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Read more about Kybele here.Comments or suggestions about our newsletter?  Contact Editor, Helen Akinc.   

Message from the President    PresidentMessage

L to R: Dr. Yemi Olufolabi, Dr. Mark Newman, Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh and Dr. Holly Muir at Duke University Department of Anesthesiology.

Spring is in the air, bringing freshness and vitality. Spring is also in our step at Kybele as we prepare for our annual fundraising dinner and scientific program at SOAP (The Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 24-28, 2013.  This year, Kybele participants submitted six scientific abstracts to the meeting involving work in Romania, Serbia and Ghana. All submitted abstracts were accepted for presentation, including one in the coveted "Best Papers" category entitled "Measuring Performance of a Continuous Quality Improvement Program designed to reduce Maternal Mortality in a Regional Referral Institution in Ghana". This abstract ranked in the top six of nearly 200 abstracts submitted to the meeting.  Kybele will sponsor Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh, Chief of Clinical Services at Ridge Regional Hospital, Accra, Ghana, to give the keynote address at th e Kybele dinner. We will learn from his perspective on the challenges of providing maternal care in Africa, the impact of Kybele and advice for individuals who desire to do global health work. Please register for the dinner before THURSDAY, APRIL 18, as seats are quickly filling up. If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation to Kybele to help establish our new programs to Serbia and Vietnam. Thank you for making a difference to Kybele, in serving the needs of others.

Medge Owen Sig  

Medge Owen, President

Kybele, Inc.  





 President's Message

Mother's Day Cards

Focus on Philanthropy:
Catherine's Story

Kybele Dinner

The Arms of Kybele Reach Wide

The Pain of Childbirth
Differing Cultural Perceptions

Keeping Kybele Afloat

Monthly Donors

Kybele on the Move

Kudos and Quicklinks

FOCUS ON PHILANTHROPY:  Catherine's Story      Catherine       

Article by Helen Akinc

Letter from Catherine to children in Ghana. 


One can never really know how an idea gets started but it does and then takes on a life of its own. When a person is ready, the idea is like a seed that finds fertile soil and just grows and spreads, like a healthy plant. Catherine Young, daughter of Anh and Scott Young, had an idea that developed while she attended a presentation done by the students who had gone on a Thanksgiving trip to Ghana. Students went on the trip to help a local elementary school with basic supplies and water.  According to Catherine, who, by the way, is ten years old, "Based on the stories they told, it made me realize how much I have and how little they have but are still very thankful. I remember the fact that the only source of water the kids had come from a water spout which Jozy's mom (Medge Owen) helped install. I was very surprised and wanted to help them have more".  She picked up a handout that listed the supplies needed and made a plan.


As her mother explains,

"...organization and collection was pretty simple as it just involved close friends and family. She used the handout she picked up at the Ghana presentation to get an idea of supplies needed. Then she sent a letter to our family with suggested supplies that she would like them to consider in lieu of presents for her. After Christmas, she thought it would be fun to give an account, like they did in the presentation, and thank everyone for their help.


After Christmas, Catherine was thrilled about all the Christmas donations, but she was not done. She wanted to buy more things with the money her grandparents gave her. In the end, she gave Medge the money to buy whatever else they needed. A large bag of rice was purchased. Catherine was shocked that it would be the only meal some of these kids would have for the day.




Medge was so kind to deliver the supplies and then brought back thank you letters and pictures to share with Catherine.  She treasures those notes from children half way around the world that she has never met. Catherine wants to continue to be involved with the children in Ghana and has made it her mission to one day meet those faces."


A philanthropist is born. A sign of hope for our world.


Kybele Dinner and Cruise Invitation 2

The Arms of Kybele Reach Wide    Arms        

 Article by Helen Akinc


It is becoming clear that Kybele has its own style and spirit, one which seems to be contagious. We've come to recognize that involvement with and exposure to Kybele projects seems to inspire people and stimulate them to think about ways they too can help others. The people directly served by our volunteers clearly benefit, but it has become clear that the Kybele spirit extends way beyond that. Just a few examples will demonstrate this.

  • Teachers and administrators at the school where Medge's daughter attends have heard about Kybele off and on for several years. Likewise, people who work and ride at the stables where Jozy goes have also come to know about the work being done by Kybele volunteers in many parts of the world. So, in a remarkable juxtaposition of great ideas and goodwill, the school, the riding stables and Kybele worked together to put together the trip to Ghana over Thanksgiving. This is when students from Forsyth Country Day School worked to help bring much needed supplies and equipment to students at a school in Ghana with support from Cash-Lovell Stables. The riding academy's support also made it possible for the school to have running water. Kybele provided essential expertise, advice and networking support. Upon their return, students did a presentation about their trip at school. This presentation so moved one 10 year-old student, Catherine Young, that as part of her Christmas wish list, she requested supplies for the students at the school in Ghana. See full story above.
    L to R:  Michael Moyer (BSN, RN, CPN, RNC-NIC), Laurel Bookman (MD, MPH, and long-time Kybele Team Member) and Dr. Hasan Mumin at Tamale Teaching Hospital NICU - Tamale, Africa.
    Photo courtesy of Odaboro Foundation.
  • Mike Moyer, after traveling to Ghana to work with Kybele, saw a need and founded the Odaboro Foundation, which is a non-profit "whose goals include collection and distribution of medical supplies and equipment, clothing and monetary donations to NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) in need." While only in existence a few years, the Odaboro Foundation has made a significant impact in the lives of NICU patients.

