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Message from the President  PresidentMessage 


As I'm writing, I'm traveling home from Accra, Ghana, still inspired by the events of the past few days. On March 1, we inaugurated a new maternity operating room at Ridge Regional Hospital, through a unique partnership between The Ghana International Women's Club, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Ghana Health Service-Ridge Regional Hospital and Kybele. In attendance for the grand event were the First Lady of Ghana, Her Excellency, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, the Minister of Health, Honorable Albin Bagbin, and all other partners. I'm grateful that the unmet need for emergency obstetric surgery has been recognized. I'm convinced that the new operating theatre will reduce delay and save lives. Kybele and Ridge are striving together to champion new levels of quality improvement and efficiency in the year ahead.


It is the vision of the Ridge obstetrics' department to be a "CENTER OF CLINICAL EXCELLENCE and a STANDARD BEARER in the fight to reduce the death of mothers and babies in health institutions in Ghana." They are achieving this! Maternal mortality for pre-eclampsia and bleeding has been reduced by 65% and 89%, respectively. Overall, maternal mortality has been reduced by 23% and still birth by 52% since our program began 5 years ago. Ridge was just voted "Best Hospital" in the Greater Accra Region. This is real success. We couldn't be happier!

First Lady of Ghana, Her Excellency, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills
and Dr. Medge Owen.


In addition, we have ongoing programs in Romania and Armenia, a new program in Serbia and a site visit to Vietnam in 2012. Look for highlights in upcoming newsletters. As always, Kybele is driven by the ingenuity and passion of dedicated volunteers. It takes substantial effort to make a difference where difference is needed. I personally thank you for your commitment. Right now, fundraising is a priority as programs expand. I hope we can count on you for support.



Medge Owen Sig  

Medge Owen, President 




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Medical Practice Establishes Nurse Travel Scholarships




Maternity Operating Theatre Launch


The Salsa Doc


Holiday Party with a Special Punch


Program Trip Updates


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Medical Practice Establishes Nurse Travel Scholarships  TravelScholarships     

Article by Helen Akinc.   


Led by Stephen Anderson, M.D., retired, one of the founding members of Lyndhurst Gynecologic Associates, doctors and staff in Winston-Salem, NC individually contributed to establish two travel scholarships for nurses from Forsyth Medical Center to participate in Kybele programs. It all began at a Christmas party when Stephen Anderson bumped into Medge Owen and they started talking about Kybele. Medge explained that nurses were essential to the team mix but it was financially straining for many to participate. In a recent conversation, he was reluctant to take credit for being the impetus behind this gift, but instead focused on the generosity of everyone involved. He also spoke of the importance of helping people one knows as that creates confidence about how a gift will be put to use, and talked about his respect and admiration for what Kybele has been able to achieve.


Scott Washburn, one of the M.D.'s in the practice (aka "the salsa doc"-see article), outlined other benefits resulting from these scholarships. Obviously, it helps Kybele, because the organization depends on the volunteer efforts of medical professionals as program participants. Dr. Washburn observed that nurses who travel with Kybele return to be much better nurses, for a variety of reasons. The conditions where Kybele operates are diverse and in many cases lack what Western hospitals would consider essential, but the team gets the job done in whatever conditions are present, even without the computers, monitors, and other automatic equipment, team members are accustomed to using.  READ MORE

Kybele Wine Tasting and Dinner Event   WineTasting 

Maternity Operating Theatre Launch at Ridge Hospital - Accra, Ghana    MaternityTheatre

The new maternity theatre at Ridge Hospital. On March 1, the long-awaited launch of the maternity operating theatre at Ridge Hospital took place. The First Lady of Ghana attended, as well as representatives from the project partners including Mrs. Nagwa Kattah, President of GIWC (Ghana International Women's Club, a charity organization), and Dr. Medge Owen, Founder of Kybele. The new maternity operating theatre will ease some of the difficulty in performing emergency C-sections. At times in the past, the overcrowded surgical facilities made it impossible to perform emergency surgery. Ensuing delays have cost both babies and mothers their lives. This new facility should make a significant difference.   


The Salsa Doc SalsaDoc

Article by Helen Akinc
Scott Washburn
Dr. Scott Washburn

Recently, I met Dr. Scott Washburn, a.k.a. the salsa doc, an OBGYN with Lyndhurst Gynecologic Associates, who makes and sells salsa to benefit Kybele. He's been making salsa since the 1980's, when he worked as a teenager for his family's restaurant, The Breadbasket Caf´┐Ż near Little Rock, Arkansas. Usually, he makes salsa as a Christmas gift for staff, but recently had the idea to sell salsa and give the proceeds to Kybele. Thank you, Scott!!!! Not everyone can make big donations, but everyone can relate to safe childbirth and healthy mothers, and we can all help out since the salsa sells for just $5 per jar. In January, he filled a 105 quart vat full of salsa and sold every drop! Scott is a partner in Lyndhurst Gynecologic Associates whose doctors individually made significant donations to fund two nursing travel scholarships.

