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Kybele December Newsletter Rounds Header Image   

Donate Now!

In This Issue:


Donations Make A Difference


Message from the President  



Holiday Open House 


Partnership with USAID 


New Ridge O.R. Update  


Ghanian Anesthetists Visit US 


Meet Kwabena Opoku   


Kudos and Quicklinks  

Message from the PresidentPresidentMessage 

Board Member Sebnem Ucer and Medge

It is hard to believe it is December 2011 - where did the year go? At Kybele, we've had a year of growth and opportunity, and for that we are grateful. Highlights include new partnerships with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ghana International Women's Club, culminating in a new obstetric operating room in Ghana. We celebrated the first graduating class of nurse anesthetists from the Ridge Hospital Nurse Anesthesia Training School (only the third in the country) which will greatly impact the provision of surgery. The first recipient of the SOAP-Kybele International Outreach Grant was announced. We helped establish a global health elective for senior anesthesiology residents at Wake Forest and Duke. A major manuscript was published about our joint collaboration in Ghana that has reduced maternal and newborn mortality. We conducted a very successful Team Leader Training Summit and have new leaders for programs in Armenia and Serbia. It has truly been a busy year.


Many organizations are asking for donations at this time of year. Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, we've had a chance to reflect on the blessings in our lives. To date, donations to Kybele have totaled nearly $92,000. Kybele's reality is that without donations, it will be impossible to grow, or even sustain, the work that has begun to make such a significant difference to mothers and babies around the world. So, thank you for what you have already done. You see the difference it is making. Please consider making a tax deductible, year-end donation to Kybele to continue this life-saving work.  Thank you.

Medge Owen SigSend us your suggestions!  

Medge D. Owen, MD

Kybele Founder & President    

Team Leader Training Summit TeamLeaderSummit    

Article by Helen Akinc.  Photos courtesy of Medge Owen.

Team Leader Summit Photos 1
L to R:  Armenia team leaders, Gordon Yuill (Manchester, UK) and Simon Millar (Glascow, Scotland) converse with Romania team leader, Virgil Manica (Boston, MA), before the summit.  Board members Can Unal (Turkey/Winston-Salem, NC), Marge Sedensky (Seattle, WA), and Cyril Engmann (Chapel Hill, NC) take a break from training.  Facilitator Gail Hollander (Boulder, CO) listens to the discussion. 

Kybele's first team leader summit was held November 4-6 at the Wingate by Wyndham in Winston-Salem, NC. The purpose of the event was to bring program team leaders together to enhance leadership skills as well as provide a forum to discuss common challenges and solutions involved with working abroad. The twenty-five participants were welcomed by Dr. Joseph Tobin, Department Chair of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who has been steadfast in his support of Kybele's global health programs. Facilitated by Gail Hollander who also presented along with Judy Riggs, Medge Owen, Tom Ivester and Bill Sollecito, the summit sessions were both informative and lively. Attendees included team leaders from around the world all of whom had volunteered on a Kybele program. Some of the topics discussed included team leader responsibilities, team leadership, cultural dimensions, the Kybele model, and quality improvement. It also afforded Kybele volunteers to meet and exchange ideas in a comfortable setting. Initial feedback from attendees has been very positive.

Team Leader Images 2
L to R:  Egypt team leader Sabri Barsoum (Cleveland, OH), Armenia team leaders Gordon Yuill (Manchester, UK) and Simon Millar (Glascow, Scotland), Serbia Team Leaders Dennis Shay (San Diego, CA) and Ivan Velickovic (Tenafly, NJ). Team members and Kybele staff enjoy a great meal and presentation by Tom Ivester (Chapel Hill, NC).  Photos courtesy of Helen Akinc and Medge Owen

Holiday Open House and Merchandise SaleOpenHouse     

Join us for a Holiday Open House!

