Archive for March, 2013

March 2013

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Mid-Term Exams
Dear Friends,
It has been a very intense month that lead up to mid-term semester exams. I am so thankful to be able to tell you that all went well and I am in good shape to finish out the last half of the semester. We still have one more mid-term exam that we will take on Monday, March 18th covering radiology. It will be over ordering and interpreting x-rays mainly, but also including a little over MRIs, CT-scans and ultrasounds.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! Every day I am tempted to focus on the mountain instead of our mountain-moving God. I have to make sure that I am focusing on Him with eyes of faith and not on the “what ifs” that come from my doubting human nature. It’s a matter of submission.

Hispanic Immigrants and Barriers to Health
As you know, I’ve been working on my Master’s Project which is entitled “Diabetes Prevalence and Barriers to Healthcare of Hispanic Immigrants in the US.”

Here’s a sampling. Studies have shown that diabetes prevalence among Hispanic immigrants increases significantly in the first 10 years of residency in the US. This creates an urgency to help recently arrived immigrants have access to primary healthcare, health promotion and disease prevention, as quickly as possible after they arrive.

Unfortunately, there exist very real barriers to immigrants receiving this care, such as gaps in health literacy, language and cultural barriers, and financial and logistical challenges.

For example, many of the Hispanic immigrants we have encountered are extremely dedicated workers who never miss an opportunity to work. Many work more than one job and are saving as much of their paycheck as possible to send back to the family in their country of origin. As a result, it is often difficult for them to make a commitment to see the doctor if it means missing work. Often we are asking them to come see a healthcare provider, then return for lab work, then return again to meet with the dietician for nutrition counsel. Diabetics often have co-existing health issues like foot pain (peripheral neuropathy) and eye disease (retinopathy). We often want them to see a podiatrist and an optometrist as well. That’s asking a lot out of them. If someone has to bring them due to transportation issues, it even complicates it further.

One approach that has proven to be beneficial both at Mercy Medical clinic and in the literature is synchronizing regular medical provider visits with specialty visits. For example, at Mercy we have had a once-monthly diabetes clinic where patients can come and see the doctor about their diabetes, see a dietitian for nutrition counseling, a podiatrist and ophthalmologist who have all donated the same morning. The success rate of treatment increases with this approach.

We also have made an effort to have interpreters and material in both English and Spanish available for our patients. Some of our nutrition information takes traditional Mexican dishes and provides healthier, diabetic-friendly recipes to the dishes.

One of my recommendations for addressing these needs will not surprise you. According to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, after full implementation of the healthcare reform act “there may be as many as 26 million people who are still without access to health insurance.”  Free Clinics that are started and supported by the private sector have a significant role in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable populations, especially those immigrants who do not qualify for government assisted healthcare options. Free Clinics are a key factor to this particular population receiving appropriate care that might help them avoid the catastrophic results of unrecognized and uncontrolled diabetes as well as dramatically lowering healthcare costs for all.

Financial Update
We had to replace my computer in February when my old one “burned up,” using the words of the repair tech. He said the motherboard was actually scorched black. I guess that proves that I’ve been studying a lot! I’m hoping my brain circuits avoid a similar demise. So, our expenses in February were up a bit, but we are grateful as always to God’s generous provision. Thank you again for sharing this journey with us.

Prayer Pointers for March 2013
♦ Praise God for His grace that carried me through the mid-term exams and in finishing the Master’s Project research paper!
♦ Pray for continued good stewardship of each hour as we move forward with the last half of the semester, and as I prepare the Master’s Project poster and present it to our faculty in April.

Family Update
Diane continues to keep our house a home. I am so grateful for her dedication to our family and support, especially with me absent so much right now.
Tyler is doing well with his job and was recently given some extra responsibilities of customer care.
Emily just finished Anatomy and is starting Physiology in her pre-occupational therapy program. She is doing great with her grades and balancing a part-time job and volunteering at church.
Abbey is doing well in high school and is playing on a club volleyball team, as well as babysitting and serving in the church nursery.

Thank you for your faithful encouragement and friendship! We are eternally grateful.
In Christian love,
Chris & family

A Note from Team Expansion’s President
Dear Prayer Partner,
It’s not often you have the chance to pray “live” with your favorite Team Expansion worker, no matter where he or she is in the world. But that’s exactly what’s happening on April 17, 2013. Join the “Global PrayerCast” that night at 8:30pm (EDT), 7:30pm (CDT). It will be streamed from Overland Park, KS, “live” to the entire planet. To learn more, watch the 3-minute video at www.U4theU.com and keep watching that site for more instructions and the link. Workers and groups will be praying “live” from points all over the planet. Make it an event for your church or group. You’re invited! Want to volunteer to pray on the broadcast? If so, just email me at DLucas@TeamExpansion.org and make the subject, “Global PrayerCast: I’m in.” Thanks, and hope to see you on the PrayerCast!
Doug Lucas
President, Team Expansion
(but the PrayerCast is not merely a Team Expansion event; it’s global)