History Of INMED

The Institute for International Medicine is built on the truth that one generation can profoundly motivate and equip the next. INMED itself is the result of model individuals whose self-sacrificing lifestyle inspired INMED’s leaders to create this organization. Today, INMED is casting a vision the next generation of healthcare professionals to serve the most neglected citizens of our planet.


Inspiration: 1976 – 2002


As a high school senior, Nicholas Comninellis read Dr. Tom Dooley’s moving account of caring for Vietnamese refugees in the book Deliver Us From Evil. “I want to do that, too!” was his heart-felt response.  As a medical student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Comninellis leaped at opportunities for international service. For two months, he was mentored by Samuel Marx, an American physician who instructed him at the Clinic Evangelica Morava in the jungle of eastern Honduras.


After completing medical training in 1982 Comninellis invested two years at Shanghai Charity Hospital where he was guided by Dr. Donald Dale – a British physician who launched the Jian Hua Foundation. In 1989 Comninellis took two-year an assignment in Angola, southern Africa, where Dr. Steven Foster, a Canadian surgeon, introduced him to the vagrancies of working in that war-ravaged nation. They served together at the famed Kalukembe Hospital. In 1991 Comninellis entered service in the Kansas City public hospital system at Truman Medical Centers, all the while a dream growing within him.

Initiation: 2003 – 2004 ACADEMIC YEAR


inmed_leadersIn 2003, Dr. Comninellis was teaching public health and family medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He noticed a mushrooming interest among students in international service. Many medical schools were also encouraging international experience, but few actually offered supervised international clinical rotations, and even fewer had a curriculum appropriate to international health issues.


Realizing that most professionals who care for forgotten people usually had a formative experience during their training, Dr. Comninellis envisioned an organization specifically devoted to equipping individuals for international health careers. Community leaders came together to form the first INMED Board of Directors: Roy Moran, Don Philgreen, Daniel Hickey, and Thad May. INMED was incorporated as a Missouri non-profit corporation on June 30, 2003.

First Class: 2004 – 2005 Academic Year


In 2004, Dr. Comninellis departed his full-time faculty position at Research Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program in order to develop INMED. Highlights of the 2004-2005 academic year include:


  • INMED launched its first credential: the Professional Diploma in International Medicine & Public Health (DIMPH)
  • Training Sites were established at Baptist Medical Center in Ghana, at the Hospital Evangelico in Honduras, and with Liaoning International Health Trainers in China 
  • Dr. Comninellis created an international health curriculum covering the essential subjects of international health principles, diseases of poverty, cross-cultural skills, and health leadership
  • Six medical students from the Universities of Kansas and Missouri-Kansas City completed the DIMPH. The first graduation event was held at the Diastole Scholar’s Center at the UMKC School of Medicine in May 2005.
  • The Jack Hill Continuing Medical Education Fund also provided INMED with its first major financial support.

Micah Flint: 2005 – 2006 Academic Year


The 2005-2006 Academic Year saw INMED add the first full-time staff leader. Milestones of the year include:


FIGHT HIV: 2006 – 2007 Academic Year


In the 2006-2007 Academic Year, INMED developed and expand learning opportunities especially surrounding the HIV pandemic. Highlights of the year include:




INMED inspired a record number of individuals in 2007-2008. Highlights of the year include:


Fighting the diseases of Poverty: 2008 – 2009 Academic Year


During 2008-2009, INMED developed several new programs focused on diseases associated with poverty. Highlights of the year include:


Serving the Forgotten: 2009 – 2010 Academic Year


In 2009-2010, INMED doubled down on training opportunities to benefit forgotten people. Milestones of the year include:


FROM RESCUE TO RESILIENCE: 2010 – 2011 Academic Year


In 2010-2011, INMED expanded education programs to strengthen communities. Highlights of the year include:


From Inspiration To Mobilization: 2011 – 2012 Academic Year


This year INMED especially worked to help transform healthcare professional’s good intentions into actual service. Milestones of the year include:


The Road Less Traveled: 2012 – 2013 Academic Year


Over this year INMED invited many others to join in service to their forgotten neighbors, with these spotlights:


Sticks in a Bundle Are Unbreakable: 2013 – 2014 Academic Year


Similar to a braided rope, sticks in a bundle are stronger than any stick alone. Throughout this year INMED particularly worked to increased connections between like-hearted professionals, with these high points:


What Can You Do In Ten?:  2014 – 2015 Academic Year


In this, the twelfth year of INMED and the tenth year of the Exploring Medical Missions Conference, we observed these highlights:


Evidence Behind Medical Missions: 2015 – 2016 Academic Year


Service to marginalized communities not only generates goodwill but also documents improved health outcomes. During INMED’s thirteenth year we explored and celebrated these service results. Highlights of the year include:


Holistic Partnership with the Forgotten: 2016 – 2017 Academic Year


INMED’s fourteenth year is especially noteworthy for building cooperative efforts with at-risk people to improve their resilience. Highlights of the year include:


The Art of Serving: 2017-2018 Academic Year


In our fifteenth year, INMED celebrated and highlighted the attributes of quality service. Milestones of the year include:


Equip • Connect • Go: 2018-2019 Academic Year


In our sixteenth year, INMED was actively equipping healthcare professionals with essential skills, connecting them with service organizations, and encouraging them to go. High points of the year include:


  • INMED’s entire online learning content – some 2,500 web pages – were updated and professionally edited, plus the addition of newly authored lessons on Diseases of Poverty, Health Professions Education, Health Leadership, and Ultrasound for Primary Care.
  • INMED hosted a week-long continuing education event for primary care nurse practitioners at Kalukembe Hospital and CEML Hospital in southern Africa. Based on chapters from Where There Is No Doctor, this event focused on maternal-newborn skills for care at isolated clinics.
  • 36 individuals earned an INMED Professional Diploma, completing their service-learning in Angola, Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and the USA.
  • The fourteenth Humanitarian Health Conference was held on April 5-6, 2019, urging participants to Equip, Connect, Go. Breakout sessions emphasized skills in wound care & suturing, WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), crossing cultures through compassion, developing community partnerships, and Sean Mark’s Guide to an International Health Career.
  • Remarkable funding was again generously provided by Baptist Trinity Lutheran Legacy FoundationButterfield Memorial FoundationCollege Park Family Care Center, Datcha Dorvil, the George Faile Foundation, Peter and Kim Greenspan, HCA Midwest, Ted & Kim Higgins, Hodgdon Family Charitable Foundation, Spencer & Beckie Kerley, David Zamierowski, and from 45 individual donors.