Every year, Kenai Spine contributes time and financial resources to support the Carolyn Jane Foundation, a 501c(3) charitable organization. The mission of the Carolyn Jane Foundation is to bring orthopedic care to rural areas of need.
As an elementary school teacher in Anchorage, Carolyn Jane Humphreys witnessed many young people caught in tenuous situations beyond their control. She realized that school was often the only stable and safe space for children. She developed federally-funded learning programs to reach remote Alaskan village populations, and broke down cultural and literacy barriers ever present in the forgotten corners of Anchorage. Helping people for the sake of helping was ingrained in Carolyn Jane and her family without an expectation of a “thank you.”
Throughout Dr. Humphreys’ career, he has looked for ways to give back to patients and the communities in which he has served. Over the years, Dr. Humphreys has also found great personal satisfaction providing free spine care, knowledge, and expertise to patients suffering from back and neck pain in countries like India, Lucia, Lithuania, and China. In 2010, he return to Alaska where he grew up as a fellowship-trained spine surgeon. He desired to finish his medical career providing the best quality spine care to Alaskans.
In 2012, Dr. Humphreys and his family traveled to Kenya on a medical mission trip with the World Medical Mission organization, where they each volunteered to provide health care to a much-needed area of the country. World Medical Mission was established in 1977 to assist general surgeons who wanted to volunteer for short-term mission trips in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, Oceania, and the Middle East.
Dr. Humphreys and his family enjoyed their trip so much that they returned in January of 2014 with the hopes of finding a local hospital with which he could partner to provide spine care for the benefit of the underprivileged in Kenya, East Africa. As in 2012, Dr. Humphreys was able to utilize his 20 years of experience as an orthopedic spine surgeon to assist local doctors to treat patients suffering from orthopedic-related pathologies, while his family volunteered many hours of service working in the pediatric ward of the hospital providing comfort and relief to the many children admitted there.
While in Kenya, Dr. Humphreys also visited hospitals known for providing quality healthcare to the underserved in Kenya, and was able to identify a hospital just outside of Nairobi with which he can partner to build a quality spine program designed to educate local orthopedic residents and young surgeons, and ultimately provide affordable spinal health care to those suffering from neck and back pain.
Upon return home from Kenya, Dr. Humphreys and the team at Kenai Spine organized a committee whose job it will be to plan and execute a return trip to that hospital in Kenya where spine patients can receive advanced spinal health care. The Kenai Spine team plans to head back to Africa in January 2015.
In 2014, Dr. Humphreys identified a Kenyan hospital — CURE Kenya — which provided the surgical operating rooms and necessary surgical instrumentation to enable the Kenai Spine team to perform complex spine surgery for underserved patients in Kijabe, Kenya, East Africa. This included complex scoliosis correction that would not otherwise be available in Kenya.
“A project of this magnitude requires significant planning and participation by many people and organizations who are willing to donate their time, expertise, medical instrumentation and equipment for the benefit of the underprivileged in Kenya”, explains Craig Wilcox, executive director of Kenai Spine. Wilcox continues, “This is something Dr. Humphreys feels strongly about. He believes that he should give back to not only the Alaska community where he grew up, but also play some role in helping those in the poorest areas of Africa who suffer from spine problems, and who would never otherwise benefit from the pain relief provided by spine surgery. We are fortunate to be able to assemble a team that is capable and willing to carry out Dr. Humphreys’ vision.”
We are pleased to provide here images of Dr. Humphreys and the KenaiSpine clinical team on their 2018 Mission Trip to Kenya. This year — through the donation of medical products and equipment from multiple companies — the KenaiSpine team and CURE Kijabi hospital was able to forever change the lives of 13 patients from all over Africa. Many of these individuals — ages 13 to 63 — were immobile, in great pain, with no hope. The clinical team helped to give these people back their lives.
To find out more about Kenai Spine, click to KenaiSpine.com.