Salsa Doc Logo

In asking Dr. Washburn why he supports Kybele and not one of the hundreds of other worthy non-profits, he responded with a couple of main points that are important to emphasize. He knows Medge Owen and her colleagues here in Winston Salem and many other Kybele program participants. The high quality of their service and work is important and he sees spreading that work ethic and quality of service as an important task. Secondly, and just as important, he mentioned the basic premise of Kybele - that we're teaching people to fish, not handing out fish.


I asked him in his experience what are the most important factors which lead to a healthy mother and baby.His answer was essentially to provide a healthy environment for the baby and mother both before and after the birth. Before the birth, it is very important for the mother to be motivated to provide a healthy environment for the baby in terms of how she takes care of herself: nutrition, fitness, taking prescribed medications, and following care guidelines,. After the baby is born, again the focus must be on creating a healthy, safe, and loving environment for herself and the baby.


Dr. Washburn, thank you for all you do for Kybele and mothers and babies!

Order Your Salsa  

Holiday Party with a Special Punch  SpecialPunch  

Article by Helen Akinc.  Photo courtesy of Davida Grossman. 

Dr. Davida Grossman
Dr. Davida Grossman (wearing the green dress in the middle) surrounded by friends at the holiday party in New Jersey.

Dr. Davida Grossman likes to throw holiday parties and this past year was no exception, only this year she turned it into a Kybele fundraiser. Selecting Kybele as the focus was natural for Dr. Grossman, who is an obstetrical anesthesiologist and who has been involved on mission trips for similar organizations. She hopes to go on a Kybele trip in the future. At last year's S.O.A.P. meeting she listened closely to Kybele's presentation and was impressed with the emphasis on teaching, which helps not just to make change, but also to sustain change and improvement in the health care system.


As she began to plan for the party, she reflected on the abundance in her life. Hoping to help others in need as well as simplifying some of the holiday chaos, Dr. Grossman asked her guests to donate to Kybele in lieu of bringing presents to the party. The invitation provided a short summary of information about Kybele from the website and suggested a modest donation, $10 for adults and $2 per child. That way, everyone felt involved and could join in the holiday spirit of doing something for others. The party was a great success all around, for all the guests and Kybele!


Thank you, Davida!



Upcoming Program Updates ProgramUpdates

ROMANIA - MAY 21 - 27

Team leader, Dr. Virgil Manica, will be leading his 6th Kybele visit to Romania.  This trip will take the Kybele Team to Suceava, in the northern part of Romania, near the border with Ukraine.  It is the 2nd largest city in Moldavia, after Iasi, and the gate to Bucovina, world famous for the painted monasteries.  Kybele will be working in the Suceava Emergency County Hospital, alongside the local obstetricians and anesthesiologists.  We will be obtaining temporary licenses there, so we can perform whatever procedures are necessary.  The team will also participate in a few conferences to discuss recent updates both in obstetrics and anesthesiology.   Contact team leader Dr. Virgil Manica if you are a return participant.   


ARMENIA - June 23 - July 7, 2012 

Led by Dr. Gordon Yuill and Dr. Simon Millar, the six-person team in place includes two OBs, but NEEDS neonatologists, anesthesiologists, and could use more OBs. The first week of the program will take place in three hospitals in the capital city of Yerevan before spreading out to different areas the following week. A conference will lead off the program and set the tone for the project. Dr. Ashot Amroyan, who is the local host and champion, has been gathering comprehensive data from Yerevan and the other areas and is eagerly anticipating the Kybele visit. He sees the establishment of National Guidelines as a very important task and one for which Kybele can provide helpful support. According to Dr. Yuill, this could also be the basis of an ongoing quality improvement project. If you are interested in volunteering for this trip, please contact one of the trip leaders: Dr. Gordon Yuill and Dr. Simon Millar.


SERBIA - August 31 - September 8, 2012 

Kybele, led by Ivan Velickovic, has scheduled a site visit/small team trip to Serbia this year. Dr. Velickovic is looking for 1 OBGYN and 1 Neonatologist.  Since this is a first visit, it would be good to have past participants as a first priority, so if interested, please contact Dr. Velickovic.


VIETNAM - November 2012 

Plans are underway for a site visit to Vietnam tentatively in November.  


Ghana - May & September 2012 | Jan 2013

Contact team leader Dr. Yemi Olufolabi if you are a returning participant. 



Kybele's planned trip to Egypt this spring is currently on hold, according to the program leaders, Dr. Sabri Barsoum and Dr. Ashraf Habib. The situation is quite volatile and unstable, as has been widely reported by various news channels. It seems unlikely that a trip will take place in 2012. Hopefully, in 2013 it will be possible to return and continue the work that has been started.
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 .

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 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 bracelets
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Board of Directors


Medge Owen, MD

President & Founder

Helen Akinc  

VP Strategy & Newsletter Editor  

Margaret Sedensky, MD 

VP Program Development

Frank James, MD 



Brittany Clyne, MD

Thomas Ivester, MD

Shannon Koontz 

Virgil Manica, MD

Holly Muir, MD

Yemi Olufolabi, MD

Michael Rieker, CRNA  

Robin Sizemore

Leigh Stanfield 


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.
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