:45 am!!!).  That night the Zambians threw such a celebration of signing and dancing the ground shook at times, granted they were right outside my tent.  If I thought the first night I spent that gave me a warm feeling, then this was red hot in comparison!  Few people back in the States have ever seen the gratitude from such a thankful people.  God be praised I could.

            My group piled into a little bus the next morning and had a long and sleepy drive over to our next destination where we were greeted with more songs and dancing.  The next village was much smaller and healthier than the previous and the day went fast.  We came back to Namwianga greeted by a meal of tacos and chips!  I couldn’t tell you how the American came out in my and I dashed around excited for the meal and the promise of a hot shower after only 4 days in the bush.  It’s funny how the simple pleasures seem so big once you haven’t seen them for a little while.  Multiply the gratitude the Zambians must have had when they are given little niceties, which we so often take for granted, that some have never had in their whole lives!

            God has truly blessed me with such an opportunity to experience all that I have.  Looking in at a country in such need makes me never want to leave it.  Certainly the desire to finish my degree burns even greater with in me now more than ever if only for the simple fact that I can bring more knowledge and skill to this country that could never have to many healing hands.

            We leave out again early tomorrow to go for another 4 days in the bush.  Please be in prayer that we can repeat the same successes we have been having and that our party continues to remain as a whole, very healthy.

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