Diasporian News of Wednesday, 10 January 2007

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Ghana Night at The Michigan Theater

Featuring the movie Emmanuel’s Gift, music, dance, Ghanaian food, and a silent auction.

Program sponsors and donors needed.

1 page $800

½ page $400

¼ page $200

Business card $100

Other donations welcome!

The International Rehabilitation Forum, a consortium of leaders from over 20 top academic medical rehabilitation programs including the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Ghana exists to build sustainable medical rehabilitation throughout the world. The IRF is a 401 (c) 3 tax exempt charity, Employer Identification Number (EIN) 20-3474422

The Ghana Medical Rehabilitation Group includes Ghanaians, health professionals, and others who are committed to building a model national rehabilitation program for that West African country. Based in Ann Arbor Michigan it is formally a subsidiary of the IRF.

Ghana is the ancestral home of many African Americans, a West African community rich in culture and tradition. Stable but very poor, it has no rehabilitation hospital, no rehabilitation doctors, and only a handful of therapists, nurses, and other allied health professionals to restore the life roles of persons disabled by AIDS, trauma, and birth defects.

Emmanuel’s Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey, is the true story of a Ghanaian amputee, award winning athlete, and friend of the IRF, who conquered stereotype by riding a bicycle across his country. Without charge, the producers and distributors of Emmanuel’s Gift allow IRF to raise funds through showing of their movie.

Proceeds will be used in GMRG efforts: To build a Ghana based training program for rehabilitation specialists including physicians, therapists, nurses, and other allied health professionals. To develop a rehabilitation hospital and clinics in Ghana. To catalyze sustainable rehabilitation businesses such as local wheelchair manufacture.

Send questions and digital images to Nicole Jorgensen, jorgensennicole@hotmail.com

Send checks and any print copy to:

The International Rehabilitation Forum

c/o Andrew J. Haig, M.D 3316 The Glade Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Why the International Rehabilitation Forum?

The world cannot afford to lose the productivity and creativity of the 10% of its inhabitants who have a medical disability. Victims of war, natural disasters, and diseases ranging from AIDS to childhood illness do not just simply die, nor do doctors always cure them. Many are left with amputation, spinal cord injury, weakness, contractures, and other disabling neurological and orthopedic conditions.

Medical Rehabilitation is proven cost-effective in helping these people regain their roles in society. It’s just not available in most parts of the world.

Who is the IRF?

In April of 2004, representatives of 20 major academic rehabilitation programs committed to working together to build sustainable medical rehabilitation where it is lacking. We formed the not-for-profit International Rehabilitation Forum, along with the University of Michigan based International Rehabilitation Leadership Program. Since then numerous academics and non-academic professionals, volunteers, and expatriates from the countries we serve, have worked with IRF to accomplish our goals.

What does the IRF do?

We build sustainable medical rehabilitation programs where they do not exist. IRF acts as an intelligent catalyst, rather than a volunteer organization. We do things our partner universities can’t do—like raise funds and give seed grants to other people. We act as a platform or tool for our colleagues who need help on smaller projects.

The IRF has built an inpatient rehabilitation facility in Pune, India. We edited a special edition of a medical journal to feature researchers in developing world rehabilitation. We’ve distributed rehabilitation texts to 3rd world physical therapy students. In Michigan our major focus is the Ghana Medical Rehabilitation Group.

What is the Ghana Medical Rehabilitation Group?

Ghana is a very poor, but stable country in West Africa-rich in culture and the ancestral home of many African Americans. With no rehabilitation hospital, no rehabilitation doctors, and almost no rehabilitation therapists, it’s the kind of place where a simple amputation means starvation or begging in the streets. A group of Ghanaian expatriates, Michigan health professionals, and the University of Ghana school of Allied Health have committed to building a national program for sustainable medical rehabilitation through the GMRG. The GMRG plans, networks with other groups who share our goals, and raises funds for this ambitious project. Not-for-profit under the auspices of the IRF, the GMRG operates under informally elected officers via monthly meetings.

Contact IRF president Andrew J. Haig, M.D. andyhaig@umich.edu or GMRG President Edith Mensah-Osman, M.D., Ph.D., akua@umich.edu, for more information.