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 Comments or suggestions about our newsletter?  Contact Editor, Helen Akinc.   

Message from the President      


Thank you for taking time out of your busy summer to read our newsletter. In the past quarter, I've become even more aware how many lives Kybele intersects on so many different levels!  


L to R:  Kathi Barnhill, Joe Jowers, and Walidah Muhammad at the Toronto International Film Festival Building during the Kybele dinner at SOAP. 
I'm thrilled with the work done by Wake Forest University's documentary film program on the release of "Frivolous Things". The 30 minute film accurately captures the struggle to improve newborn care and survival in a hospital setting in Ghana. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival Building during the 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesiology and Perinatology. Kathi Barnhill, Joe Jowers, and Walidah Muhammad spent long  hours and sleepless nights sifting through six weeks' worth of video to put together a polished, professional product that earned them a master's degree in documentary film. I wish to express our sincere thanks to them, because a real life story is worth a thousand words when describing the nature of our work.

We look forward to the U.S. premier of the film in Winston-Salem, during Bow Ties & BBQ on August 15 at the Old Salem Visitors Center. This special event will also feature the band the "Red Road Healers" with Kybele volunteer Mario Rojas, director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Forsyth Medical Center. If you are in the Winston-Salem vicinity, please come, it is sure to be a fantastic summer evening of film, music and barbeque!  See details below. 


The newsletter also intersects lives from Turkey and Ghana, with the recent travel of Abigail Osei Tutu from Accra to Istanbul. Turkey was Kybele's country of origin, and no one is more deserving than Abigail to visit Kybele friends and sites of ancient history as a "thank you" for years of dedication and hard work. The spirit of humility and team work is glue that strengthens our ties and improves healthcare, no matter one's role within the organization. Thank you Abigail, and thank you friends and supporters of Kybele, for all that your do in fulfilling our mission and vision.

2014 Kybele Dinner  - Toronto, Canada
Click to View Images from the 2014 Kybele Dinner at SOAP Conference - Toronto, Canada Photos courtesy of Kathi Barnhill, Joe Jowers, Walidah Muhammad.  Compiled by Kimber Whanger.

With appreciation, 

Medge Owen Sig 

Medge D. Owen, M.D., President - Kybele, Inc.

Professor of Obstetric Anesthesia - Director of Maternal and Infant Global Health Programs

Wake Forest University School of Medicine  |  336.718.8278  | 

Kybele warmly invites you to attend this special fundraising event at the beautiful Old Salem Visitors Center.  As part of the evening's festivities, Kybele will proudly present "Frivolous Things", a
documentary that features Winston-Salem based medical personnel from Forsyth Medical Center, Wake Forest University and other North Carolina hospitals.  Read more details about the event below.

And because we are presenting the US premiere of "Frivolous Things",
Kybele wants to see your best "going to the movies" bow tie.

Men, show off your most colorful, fancy, sophisticated, ridiculous, one-of-a-kind, handmade or store-bought bow tie.  Ladies, think bows in your hair, on your wrist or ankle, around your neck or waist.  Location's irrelevant as long as you're showing off your tidiest tied bows!  Prizes will be awarded for the best bow ties worn.  Don't own a bow tie?  No worries.  We will have some available at our merchandise table during the event.  Get creative!
Please join us for a  fabulous evening of fun to support a great cause.  

$60 per person.  Individual and Table Sponsorships available.

The Red Road Healers             

Red Road Healers.  Photo courtesy of Muddy Creek Cafe, Winston-Salem.
Kybele is pleased to have  the "Red Road Healers" play at our August 15th fundraising event.  The local band includes 3 physicians (neonatologists) and plays a mixture of folk, rock, Americana/country music with songs that range from the 1950's to the present time.  They also play original music from a recently Nashville produced album by band member and Kybele volunteer, Dr. Mario Rojas.  The name "Red Road Healers" is derived from a Native American symbol of healing and prosperity "the red road", as opposed to "the black road" that symbolizes pain and suffering.  We think they are the perfect addition to our event.  You won't want to miss them! 

Abigail Goes to Turkey            

Abigail Osei Tutu 
Our dear friend from the Ghana Health Service, Abigail Osei Tutu, recently visited Turkey with Medge Owen as a "thank you" for her years of hard work and dedication with Kybele.

Many of us have come to know and love Abigail's culinary skills, but behind the scenes she does a lot more than cook.

She has become the "Logistics Director" for Kybele-PATH; she helps organize trainings, arranges housing and settles accounts. We will depend on her even more in the coming years as we launch training activities in other regional hospitals throughout Ghana.


Abigail began assisting Kybele in 2007, as manager of the Ghana Health Service guest house, where we stay and share meals. She has made friendships throughout the organization from Canada, the United States, England, Germany and Turkey. It was the connection to Turkey that led to her first trip abroad. We owe a big thank you to the Turkish consulate in Accra, who facilitated her visa with typical Turkish hospitality.

Abigail in Turkey 

While in Turkey, Abigail visited with Turgay Aytac, Julie Jenner,

Jozy Unal, Yesim Unal and Aziz Celebi, all who have visited Ghana over the years with Kybele.  


The trip started in Istanbul, touring the magnificent historic sites of Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque, and the Istanbul Archeological Museum.  Treasures were discovered in the centuries old grand bazaar, Kapali Carsi, and the Egyptian Spice Market,

Misir Carsisi, where Abigail displayed her keen bartering skills. The Turks were no match for Abigail as she drove down the price on just about everything! We visited friends in Bursa, where Medge lived part-time from 1997 to 2001, and Abigail had an "authentic" experience in a Turkish bath.  


