Photo by Adam Finkle

Pediatric urologist Catherine deVries sees patients at Salt Lake City’s Primary Children’s Hospital, but as president and founder of IVUmed, she sends doctors and urology residents around the world to train local medical professionals in countries with few resources.  

DeVries realized the need for more urologists in developing countries as a Stanford resident from her professor Don Laub, founder of Interplast, a nonprofit that offers reconstructive surgery for injuries and deformities to the world’s poor. 

“Everywhere they went to take care of cleft lips and palettes, they also found little kids who had genital abnormalities or congenital problems,” DeVries says. She helped kick off a short-lived genitourinary reconstruction program with Interplast. To continue the program, in 1994 DeVries started her own nonprofit, IVUmed, in Honduras and Vietnam. Today, it provides medical care to kids in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the West Bank in the Palestinian territories.

“When we started in Vietnam, they had done less than 80 pediatric urological operations—total—in the year we started,” she says. “Now, 20 years later, they not only do a full range of surgery serving all of South and Central Vietnam, but also have a teaching program of their own—it’s exactly what we hoped for.”

IVUmed’s impact, deVries says, is that it doesn’t simply provide care, then leave. Instead, the physicians build long-term relationships in the host countries. “When I think about my colleagues all over the world,” deVries says, “they really are like family.” 

Beyond IVUmed, deVries’ supports global healthcare in other ways. She is the director of the University of Utah Center for Global Surgery, a member of the Global Alliance for Elimination of Filariasis, a parasitic disease spread by flies and mosquitoes that can lead to blindness, and she shares her experiences with students as a professor of surgery at the University of Utah. When she needs to escape the world, she spends time with her husband Scott Lucas, caring for the animals at their ranch south of Evanston, Wyo.

Join IVUmed for A Round for Men’s Health golf tournament at Park City Golf Club on Aug. 1. Proceeds benefit men’s health awareness, research and surgical education. More info at ivumed.org

IVUmed’s Impact:

International reach - 30 countries
Doctors trained - 1,806
Specialities trained - urologists, anesthesiologists, gynecologists
Patients served in workshops - 5,820

Back>>>Read other stories in our July/August 2014 issue.