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 opportunitiesfor 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.



inmed_leadersIn 2003, Dr. Comninellis was teaching public health and family medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He noticed a growing desire among students for international service. Many medical schools were also encouraging international education, but few actually offered international clinical self-paceds, and even fewer had a curriculum appropriate to international health issues.


Realizing that people who do medical missions usually had a formative experience during their training, Dr. Comninellis envisioned an organization specifically devoted to the educational aspects of international medicine. Community leaders came together to form the first INMED Board of Directors, including Roy Moran, Don Philgreen, Daniel Hickey, and Thad May. INMED was incorporated as a Missouri non-profit corporation on June 30, 2003.

DEVELOPMENT: 2004 – 2005 Academic Year


In 2004, Dr. Comninellis departed his full-time teaching position in order to develop INMED. Here are the highlights of the 2004-2005 academic year:


  • INMED launched it’s 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 medicine curriculum covering the essential topics of international health issues, diseases of poverty, cross-cultural skills, and health leadership
  • Six medical students from the Universities of Kansas and Missouri-Kansas City completed the INMED International Medicine Certificate. The first graduation was held at the Diastole Scholar’s Center at the UMKC School of Medicine in May 2005
  • The Jack Hill Continuing Medical Education Foundation also provided INMED with its first major funding

ADDITION: 2005 – 2006 Academic Year


The 2005-2006 Academic Year saw INMED add it’s first full-time staff member. Here are the highlights of the year:


FIGHT HIV: 2006 – 2007 Academic Year


In the 2006-2007 Academic Year, INMED continued to develop and expand the services offered. Here are the highlights of the year:




INMED experienced growth in all aspects of the organization in 2007-2008. Here are the highlights of the year:


Fighting the diseases of Poverty: 2008 – 2009 Academic Year


INMED developed several new programs and experienced considerable growth of the organization in 2008-2009. Here are the highlights of the year:


Serving the Forgotten: 2009 – 2010 Academic Year


INMED continued to experience growth of the organization in 2009-2010. Here are the highlights of the year:


FROM RESCUE TO RESILIENCE: 2010 – 2011 Academic Year


This year witnessed particular growth in INMED’s academic offerings. Here are the highlights:


From Inspiration To Mobilization: 2011 – 2012 Academic Year


This year witnessed particular growth in INMED’s academic offerings. Here are the highlights:


The Road Less Traveled: 2012 – 2013 Academic Year


Over this year INMED emphasized broader accreditation and recognition of it’s programs, with these spotlights:


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


Throughout this year INMED particularly worked to increase access to its hybrid intensive courses, 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 this particular progress:


  • INMED’s Continuing Education Department hosted CME joint-providership activities for Saint Luke’s Health System, Kansas City Dermatological Society, Buchanan County Medical Society, The Research Foundation, Research Belton Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, and Lee’s Summit Medical Center, among others. INMED was also awarded Continuing Nursing Education Accreditation through Missouri Nurses Association. To accommodate these demands INMED has welcomed two additional new staff members: Rebekah Herzog and Celina Fisher.
  • INMED Professional Certificate Courses in International Medicine & Public Health were held five times, including in-classroom locations in Fort Worth TX, Kansas City MO, Glendale CA, Kirksville MO, and Pittsburgh PA, with 79 total participants.
  • INMED also hosted two courses in Helping Babies Breathe and three courses in Ultrasound for Primary Care.
  • Twenty-five individuals completed the vigorous requirements to quality for the INMED Diploma in either International Public Health or International Medicine & Public Health, including their service-learning experience at an INMED Training Site.
  • What Can You Do In Ten? Was the theme of this year’s Exploring Medical Missions Conference, which featured plenary presentations by David Nassar, Micah Flint, and Rick Donlon. Live actors made up the victims and patients of a simulated disaster in the Midwest and a field hospital in Nepal after the earthquake. 418 individuals were in attendance.
  • INMED received substantial funding from College Park Family Care Center, Ted & Kim Higgins, Hodgdon Family Charitable Foundation, Physicians Reference Laboratories, Mary Elizabeth Grant Education Foundation, Kansas City Care Clinic, HCA Midwest, and the Butterfield Memorial Foundation.
  • INMED Board Members Don Philgreen and Roy Moran recognized and affirmed INMED staff Elizabeth Burgos and Micah Flint, citing their five- and ten-year’s service “…to INMED and to our world’s most forgotten citizens.”

Evidence Behind Medical Missions: 2015 – 2016 Academic Year


During INMED’s thirteenth year we are particularly grateful for these achievements:


Holistic Partnership with the Forgotten: 2016 – 2017 Academic Year


INMED’s fourteenth year is especially noteworthy for:


The Art of Serving: 2017-2018 Academic Year


In its fifteenth year, INMED recognized the following milestones:


Equip • Connect • Go: 2018-2019 Academic Year


In our sixteenth year, INMED realized:


  • INMED’s entire online learning content – including text, videos, and interactive questions – and updated and professionally edited. In all, some 2,500 web pages were revised, plus the addition of new authored lessons for Diseases of Poverty, Healthcare Education, Health Leadership, and Ultrasound for Primary Care.
  • INMED hosted a week-long continuing education event for primary care nurse practitioners at Kalukembe 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.
  • Thirty-six 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 USA.
  • The fourteenth Humanitarian Health Conference was held on April 5-6, 2019, urging participants to Equip, Connect, and Go. Breakout sessions emphasized skills in wound care & suturing, W.A.S.H (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 Foundation Jack Hill Continuing Medical Education FundButterfield 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.