While in Bursa, Abigail enjoyed sampling her first cherries straight off the tree. She passed the test as food adventurer, trying a vast array of local dishes and spices, unique to her palate. Finally, she visited Kusadasa, near Izmir on the Aegean coast. Abigail toured the ancient city of Ephesus (of significant Biblical importance) and the
site where Mary, Jesus' mother, was thought to have lived her final years. She also saw processes through which Turkish ceramics and carpets are made and a fashion show of Turkish leather goods.


The journey was memorable and life changing for Abigail, as it should be, for she has certainly helped change and enhance our lives and work in Ghana. Thank you Abigail! 


Abigail's trip was privately funded and not part of Kybele's operating budget.

Re-Cap of the 2014 SOAP Conference in Toronto, Canada             

Every year in the spring Kybele looks forward to attending the annual Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) Conference and this year was no exception.  In addition to planning for the big Kybele dinner and documentary film event that week, Kybele Staff members Sebnem Ucer and Kimber Whanger packed their airline luggage and Kimber's mini-van to the hilt with Kybele merchandise from all over the globe to display during the week-long conference.  SOAP members enjoyed seeing what new things we had to offer and supported us heartily with merchandise purchases.  2014 marked the largest year for SOAP sales. We even had to solicit help from Medge and Kimber's daughters at the Kybele table because we were so busy at times.  The hospitality of the SOAP administrative staff was excellent and we look forward to seeing all of you again next spring in Colorado Springs, CO. 

And speaking of merchandise....if you are attending "Bow Ties & BBQ", you too will get a chance to peruse the newest items of Kybele merchandise at the Old Salem Visitor's Center.

Grant Updates            

PATH: Kybele is wrapping up the first year activities of the Making Every Baby Count Initiative in partnership with PATH. This project at Ridge Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana works to improve clinical practices, quality improvement, and leadership development. Tremendous progress was made in these three areas and Kybele is are now making plans for the second year, which will include expansion into a second regional hospital.


SOAP and IASP: $10,000 funding was received from the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology and another $10,000 was received from the International Association for the Study of Pain's Developing Countries Project Initiative for Improving Pain Education, continuing our long partnership with both of these groups. The funding will be used for the training programs in Armenia, Serbia, and Ghana.


Data for Life: Kybele applied for private foundation funding through the Whole New World Foundation's Data for Life $50,000 award to implement a scientific study of a package of locally-tailored NICU infection-control interventions in Ghana.

Kreating Change:  Why Kybele Memberships and Donors are Vital.           


Kybele has enjoyed rapid growth and program success in recent years.  We are very grateful for the support of our individual contributors and monthly donors.  However, with rapid growth comes the need to be able to pay for expanding programs, staff, resource materials, and training.   
As a Kybele "member", you are making a commitment to Kybele with a small yearly membership fee that will enable us to sustain the growth of the organization.  Kybele membership is open to anyone - medical, non-medical, students, community and family members - anyone who wants to support women and infant care in developing countries.

A Kybele Membership of $60 USD per calendar year will be required to participate on a Kybele trip beginning in 2014. Current monthly donors and individuals making an annual contribution of more than $60 are already included as Kybele members.  This nominal yearly membership fee allows interested individuals to receive the following benefits of Kybele membership: 
  • Quarterly E-Newsletter and notices of events 
  • 10% discount on Kybele Merchandise
  • Name listed on the Kybele website
  • Certificate of Membership to display

MONTHLY DONORS - Ideally, everyone involved in Kybele becomes a monthly donor.  Monthly donors are individuals with a dedicated, long-term interest in Kybele's work.  Monthly donors give an ongoing, automatically deducted monthly gift of either $10, $25, $50, $75, or $100 per month to the organization.  The process is easy and allows Kybele to best plan ahead. 

One-time donors give financial gifts at various times of the year in any amount.  The average gift is between $50 - $200.  These donations are often unexpected and very appreciated but cannot be planned for in budgeting. 

Kybele Members pay a yearly flat membership fee of $60 to show their support of the organization and receive the benefits listed above.  Kybele memberships help cover the costs of administrative and program expenses and like monthly donors, allows Kybele to plan ahead.  Kybele memberships are a perfect first step to supporting the organization. 

Yes!  I'm ready to show my support.  I would like to become a Kybele Member.

(Please be sure to fill out your name, email, phone and address so that we can properly contact you for questions and recognition.  Thank you for your support.) 

Upcoming Medical Programs      

The following Kybele medical programs are scheduled
for this Fall.  Click for more info

- September 20 - October 4, 2014

GHANA - January 18 - January 31, 2015

ARMENIA - September 27 - October 11, 2014

SERBIA - September 17 - 27, 2014

We Thank The Following for Their Support    support 

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

Quick Links    quicklinks


Calendar of Events 


Make a Donation


 Published Research 


 Press Releases










 Overview of Our Work


Read Past eNewsletters


Contact Us 

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.


Bow Ties & BBQ 

Winston-Salem, NC  

6:00 - 10:00 pm 

Board of Directors


Medge Owen, MD

President & Founder

Helen Akinc  

VP Strategy & Newsletter Editor  

Frank James, MD 


Holly Muir, MD




Ronald George, MD 

Shannon Koontz 

Virgil Manica, MD

Yemi Olufolabi, MD

Rohit Ramaswamy, PhD  

Michael Rieker, CRNA

Melvin Seid, MD    

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