There are countless other stories- individuals who are moved by someone else's generosity of spirit who then give of themselves and their unique gifts. There are stories of a young volunteer working with her college and grad school buddies to collect donations to buy bags of rice to be given to children in Ghana; of conversations with other non-profits to consider partnering operations in order to serve more people more effectively and of a doctor designing a course for midwives to more effectively treat mothers in labor. There are many such instances of individuals developing unique ways to share their talents and lives with those in need.


Kybele's spirit clearly touches many people, in ways that often are unexpected. Truly, one never knows how an unselfishly performed good deed or gift will touch others. Thank you.....all of you, for all you do to serve those in need.

THE PAIN OF CHILDBIRTH:  Differing Cultural Perceptions       Childbirth

Article by Helen Akinc


Just as perceptions of what makes a home a home or what constitutes a weekend breakfast differ across cultures, so goes the perception of pain, especially the pain of childbirth. In some cultures, particularly in parts of Asia, how a woman handles labor pains reflects upon her family's honor-meaning that she is expected to be stoic and not complain too much lest an over-reaction bring shame upon the family. In other parts of the world, particularly in Mediterranean areas, the cultures tend to be more expressive and emotional which can be seen in a mother giving birth with clear and expressive communication of how she is feeling. In some western cultures, women want to be in total control during the birthing process. Some may see the pain management process (by epidural) as handing over control to the medical staff and are uncomfortable with that. Still others believe that pain management during labor makes the birthing process much more tolerable and allows them to experience and focus on the birth as opposed to the pain.


What is especially interesting about some of this is that the culture expectations seem to influence the actual perception of pain. An example of this is that in parts of India, women in labor report less pain than women in labor in the United States. A key factor is that the two different cultures approach pain very differently. This can be problematic when a woman needs pain management but is culturally prevented from doing so.


There are also very different settings for childbirth and the nature of the setting often dictates what is possible in terms of pain management. Many births take place at home and pain management is generally not possible there. In some countries, private hospitals offer pain management, whereas public hospitals do not. READ MORE. 

Keeping Kybele Afloat!       Afloat

Article by Helen Akinc

Much effort at Kybele goes toward making sure we have enough funds to support our current programs. We have two main sources of funding: grants and donations. We bring in some money through special events or merchandise sales, but by and large we depend on grants and donations for our survival.

Staff and volunteers regularly look for grant opportunities to help support Kybele operations. It takes a considerable amount of time to identify possible opportunities and then, because each grant process is different, data analysis usually has to be done to provide the kind of information required by the various organizations. In the current era of cutbacks, fewer grant opportunities are available and the competition is greater than in the past. We've learned about the importance of solid, meticulous data collection, both in terms of academic research as well as providing information to support strong grant applications. It all takes time and time is money and expertise.


Nonetheless, Kybele has done well in terms of obtaining grants. We are delighted whenever we find an opportunity for which Kybele can apply and are thrilled when we are actually awarded funds. We just recently received an award from IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain) to support our work to reduce pain and provide health care. We are waiting in anticipation for funding from a large grant. The second grant, if awarded, will support our work to design and implement an approach to establish a sustainable newborn care program in Ghana over the next four and a half years. We have other applications in process and welcome any suggestions or leads you may have to foundations or grant-awarding organizations.


We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the monthly donors and to all who donate throughout the year. The regular support of the monthly donors makes it possible for us to hire people to help us keep the operation going, to sift through data, organize the information we have, hire an experienced grant-writer at times and make it possible to apply for grants and organize teams of medical staff to conduct our programs. Grant money is almost always restricted and cannot be spent on administrative costs. Having a lean support staff makes it possible to collect and organize the data and people and communicate effectively. Without the support of the monthly donors we simply could not do nearly as much as we do. We thank you!


Join your colleagues today.MonthlyDonors
I Want To Support Kybele.
The following is a list of our current monthly donors.  We are sincerely grateful for their ongoing support.

