This month we found everything from important research to inspiring news to share. Check it out!
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Dr. Courtney Howard is an emergency room physician who has witnessed the health impacts of climate change firsthand through her work in the Canadian Arctic. Bringing years of experience in medicine, public health, and planetary health, she recently joined Health In Harmony's Board of Directors and visited our pilot program, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), to provide clinical instruction to their doctors. This post from Courtney's blog shows the impact of our Chainsaw Buyback program, an innovative way to promote sustainable livelihoods and help the few remaining loggers put down their chainsaws once and for all.
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Last month, we welcomed Ashley Emerson as Health In Harmony's new Program Director. With a Masters in International Development, Community, and Environment from Clark University and years of experience leading and developing international programs around the world, we are thrilled to have her on the team. And to give you the chance to get to her know too, we sat down with her this week for an interview.

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Last month, Health In Harmony Founder, Dr. Kinari Webb, returned to her alma mater, the Yale School of Medicine, to give this year's Commencement Address. She was honored to have the opportunity to offer insight to the graduates, encouraging them to treat their patients with compassion, to strive for social justice, and to use their training to create a healthier planet.

"You may not have thought of your stethoscope as a tool to heal the Earth, the lungs of the Earth - otherwise known as rain forests. But it turns out that it can be. Your medical skills have all kinds of unexpected powers, and I want to argue that we actually all need to become planet doctors."

Watch the video below, Kinari takes the stage at 3:40:

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Planetary health. “What is that?” - you might be asking.

Debates continue about the primary drivers of change in Earth systems, but few can argue that the disruption of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes are taking their toll, and that toll includes an urgent threat to global human health. Environmental issues can no longer be seen as ‘not my problem’ as evidence grows illustrating the connections between accelerated environmental change and the direct impacts adversely affecting human health. Regardless of how we have previously viewed news on the environmental front, and our role in it, the time has come for everyone to pay attention. Your health depends on it.

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I’ve just returned from my first visit to Indonesia, where our programs have been co-designed and executed by our Indonesian program partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI).

I met former loggers trained to be sustainable farmers and small business owners. I walked through rain forests regenerated and protected for the health of thousands of species and the planet. I explored the beautiful, recently constructed hospital, and met the men, women, and children who can access life-saving health care there every day thanks to the generosity of our donors.

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Before our new Executive Director, Jonathan Jennings (read about him here), sets off, I sat down with him in Portland for a quick chat about his first trip to Indonesia. Here’s what he had to say.

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Guest blog by Maggie Gumbinner

I’m often asked why I choose to spend my free time working for Health In Harmony from the many good organizations and causes out there. But, it all became very clear to me one day on the Journey to Borneo last year during a hike through Gunung Palung National Park.

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Thank you for an amazing 2016! Your outpouring of support has inspired us to set big goals for the new year. We plan to continue strengthening the incredible programs at our partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), start replicating our model to other sites in Indonesia, and share our story of win-win solutions with the biggest audience yet.

We hope that you will join us in continuing to fight for a healthy planet with healthy people.

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Last month, midwestern natives Jackson and Sara Helms moved to Borneo to work with our partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). Jackson, ASRI's new Conservation Director, served in the Marine Corps for five years and now has his PhD in Biology from the University of Oklahoma. Sara, Health In Harmony's new On-Site Partnership Coordinator, graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Studio Art in 2014, and spent two years teaching at an elementary school for at-risk youth before moving to Borneo.

This week, we interviewed them to learn about their new roles and what they hope to accomplish during their time in Sukadana. Sara has also taken over our Instagram this week - click here to follow along and see what their day-to-day looks like!

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For our last What We're Reading of the year, we've rounded up our staff's favorite articles of the year. What were your favorite picks of 2016?

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This weekend, Health In Harmony's incoming Executive Director, Jonathan Jennings, joined the Board and Staff at our annual retreat in Stevenson, WA. Jonathan had the opportunity to spend the weekend learning more about our organization as we look to the year ahead, and thoughtfully shares his reflections below. He currently serves as Deputy Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders, Canada with over 15 years of experience managing relief and development projects around the world. He also has a BA in Biology, MS in Conservation Biology and Applied Ecology, and MA in International Politics and Security. He will officially begin working at Health In Harmony at the end of January.

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Guest blog by Maggie Gumbinner

Last month, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters traveled to Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates, as part of the 2016 Friendship Tour. On the trip, they met members of the ASRI staff, saw the rain forest that they helped reforest, talked to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watched the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares her reflection from the trip.

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Spring has sprung, folks! The roses in our Portland gardens are blooming and so are our ideas about how to maximize impact and guide Health In Harmony programs toward greater effectiveness. With our whole staff together in Portland, we thought now would be an excellent time to introduce our Research Director – Bethany Kois – the lady charged with evaluating Health In Harmony’s programs.

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The final post in our Volunteer Appreciation Month series! An interview with Jeff Wyatt, who has been a donor, volunteer, and Board Member at Health In Harmony - someone that we are so thankful to have in this organization. His unique journey with Health in Harmony is a testament to his commitment to a healthy planet with healthy people. Interview edited for length and clarity. Read More

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Following my very first trip to ASRI in February 2012, I wrote: “Standing in the gigantic buttress of a Dipterocarp tree while around me other tall slender trees swayed like metronomes heralding the swing of the great ape and its cousins, I knew I was now improbably connected through my heart and in the soles of my feet to these people and this rainforest for the very air I breathe.” Read More

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Last August, when I visited ASRI for the first time, I had the opportunity to spend a day with the Harapan Baru (meaning “New Hope”) farmers group. They taught me how to make a batch of liquid fertilizer, using some local ingredients that though readily available in Borneo, many of us in the West have never heard of.

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Dear Friends,

Wow! It’s been ten years since Health In Harmony started. I still find that very hard to believe. Ten years ago in February, Cam Webb (currently ASRI's Conservation Advisor) and I were in Aceh helping after the tsunami and we were horrified to see not only the trauma, but how few of the non-profits were listening to communities.

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April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Each week this month, we'll be featuring new perspectives on ASRI’s work from some of the people who know it best: our volunteers.


In late 2012, Bethany volunteered with ASRI after being drawn to the connection between human and environmental health and how it leads to social change. Today, we are pleased to announce that she will be joining Health In Harmony as the new Grants Specialist!

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Making The Hospital A Reality: Meet Alice Prussin

Alice Prussin is the Founder of Illuminosa Design. She serves as a member of the Health In Harmony Board and has been a critical member of the hospital design team. Learn more about her invaluable contribution to ASRI’s Community Hospital and Training Center!

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