Category Archives: International Health

Many young women mistakenly believe HPV vaccine protects against STDs

Reuters reports on a study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, which found that some young women who have received the HPV vaccine believe that it protects them against STDs such as syphilis and gonorrhea, and indicates that greater education efforts may be necessary. Continue reading

Is the US infant mortality ranking “shameful”? I say, “no,” but here’s the debate:

Of the over 2000 blogs I’ve posted, one of the most popular was Health Myth #1: “The U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world.”. Now, in an editorial, USA Today points out that the US has now dropped “to 41st worldwide in newborn death rates.” Is it really that bad here? Continue reading

Interview: Dr. Walt Says Opportunities Abound To Bring Faith Into Medicine

Here’s an interview with me, from HCJB Global, about my teaching time at a large international medical conference in Quito, Ecuador, last month. Continue reading

Dr. Walt Teaches “Spirituality Plays Key Role” at Annual Medical Conference in Ecuator

Last month Barb and I were privileged to travel to Quito, Equator to participate in a medical mission trip and for me to teach at a large international medical conference. Here’s an article from HCJB Global about my teaching and the conference: Continue reading

Books for those considering the mission field (or praying for missionaries)

My dear friend, John McVay, who is the Chief of Staff at the In His Image Family Medicine Residency and also directs their Medical Missions Program wrote me to say:

I am writing to ask if you would spread the word about the new missions books listed below. The first one I helped put together last spring after ten years of gathering answers.  Perspectives co-editor Steve Hawthorne wrote: “The Ask a Missionary book is like having a dozen missionary friends at your side, coaching you with kindness and clarity. Who knew wisdom could be so encouraging?”

The second book, Where There Was No Church, is by an interagency team that includes an old friend of mine.

And the third book, Operation World, was completely revised recently.

I would add, please forwarding this to others interested in global missions.

1) Ask a Missionary: Time-Tested Answers from Those Who’ve Been There


If you are exploring doing something extraordinary for the glory of God among the nations, Ask a Missionary will give clarity and answers for a journey into missions. Because they have “been there,” over one hundred missionaries from around the world, including Elisabeth Elliot, George Verwer, Phyllis Kilbourn, and Bill Stearns, share their insightful wisdom and practical advice on everything from making the decision to go, to stepping into a new culture, and everything in between.

  • How can I know if God is leading me to become a missionary?
  • How do I select a mission organization?
  • What type of academic or practical training should I consider?
  • How will I be funded?

To order or learn more click here.

2) Where There Was No Church


This book brings together stories that show what God is doing through his people among Muslims, and brings to life fruitful practices that have helped followers of Jesus invite Muslims to follow him, too. The principles illustrated through the stories will also be of value to anyone living among other peoples where there is no church.

Questions for reflection are included with each chapter to help the reader further his or her understanding of the chapter, or to use in group study. According to Dr. J. Dudley Woodberry, noted Islamic scholar and Dean Emeritus of the School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, “This compilation of true stories is a must read for all who want to learn from the experiences of others. Chapter titles include:

  • Not a Foreign Message
  • Couscous on Sunday
  • Meeting the Savior through the Quran
  • Desperate Enough to Pray
  • The Messiah Is Not a Liar
  • Stoking the Home Fire
  • Uncle, Is It True?

To order or learn more click here.

3) Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation (Completely Updated 2010)


When you hear a country mentioned in the news or in a conversation and you want to more about it and what God is doing there – this book is the definitive global prayer handbook.

With over a million copies of past versions being sold, this all new 7th edition has been completely updated and revised by Jason Mandryk and covers every country in the world, from the largest to the smallest.

Whether you are an intercessor praying behind the scenes for world change, a sender, or an aspiring missionary, Operation World will give you the information necessary to be a vital part in fulfilling God’s passion for the nations:

  • All the countries of the world featured
  • Maps of each country
  • Geographic information
  • People groups within each country
  • Economic information
  • Political information
  • Religious make-up of each country
  • Answers to prayer
  • Challenges for prayer
  • Persecution index

To order or learn more, click here.

Mission Ethiopia

This blog will be silent from today until Wednesday, January 27. Why? Because Barb and I will be serving on a medical mission trip to Ethiopia. It’s been three years since my last overseas mission trips (to China and Iran), and I’m excited about this opportunity to serve overseas once again — and especially excited to be sharing this adventure with Barb.

The trip is being led by my friend, Bob Cornuke, called the “Christian Indiana Jones.” You can read more about his work and ministry here. In fact, my 2006 trip to Iran was with Bob when we traveled together to look for the remains of Noah’s Ark high up on Mount Suleiman in Northern Iran (you can read about that trip here). As an aside, Bob and Col. Oliver North are currently on Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, filming a special on Bob’s discovery of the anchors from St. Paul’s shipwreck (you can read about it here).