Partnership with USAIDUSAID    

Overcrowding at Ridge Hospital
Expectant mothers wait in crowded hallways.
We are pleased to announce that Kybele and Ridge Regional Hospital will be partnering with USAID to develop a triage system for hospitals referring obstetrical patients to Ridge and strengthen nearby Adabraka Polyclinic to handle low-risk patients. Ridge Hospital has seen very significant increases in births and referrals of high risk mothers over the past several years. The infrastructure at Ridge is limited, especially in the capacity to expand, and unless other solutions are implemented, problems from overcrowding and delays in treatment will result in increased maternal and infant mortality. To address that issue, Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh, (Director of Clinical Services and former Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ridge Regional Hospital , Dr. Adeyemi (Yemi) Olufolabi (Associate Professor of Obstetric Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center and co-chair of Kybele's Ghana Program), and Dr. Medge Owen (founder and president of Kybele, Inc., Professor of Obstetric Anesthesiology and Director of Maternal and Infant Global Health Programs at Wake Forest School of Medicine and co-chair of Kybele's Ghana Program) submitted a proposal to USAID which was accepted. After analyzing referral patterns, efforts will focus on space utilization, communication, process management, and gradual implementation to funnel more patients to Adabraka.

New O.R. Scheduled to Open February 1st RidgeOR

Ridge OR Image

Ghanian Nurse Anesthetists Visit the US NurseAnes  

Article by Helen Akinc.  Photo courtesy of David Weppner.

Nurse Anaestitsts Image
L to R:  Pearl Ansah, Medge Owen and Jacob Wumbei

In October, Ghanaian nurse anesthetists Pearl Ansah and Jacob Wumbei visited Wake Forest Baptist Health, Forsyth Medical Center, and Duke University Hospital as part of Kybele's commitment to ongoing education. Deeply involved in the creation of the new nurse anesthetist program at Ridge Hospital (only the third such school in Ghana), each have followed very interesting paths to get to this point.


Pearl, whose first name is Araba, meaning "a girl who is born on Tuesday", is a member of the Akan tribe from the southern part of Ghana, was the seventh child in a family of four brothers and four sisters. After completing a basic course in nursing, she then took a course in midwifery, which was required of women who go into anesthesia. Her interest in anesthesia developed as she sees it as more challenging and requiring better teamwork and responsibility.  READ MORE.

Meet Kwabena Opoku - Textile Vendor Kwabena  

Article and photos courtesy of Karen Bartoletti.
Kwabena Opoku Images

Kybele has worked with Kwabena Opoku since 2004 when he graduated from Accra Polytechnic with a degree in fashion design. Initially, he designed and produced textile products (including bags from African batik fabrics) as an employee of the Celestial Needy Children's Program. While there, Kwabena focused particularly on designing bags of all kinds (tote bags, computer bags, toiletry bags and others) as well as working on the difficult challenge of cutting patterns.


In 2008, Kwabena went out on his own, establishing his company, Two Things Bag. Alone when he first started the company, his high quality craftsmanship and business professionalism has now allowed Kwabena to add two employees. His goal for the company in five years' time is to be able to produce 20-30 bags per day, a 20-fold increase from today's volume.


Originally from Obo Kwahu, in the eastern region, of Ghana, Kwabena now lives with his wife and two-year old daughter Felicity in Accra.


Kudos and Quick Links Kudos    

Our Gratitude
  • Kybele is the foundation for a global health rotation between Wake Forest University, Duke University and the Ghana Health System.  Global health electives have been created for senior anesthesiology residents and have been approved by the American Board of Anesthesiology.  Jessica Myers (Duke University), and Jessica Sola-Acevedo (Wake Forest School of Medicine) have been selected as the first residents to rotate to Ridge Hospital in January 2012 under Dr. Yemi Olufolabi's watchful eye.
  • Kybele Team Members and professional photographers Yesim Unal and Azis Celebi from Istanbul, Turkey are publishing a photo book of their experience in Ghana.  A limited number of copies will be available for sale in 2012.
  • Watch for more information and photos on the above announcements in the next newsletter! 

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 Overview of Our Work 


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.   


Wood Nativity from Africa

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 Logo 2
Kybele, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 humanitarian organization dedicated to improving childbirth safety worldwide through educational partnerships. The role of Kybele is to bring professional medical teams into host countries, to work alongside doctors and nurses in their home hospitals, to improve healthcare standards. Kybele volunteers provide hands-on training in medical techniques during the actual care of patients in labor wards and in operating rooms. Kybele volunteers model teamwork and compassion in real life and death situations, sharing knowledge when it matters the most.
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 .   3524 Yadkinville Road #124 Winston-Salem, NC 27106