Introductory statement

 

The Global Health Committee of KAMA was established in 2011 to help meet the growing needs of the Korean-American physicians and surgeons with passion for serving the health needs of those less privileged by providing a platform for serving alongside each other.

The committee’s mission is to improve the health of the poor and the neglected by strengthening the healthcare systems alongside the local stakeholders while vigorously maintaining the core values of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence.

 

Kee B. Park MD
Chair,
Global Health Committee
KAMA

KAMA Global Health Projects

1.DPRK

By working directly with the DPRK Medical Association, KAMA supports health system strengthening in DPRK. Two trips are scheduled each year with opportunities for physicians, surgeons, dentists, nurses, and other medical professionals and students to establish relationships with DPRK colleagues.
Those that are interested in joining may contact KAMA at info@kama.org

2.Global Medical Missions Alliance

KAMA doctors and students have access to various mission trips organized by the GMMA. You may visit www.gmma7.org for more information

3.Mending Kids and KAMA Global Health student internship

Medical students may apply to travel with Mending Kids surgical trips and complete a global health project. Financial support is available. Contact KAMA at info@KAMA.org

4.Vision Care USA

For your information, our website is www.visioncareusa.org,

and our Facebook link is as follows:

Vision Care USA Facebook

Reflections on Spring 2016 KAMA Trip to North Korea

Sharon Kim
University of Pennsylvania, 2017

With combined interest in Korean culture and global health, I had the opportunity to join the KAMA North Korea trip. The conditioned I witnessed was in sharp contrast to what I was used to. It revealed a country struggling to maintain a health system that was challenged in many ways.
Yet, despite the resource-limited conditions, I was extremely touched by the amount of dedication, perseverance, and heart the North Korean medical teams have for their patients. They are clever and ingenious in finding ways to care for their patients using low-technology methods. For instance, instead of using CT scans to diagnose intracranial bleeds, North Korean doctors would tap patients’ skulls to detect a difference in the sounds between the two hemispheres of the brain. North Korean medical doctors and scientists are also incredibly inquisitive about medical research, as they asked many questions on my research experiments during the annual medical conference and expressed interest in contributing to international academic journals.
Outside of the clinic, I learned tremendously by merely sitting in meetings the KAMA team had with members of North Korea’s Ministry of Public Health. While medical conferences, joint-surgeries, and medical supplies and equipment are indeed helpful, they are aiming for long-term solutions through the strengthening of surgical capacity at the county level.
But beyond the realm of global health and Korean culture, my first trip to the Korean peninsula significantly shaped my philosophy to understand more deeply the educational value of interaction and travel. I walked away with a stronger understanding of how a nation’s political, economic, and social infrastructure can impact all walks of life, including healthcare. And thus, it is all the more imperative for people of all fields to learn from each other and work cooperatively toward a similar goal.
I will never forget the time I connected with a North Korean medical resident over bittersweet pre-medical student life or the time when North Korean doctors sentimentally shared photos of their family, or the time I saw a cheerful crowd of North Korean youngsters gathering to take a photo outside a lively department store. They are no different from anyone else. I would see North Korean children crying whenever their parents departed or let go of their hand, just as any other child would. At the end of the day, whether we are North Korean, South Korean, or Korean-American situated inevitably in different frameworks, we are all the same people with essential rights to health and happiness.
I chose to walk away from this experience looking at the glass half full.
Despite its many imperfections, North Korea is a nation holding steadfast and confident in its many achievements, as evident in its booming construction cranes, new and astonishing Science and Technology Complex, refined airport, growing number of cars and taxies, incomparable caliber in fine arts, and bustling streets of its rather impressive downtown. If they are able to achieve that much in those areas, I can only be excited and hopeful for North Korea’s potential in improving the healthcare landscape.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
– John Dewey