For many years, Bob has traveled to Ethiopia in search of the Ark of the Covenant (you can read about that here). During this trip he has fallen in love with the country, and in particular the widows and orphans. To that end, Bob and his wife, Terry, have sponsored an orphanage in Ethiopia, and we are headed to Ethiopia on a medical mission to a very special and needy group of women and orphans.

Here’s our itinerary for the next ten days. It should be an adventure, indeed:

Sat, Jan 16: Drive to Denver, fly to Washington’s Dulles Airport, depart from Dulles this evening.

Sun, Jan 17: Flying all day. Arrive Addis Ababa late in the day.

Mon, Jan 18: After breakfast we fly to Axum. The legends narrated in the Kebra Nagast (“Book of Kings”) recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th century B.C. was already the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. And, late in the morning we’ll visit the ruins of Queen of Sheba’s Palace and exotic tombs of former kings, an ancient hilltop church, plus a mysterious lion’s head dating back to the Knights Templar. In addition we visit the version of the “Rosetta Stone” of the Axumite Kingdom and visit some newly-uncovered archeological sites and recently-opened tombs. We will have an opportunity to visit with the administrator of St. Mary’s Church to discuss the Ark of the Covenant and the significance of its keeping it safe and see the crowns of Ethiopian Kings and other treasures. This afternoon and evening we’ll have the opportunity to serve at a medical clinic.

Tues, Jan 19: Early morning we’ll participate in the “Mihila,” a special gathering for prayers around St. Mary of Zion. We will see the masses of people all wearing white gauze clothing and clustered on the hills overlooking the pool of Sheba — at the head of the ceremonial grounds. The morning music will be heard early as we enjoy the sites and sounds over breakfast. Then it is down the mountain to join in the festivities of the Timket Festival!  This afternoon we’ll spend time ministering at the Christian orphanage sponsored by Bob and Terry.

Wed, Jan 20: After breakfast we fly to Lalibela, the “New Jerusalem.” On our way to Lalibela, weather and time permitting, we will fly over the amazing Danakil Depression. Once there we’ll visit the amazing underground monolithic churches, which were hewn completely out of pink granite rock in the 12th century, and considered one of the wonders of the world. The Ethiopians believe that they play a part in the second coming of our Lord.

Thu, Jan 21: At Lalibela we’ll minister in a unique village situation. This afternoon we fly to Gondar, the first capital city of the Ethiopian empire. We’ll visit the church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior is decorated with beautiful frescos. There are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city is said to be more European than African and also has Islamic influences. In the afternoon, we will visit the palaces, residences, and baths of Fasilidas. We will visit the church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity), which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. The interior is decorated with beautiful frescos. Gondar was once the home of the highly publicized Falasha’s.  The Falasha’s was one of the Tribes of Israel that were moved to Israel in the last 2 decades.

Fri, Jan 22: Today we travel from Gondar to Bahir Dar. On the way we’ll we visit the thundering Blue Nile Falls, which is locally known as Tissat Falls — 100 meters wide, the water plunges for 45 meters and gives trise to steam clouds and rainbows. We’ll cross the Blue Nile in papyrus boats. We’ll overnight at Lake Tana.

Sat, Jan 23: Today we’ll visit several islands on Lake Tana, including Tana Kirkos — the island that held the Ark of the Covenant for many years. On the islands we’ll be attending a number of medical clinics that serve the monks. We’ll also be visiting the islands where Nargo Silassie and Ura Kidane Mihret Monastaries are located. And, Bob has made special arrangements with the monks to have artifacts from the monastery brought out for viewing.

Sun, Jan 24: This morning, we’ll worship with Ethiopian Christians, then visit local craftsmen. Then it’s off to Addis Ababa for a city tour of Addis, visiting the National Museum, known to be the best museum in Africa, where cultural and archeological relics, including a plaster cast of “Lucy,” the 3.2 skeleton of the “Hominid” is on display. Late today we head to the airport and depart for home.

Mon, Jan 25: Arrive Home.

Should be the trip of a lifetime, and we feel honored and privileged to be called to serve some of the medical needs while traveling — and also to see some amazing sights.

You think practicing medicine in the U.S. is tough? I hope you’ll pray for these missionaries.

A long-time friend who is a medical missionary has sent me a note from a colleague, Dr. Greg Shank, an Adventist missionary surgeon who, with his internist wife, Audrey, staff a bush hospital in remote northern Cameroon. As you read of their difficult work, consider praying for them, and, maybe, sending a note of encouragement. Continue reading

Health Myth #1: “The U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world.”

This is the first in a series of commonly reported, and even more commonly believed, health myths. This series is based upon the research from Fox News analyst James Farrell.

More Information: Continue reading

A Vaccine for the H1N1 Swine Flu: The Race is On — And What it May Mean for You

The U.S. is racing to make huge supplies of swine flu vaccine — and trying to figure out who needs it most — even as the pandemic sweeps the globe. What will this mean for you and your family?

More Information: Continue reading

Who is Right about Condoms? The Pope or the President?

