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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Urologist To Lead Medical Mission to Ghana

Francis Schneck, MD, clinical director of the Division of Pediatric Urology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, will lead a team of health care professionals on a medical mission to Kumasi, Ghana, Jan. 10 – 21, 2008.

This trip will mark Dr. Schneck’s third visit to Africa, where he and his team will conduct a “workshop,” training on-site medical staff, performing about 40 surgeries and seeing about as many additional patients. Health professionals in Ghana will determine which patients will be seen during the team’s visit.

Dr. Schneck’s group is part of IVUmed, (International Volunteers in Urology) a United States-based organization founded in 1995, whose mission is to make surgical care available to improve the lives of children in developing countries and to offer training to local physicians and nurses. To date, IVUmed has sent more than 175 medical missions to 20 countries. The visiting medical team brings practically all needed supplies and instruments with them to the site.

“The workshops make a five-year commitment to a country,” Dr. Schneck said. “It brings about a positive change that is hopefully lasting, and that’s one of the things I like about it. We’re training the doctors to carry on our work once we leave the site and, each time we return, we see that the local medical staff is able to do more than they had in the past.”

Dr. Schneck and his team last visited Ghana about a year ago.

In all, Dr. Schneck will lead a group of 10 people on the trip, seven of whom have ties to Children’s Hospital: He will be accompanied by his practice partner, Mark Bellinger, MD; two anesthesiologists; an operating room technician; a pediatric urology fellow and Dr. Bellinger’s wife, a nurse who will act as the group’s traveling secretary.

Dr. Schneck said that surgeries will range from moderate difficulty to complicated reconstructive procedures, such as bladder exstrophy surgery, where doctors repair a bladder and pelvis that are open at the time of birth. Dr. Schneck also said his team’s involvement will not end when they leave Ghana, noting that physicians will contact him throughout the year, seeking follow-up information as they help patients heal and recover.

“The most rewarding part for me is that by the end of the visit, we feel like we’ve made a lasting difference for children from the region who otherwise might not have received urological care,” Dr. Schneck said. “We have taught techniques that these doctors were not previously familiar with.”

Learn more about Dr. Schneck and Children’s Division of Pediatric Urology.



Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
April 23, 2008
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Last Update
April 23, 2008