Training physician-leaders for the rural poor in Africa


Global Perm NW is excited to be a partner of the University for Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

UGHE provides a valuable new pipeline to train much-needed physicians and health care administrators–but its mission is much bigger. It was founded with the goal of training a new generation of leaders to deliver health care to the most underserved populations in Africa. The main campus was deliberately located in one of the poorest districts of rural Rwanda with the aim of training graduates who understand the needs of the poor and whose careers will be framed by the goal of health justice. It’s an inspiring mission.

Due to the shortage of physicians in Africa, UGHE currently depends on foreign physicians to fill gaps and serve as volunteer clinical faculty. The expectation is that in a few years the graduates will be able to become faculty themselves.

Global Perm NW recruits physicians to help teach the amazing students at UGHE.

Building health care capacity in Rwanda


The University of Global Health Equity campus is located close to a rural district hospital which is being transformed into a teaching hospital that can provide more comprehensive health care for the community.

Global Perm NW is helping the hospital to set up critical care services for the sickest patients at the hospital. Lives will be saved. It will also elevate standards of care and create an enhanced training environment for the student physicians.

Our Global Perm NW team of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists has designed a comprehensive training program for the nurses. We are also helping to develop protocols, guidelines, and other tools to support high quality care. Training began in January 2024 with a group of 20 nurses, anesthetists, and physicians and will continue for 18 months.

“So many hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa are eager to increase their ability to help their sickest patients,” says David Schmidt, a critical care physician from Portland. “After 20 years as the medical director of ICUs in the US, and I am thrilled to be able to use those skills to help build critical care capacity in Africa.”

The novel curriculum that our team has crafted is designed around the background of the clinicians and the clinical setting. We expect to use the new resources at other hospitals in low-income countries and will make it freely available

Impacting Critical Care in Ethiopia


Ayder Hospital in Ethiopia is one of our partners. Ayder has several successful international partnerships, which are helping to advance the quality of care for the people of Ethiopia. Kaiser-Northwest doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, biomedical technicians, and others developed a successful partnership with the Ayder ICU. Over the course of 2+ years, these volunteers provided many hours of classroom and bedside training to over 60 nurses.

“This work has changed my life,” says Debbie Louis, a Clinical Nurse Specialist who retired from Kaiser. “Honestly, it’s tough to work in a resource-limited environment, but I am amazed and inspired by the resourcefulness and innovation of the staff at Ayder.”

They taught medical students and residents and provided mentoring for staff physicians. They provided advice in the development of several protocols of care.

The result was an improvement in the quality of care in the Ayder ICU. For example, there was a decrease in the deaths due to severe complications for women around the time of childbirth.

“As we learn from them and they learn from us, it is immensely rewarding to see improvements in patient care. But more than anything else, it’s our relationship with the Ayder staff that keeps me going back. They have embraced us, and their kindness and warmth have really touched me.”

  Global health begins at home.  Making an impact in Portland.


Global Perm NW has a partnership with Portland Street Medicine, a non-profit that works to provide basic medical services to the many people on the street. The needs are vast.

Skin and soft tissue injury and infections are a major problem in this population, and can sometimes have catastrophic complications like sepsis or amputations.  The innovative Skin & Soft Tissue Health and Education Program provides unhoused individuals with information and skills to care for themselves and for peers–with support from volunteer health professionals.  The model is inspired in part by community-based health programs in places like India and Peru.

How to clean

The project has generated a novel set of teaching materials designed specifically for the unhoused population and the most prevalent health problems they encounter. The materials include beautiful original illustrations and use language that is calibrated to the interests and background of this population.  Nothing like this existed before.

The program was launched in a spirit of cultural humility and has evolved in dialogue with unhoused people and by paying attention to what works and doesn’t work.  This project aligns with Global Perm NW’s goal of building healthcare capacity and listening to the voices of the community being served.  The work is being presented at conferences and has gained interest internationally.

Here is a summary of the amazing impact of the 3-year partnership between Global Perm NW and Portland Street Medicine.   

You can also check out this video produced by Portland Street Medicine.  Education and training has now become a core part of how PSM works.  It started with the skin and soft tissue project, and has now expanded to become the Community Health Education Program.


How to clean