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Kybele Rounds Header - September 2011  

Donations Make A Difference.

In This Issue:   

Donations Make A Difference


Message from the President


Out of My Comfort Zone  


Serving Above and Beyond:   

Yemi Olufolabi  


 Meet Gail Hollander  


Kybele Golf Tournament  


 Kybele Board Update   


 Quick Links   


Message from the PresidentPresidentMessage 

Greetings!, Medge doing a resuscitation in Ghana.


Volunteerism is the heart and soul of Kybele; the vehicle through which we exist. Over the past 7 years, we have had 350 medical volunteers and other professionals serve in 9 countries. We have come from 63 institutions across the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia to embark on 28 team trips and 17 site visits. This year we will launch a new program in Serbia, in addition to active programs in Ghana, Romania, and Armenia. We will also return to Egypt when the time is right.


When we incorporate volunteer service into our lives, we help solve problems, strengthen communities, improve lives, connect to others and transform our own lives. A growing body of research indicates that volunteering also provides health benefits to the volunteer. Studies show that those who actively volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and less depression.* Volunteering also improves interpersonal skills, specifically, in understanding people better, motivating others, and learning to deal with difficult situations.


Ultimately, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills through personal choice, to help improve the lives of others. No one person can solve all the world's problems, but when we each do a little together, we can continue to make a difference. Kybele is grateful for the lives, dedication and enthusiasm of each of our volunteers. Thank you!


Medge Owen SigSend us your suggestions! 

Medge D. Owen, MD

Kybele Founder & President    



*Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, Washington DC 2007.

Serving Above and Beyond:  Dr. Yemi Olufolabi YemiArticle   

Article by Helen AkincDr. Yemi Olufolabi


One of the first things I noticed when I met Yemi a number of years ago is that he speaks with a gentleness and strength that immediately puts the listener at ease and suggests a power derived from wisdom, compassion, and intellect. Dr. Adeyemi Olufolabi, a specialist in obstetric and gynecological anesthesia at Duke University, is one of Kybele's most dedicated volunteers.  Known for his humor and easy-going nature, he is passionate about his work and spoke eloquently about the meaningfulness of his work at Kybele.


He was born in Colchester, England to Nigerian parents who had gone to England to study psychiatric nursing. Soon he was exposed to different cultures, when his father made a career switch and joined the Nigerian diplomatic service, moving the family to Washington, DC, Italy, Ghana, and Ethiopia, to name a few. Fast forward and he went to medical school in Nigeria where the country's future doctors are educated for free, and then he underwent training in Anesthesiology in England. Yemi first experienced Duke University when he went there in 1997 for a one-year research appointment. He returned in 1999 and has been there ever since. Along the way, he married and he and his wife have three children.


He first became involved with Kybele when in 2002 Medge did a program at Duke on work she'd done in Turkey. He approached her and mentioned that if she ever wanted to do a program in Africa similar to what she'd done in Turkey, to count him in. In 2005, Yemi Olufolabi, Medge Owen, and Vernon Ross first went to Accra to explore possibilities there in Ghana. And the rest is history.  READ MORE 

Meet Gail Hollander GailArticle

Gail Hollander 1


Gail Hollander has a long history in management and organization consulting, first in the corporate world and later with non-profits. Her work is focused on helping organizations to balance excellent client service, high efficiencies, and a good quality of employee work life.  Mostly retired from consulting, she now focuses more on art, playing in her garden, and hiking/snow shoeing with Mookie (her canine love),in the magnificent Colorado Rockies she calls home.


A few years ago she heard about Kybele through Becky, a friend from Ghana, who was one of the three nurse-midwives that Kybele first brought to the U.S. While making travel arrangements for Becky's Colorado visit, Gail had occasion to speak with Medge. She seemed so nice that she decided to look up the Kybele website. She was hooked!


Offering her consulting services, pro bono, she went to North Carolina to meet Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh and the board members and the relationship was launched.  Since then she's been on three Ghana trips, with the fourth coming up in September, all of which have been frustrating, fascinating, and rewarding.  READ MORE 

Kybele Golf Tournament GolfTournament 

Kybele Golf Tournament   



Contact Tournament Coordinator, Greg Harper  

for more information or CLICK HERE  

to view registration form.   



Out of My Comfort Zone:  In the Labor Ward at Ridge Hospital LouisaArticle   

Kybele Team Debrief

Kybele Team Members debrief after a long day of working.

Written by Louisa Oates  


On May 16th, I was sitting contently in a folding chair on the Wake Forest quad, in my cap and gown, waiting to receive my college diploma in the presence of hundreds of cheering families and peers. Just a week later, I was sitting uncomfortably on a small box in the corner of a hot and humid room in the Ridge Hospital labor ward, in new scrubs, waiting to observe a dehydrated Ghanaian woman give birth in the presence of not only her midwife and myself but also five other women similarly moaning through their own labor pains. The sharp contrast between the two scenarios was surreal.


In the United States, women take for granted the hotel-like labor rooms, hospitable nurses and doctors, and most notably, low-risk childbirth. After working and volunteering with Kybele for the past year, I was familiar with the statistic that up to 500,000 women die globally per year in childbirth and the stories of difficult labor ward conditions. However, my knowledge did not prepare my heart for looking into the eyes of women and their families as they waited to see how their wives, daughters, and unborn children would fare.   



Board of Directors UpdateBoardUpdate    

  • The Kybele Board Development Committee is currently accepting nominations for membership to the Kybele Board of Directors for a minimum 3-year term.  
  • The Kybele Board Development Committee is currently looking for volunteers to sit on the following committees (either as elected Board Members or as Advisory Council Members/Volunteers).  Committees meet as needed to discuss issues, programs, and events.  Committees may meet in person or through email/phone/video conferencing.  Committee members do not have to be official members of the Board of Directors and may live outside the United States.     
    • Marketing/Communications/Visibility
    • Fundraising
    • Board Development/Nominations
    • Operations
  • If you would like to nominate a person or person(s) for the Board of Directors or would like more information about Board or Committee Membership, please contact Director of Operations, Karen Bartoletti . 

Quick LinksQuickLinks   

 Make a Donation 


 Published Research 


 Press Releases 


 Our Mission 


 Contact Staff 








 Overview of Our Work  


Board of Directors

 Medge Owen, MD

President & Founder

Helen Akinc  

VP Strategy & Newsletter Editor 

Margaret Sedensky

VP Program Development

Sebnem Ucer


Lisa Councilman, MD



Brittany Clyne, MD

Cyril Engmann, MD

Thomas Ivester, MD

Frank James, MD

Virgil Manica, MD

Holly Muir, MD

Yemi Olufolabi, MD

Robin Sizemore

Can Unal, MD   

Kybele bracelets 

Kybele merchandise is on display at various events in the Winston-Salem, NC area.  Contact us if you are interested in purchasing merchandise or have an event that is appropriate for us to display/sell our items. 

Kybele Merchandise 2 

Kybele Logo 2

Kybele is a 501(c)3 not for profit humanitarian organization dedicated to improving childbirth conditions worldwide through medical education partnerships.  Our organization brings US, Canadian, Australian and European healthcare professionals into host countries to work alongside doctors and nurses in their home environments. Our teams promote teaching and provide hands-on training in techniques that improve healthcare safety.   3524 Yadkinville Road #124 Winston-Salem, NC 27106