WHA logoWorld Health Ambassador
Spring 2009

I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying the early days of spring!
At WHA, this spring has brought with it an energetic, new executive team and new administrative support.  As described below, a lot is happening at WHA and with your continued support we are looking forward to another productive year!
In This Edition
2008 Mission to Laos: A Job Well Done!
Biloxi Health Fair: April 19
WHA in Dallas and Houston: May 2
2009 Mission Planning Underway
WHA Mission to Laos
More than 1500 patients served
Laos Mission MembersIn November 2008, World Health Ambassador successfully completed another international medical and dental mission - this time in the beautiful nation of Lao PDR.  The 33-member team was the largest and most diverse team fielded to date - in regards to professional backgrounds as well as ethnicities and localities.  This truly international mission included a dental team from Vietnam and physician and dental teams from the Lao Ministry of Health.  Member's medical specialties included family medicine, internal medicine, family practice, cardiology, infectious disease, and pulmonary critical care.  Despite the diversity, the team bonded tightly and worked as a cohesive unit.
With wonderful assistance from the Lao Embassy in the United States, the WHA team arrived in Lao on schedule and went to work the next morning.  We saw more than 1500 patients and filled approximately 5,000 prescriptions in 3 major parts of the country - Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Vang Vieng.  Our host country allowed us to provide care in a wide range of clinical settings and thus gave us a broad view of the Lao health care system.  Our first stop was the Mahosot Hospital and School of Medicine, the largest medical teaching facility in the capital city of Vientiane.  Here the WHA program donated valuable life-saving medical equipment, such as ventilators and ICU monitors, as well as an impressive amount of medication to the people of Laos.  The team went on to treat patients at the provincial clinic in Vang Vieng and the government-operated orphanage in Luang Prabang.  The team also traveled by canoes and small open-air trucks to reach villages across the mighty Mekong River, far up the winding mountains of a peaceful Luang Prabang, along colorful monastery-lined countryside where the minority Montagnard people live.  Our venues were as diverse as the patient populations that we served.  Thanks to the generosity of philanthropists from home, we were able to render advanced dental and medical services such as complete restorative dental surgery, monitoring cardiac telemetry and performing chemistry analysis for the people of Laos.
This was by far the most physically rigorous and mentally challenging mission to date - as agreed by all new and veteran team members of WHA.  The success of this enormous endeavor resulted from the tremendous hard work, amazing camaraderie, fearless attitudes and genuine hearts of our team members.  We left Laos with beautiful memories, new friendships, and inspiration to continue our passion to treat those less fortunate. 
For more stories, poems and pictures from the Laos mission, please visit our website at www.whausa.org.
WHA Volunteers at Biloxi Health Fair WHA Volunteers

WHA volunteers will participate in a Health Fair in Biloxi, Mississippi on April 19, 2009.  The volunteer team will be led by Dr. Thang Ba Pham, WHA Dental Team Coordinator.
Organized by Asian Americans for Change, this second annual Health Fair aims to increase health awareness through education and prevention.  Basic health screenings will be provided and a variety of informational booths will be displayed to educate the community about the health-related programs, services, and providers located in the Biloxi area.
WHA's informational booth will provide information about the WHA program and the WHA volunteers will offer free dental screenings for adults and children.  The Health Fair will be held at the Biloxi Community Center, 591 Howard Avenue in Biloxi, from 11am-5pm.
Upcoming Events in Texas 
Volunteer at WHA FundraiserOn May 2, 2009, the WHA will sponsor an informational booth at the 19th Annual State Farm Asian Festival in Dallas, Texas.  The festival will take place at the City Hall Plaza, 1500 Marilla Street in Dallas, from 11am-5pm.  Come out to learn more about our program and to meet WHA team members!
Also on May 2, a group of WHA officers will travel to Houston for a private fundraiser hosted by a local WHA donor.  The generous invitation to host this event resulted from WHA's participation in a February 2009 fundraiser for the Vietnamese American Medical Association in the Greater Houston area. 
WHA members in the Houston area who may be able to provide assistance to the WHA officers during their visit are welcome to contact WHA at worldhealthambassador@yahoo.com
2009 Mission Update

Preparations are underway for a WHA mission to Southeast Asia in November 2009.  Three potential sites are currently under consideration--two in Vietnam and one in Laos.  This purely educational mission, a first for WHA, will focus on  the immediate training of medical professionals while simultaneously initiating a long-term project to create a Family Practice residency program in the destination city .
In conjunction with this mission, WHA would like to identify a university in the United States with a Family Practice residency program for potential partnership with WHA on this long-term project.  If you could be of assistance in this regard, please contact WHA at worldhealthambassador@yahoo.com.

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Thank you for your continued support of the WHA.  Suffering is less when you are there to help.

Thien Do, MD
World Health Ambassador
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