It is being reported that in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2010 Proposed Budget, the president recommends that Congress eliminate funding for abstinence education and instead pour funds into condoms and contraceptive-based sex education. At the same time, another report asserts that physicians are now confirming the Pope’s contention that “statistics prove condoms ineffective against HIV/AIDS. Who is right?

More Information: Continue reading

Updated FAQ’s about the Swine Flu Virus – including a question about face masks

Like you, I can’t read the paper or turn on a television or radio without hearing about the H1NI influenza. As I’ve done radio interviews for radio stations around the country on the topic, I find many are asking the same questions. Here are my answers.

More Information: Continue reading

Swine Flu: Top 5 Reasons Your Should Not Panic

Public health physicians and medical journalists have a tough job when it comes to informing the public about the Swine Flu as we have to walk the tightrope between informing you so that you can protect yourself and your family, and sending people into anxiety attacks. No doubt you are interested in the topic, as my blog posts on the Swine Flu on Monday, April 27 drew more hits than any blog on any day since I started blogging. So, why should you NOT panic – at least for now?

More Information: Continue reading

Swine Flu: What You Need to Know

As officials warn of the spread in swine flu cases across several countries around the globe, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself and your children from this unique virus. Also, you can read a couple of my other blogs: Is It a Cold or Sinus Infection? and 7 Ways to Protect Yourself from the Flu (in general) or the Swine Flu (in particular).

More Information: Continue reading

News Flash: Experimental Ebola Vaccine Used On Human – this actual headline is part of the story line for Dr. Walt’s first novel

It was a nightmare scenario: A scientist accidentally pricked her finger with a needle used to inject the deadly Ebola virus into lab mice. Within hours, members of a tightly bound, yet Atlantic telephone conference trying to map out a way to save her life. Less than 24 hours later, an experimental vaccine – never before tried on humans — was on its way to Germany from a lab in Canada. And within 48 hours of the March 12 accident, the at-risk scientist, a 45-year-old woman whose identity has not been revealed, was injected with the vaccine. 

More Information: Continue reading

Dr. Walt’s Take on the Health Headlines – June 4, 2008

Here are my takes on some of today’s health headlines.

If Dad is not involved in child care, can we blame the mom?

Here’s one the major news outlets haven’t touched. Continue reading

Final Report from Myanmar Team

Now that a team of courageous family physicians is safely out of Myanmar, I can release to you their report of their trip.

The team of Christian family physicians and other healthcare professionals originated at the only Christian Family Medicine Residency Program in the U.S., the In His Image Residency, out of Tulsa, OK.

Here’s an exciting report from my dear friend, Lawrence Lee, M.D.:

Continue reading

Family Physicians in Earthquake Ravaged China – Report #2

Last week I posted a report from my friend, Chris Place, M.D., from the Hope Medical Clinic is Macao, China, about a team he was leading in the earthquake ravaged area of Chendu, China.

Here are Chris’ sobering diary entries of his experiences there.

Abbreviations are used for security purposes. 

Continue reading

Team of Family Physicians in Myanmar – Report #5

Here is the 5th update on the brave young team of family physicians who crossed the border from Thailand into Myanmar to serve the victims of the cyclone. This message is from the wife of the team leader:

The team has made it safely out of Burma and are in route home. Everyone is doing GREAT! The members will arrive (home) Sunday morning about 7:45 am. Continue reading

Team of Family Physicians in Myanmar – Report #3


Dr. Walt has received another report from a spouse of one of the team members of the Family Physicians from the U.S. that crossed the Thailand border into Myanmar and are providing medical mission work in the devastated delta of Myanmar. 

If you want to send the team a message, through me, please post your note below.

Here’s the note she sent to Dr. Walt: Continue reading

Family Physicians in Earthquake Ravaged China


Dr. Walt went to medical school with a college friend, Keith Morgan. They have been dear friends ever since.

Dr. Morgan and his wife, Cindy, have been serving as medical missionaries in Macao, China, for almost 30 years. Part of their ministry has been setting up a Family Medicine Residency in China, and Dr. Walt had the privilege of teaching there a couple of years ago.

We’ve just received a report from a team from the Macao Family Medicine Residency who are serving in the earthquake ravaged area of China. We hope you’ll keep them in your prayers. Here’s their report: Continue reading

U.S. Family Physicians in Myanmar – Report #2


Dr. Walt has received this report from a spouse of one of the team members of the brave U.S. Family Physicians that have crossed the Thailand border into Myanmar and are providing medical mission work in some of the most devastated areas of Myanmar. By the way, if you want to send them a message, through me, please post your note below.

Here’s the note she had sent to Dr. Walt: Continue reading

Brave Young U.S. Doctors in Myanmar Send Secret Note


Dr. Walt has been made aware of a group of young Christian family medicine physicians and healthcare professionals from the United States who have made their way across the Thailand-Myanmar border to provide emergency medical relief for the victims of the terrible cyclone.

Here’s a note, secretly delivered to Dr. Walt from inside Myanmar: Continue reading