Helen Akinc - Wake Forest University (Retired)
Terry Allen, MD - Duke University
Valerie Arkoosh, MD - University of Pennsylvania
Karen Bartoletti - Kybele Board Member
Curtis Baysinger, MD - Vanderbilt University
Sarah Bodin - Wake Forest University
Ferne Braveman, MD - Yale School of Medicine
Vicki Clark, MD - Royal Infirmary, Edinburg
Brittany Clyne, MD - Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants
Alaeldin Darwich, MD - NY Presbyterian Hospital
Camille Dunlap - Friend of Kybele
Pamela Flood, MD - University of CA, SF School of Medicine
Ron George, MD - Dalhousie University
Ashraf Habib, MD - Duke University
Amber and Matt Hatch, MD - Wake Forest University
Gillian Hilton, MD - Stanford University
Thomas Ivester, MD - UNC Chapel Hill
Frank James, MD - Wake Forest University (Retired)
Nancy Jenner - Friend of Kybele
Reana Kauser, MD -
Ku-Mie Kim, MD - Loyola University
Shannon Koontz - Piedmont Parent Magazine
Mikki Garris - Novant Health
Ellen Lockhart, MD - Washington Univ. School of Medicine
Virgil Manica, MD - Tufts Medical Center
Richard Month, MD - University of Pennsylvania
Holly Muir, MD - Duke University
Rodney Nash - Novant Health
Yemi Olufolabi, MD - Duke University
Medge Owen, MD - Wake Forest University
Rohit Ramaswamy, PhD - UNC Chapel Hill
Lauren Reavis, RN - Novant Health
Michael Rieker, CRNA - Wake Forest University
Marge Sedensky, MD - Seattle Children's Hospital
Robin Sizemore - Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc.
Richard Smiley, MD - Columbia University
Leigh Stanfield  - Wake Forest University
Sebnem Ucer - Ucer Business Services
Whanger, Kimber - WhangDoodles, Inc.

Names listed in BOLD indicate Kybele Board Members.
Kybele on the Move
MAY 18 - JUNE 1, 2013
Returning participants may contact  Medge Owen
Yemi Olufolabi to participate.


OCTOBER 5 - 19, 2013
Returning participants may contact Simon Millar
or Gordon Yuill to participate.


Returning participants may contact Ivan Velickovic
or Curtis Baysinger to participate. 


Returning participants may contact Marge Sedensky or Dennis Shay to participate.

APRIL 7 - 10 
All Africa Anesthesia Conference

APRIL 24 - 28
Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology Conference (SOAP) in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Kybele Fundraising Dinner and Boat Cruise in
San Juan, Puerto Rico

If you have any questions about upcoming programs,
you may contact Program Coordinator, Lynn Snyder.
Obstetrician Fiona Bryce (standing) and midwife Liz Floyd (mock patient), from Great Britain, conduct simulation training for midwifes in Ghana - January 2013.

Kudos and News Bits     Kudos 

  • The following 6 Kybele related scientific abstracts were submitted for review for the 2013 SOAP Conference.  We are thrilled that all 6 have been accepted - including one article for the best paper category!  Kudos to all the authors.
    • Regional Anesthesia for Caesarean Section in a Serbian Obstetric Hospital Before and After a Collaborative Teaching Program (Poster)
    • Measuring Performance of a Continuous Quality Improvement Program Designed to Reduce Maternal Mortality in a Regional Referral Institution in Ghana (Oral Presentation - Best Paper Session)
    • Development of Non-Web Based Maternity Database as a Quality Improvement Tool at Ridge Regional Hospital, Ghana (Poster)
    • First Nurse Anesthesia Bachelor's Degree Program in Africa:  A First on the Continent (Poster)
    • The Effect of Resource Improvement on the Decision-to-Delivery and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Time Intervals in a Low-Resource Setting (Poster - SOAP/Kybele International Outreach Grant)
    • Advancing Obstetric Anesthesia Practice in a Tertiary Care Maternity in Romania:  The Kybele Experience (Oral Presentation)   
  • Dr. Medge Owen recently received the Community Service Award from the Winston-Salem Chronicle Newspaper.  Click to read article.
  • 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 a board or staff member.       

We Thank The Following for Their Support    

SOAP Logo   WFSA Logo
Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology  |  The Obstetric Anaesthetists' Association     
The International Association for the Study of Pain  |  The Lacy Foundation  |  World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists

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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.  

Board of Directors


Medge Owen, MD

President & Founder

Helen Akinc  

VP Strategy & Newsletter Editor  

Margaret Sedensky, MD 

VP Program Development

Frank James, MD 


Holly Muir, MD


Karen Bartoletti 

Ronald George, MD 

Thomas Ivester, MD

Shannon Koontz 

Virgil Manica, MD

Yemi Olufolabi, MD

Rohit Ramaswamy, PhD  

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.
Kybele Logo 2   3524 Yadkinville Road #124 Winston-Salem, NC 27106