Dr. Ronald Natawidjaja, one of the doctors who has served at ASRI since 2012, was recently accepted into his residency in general surgery, which will begin in January. We are so excited to offer heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Ron!

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A Driving Force: An Interview with Richard Ramer

hospital model

3D rendering of the Community Hospital and Training Center

Richard Ramer found his way to Health In Harmony three years ago when his brother, Andrew Ramer, introduced him to Dr. Kinari Webb. Richard is the head of RAMER Architecture, Inc., an award-winning firm based out of Santa Monica, CA known for sustainable design and LEED certified projects.

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“A young girl came in once to the ASRI clinic—she had the worst case of scabies I had ever seen. We diagnosed her in about 5 minutes and treated her and her entire family for $2, because they came from a “green” village. A Yale medical volunteer who happened to be doing research asked them about their medical bills. They had spent $500 on their daughter’s care. They had gone to other doctors, multiple nurses, and the traditional healer several times, and nobody was able to treat her.”

- Dr. Kinari Webb, Founder of Health In Harmony and ASRI

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“I was so excited about Health In Harmony, I would do whatever I could to help,” Kelsey Hartman said of her reaction to hearing Dr. Kinari Webb talk at Smith College in 2012. After she graduated from Smith with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and worked on the Obama re-election campaign that year, Kelsey turned to the organization that had inspired her because it offered effective solutions to the environmental problems she had studied. After volunteering for a few short weeks, Kelsey came on board as Health In Harmony’s Communications and Marketing Associate in February 2013. “I’d never hired anyone sight unseen, but I knew in my bones that Kelsey had the passion for this work and would shine,” said Michelle Bussard, Executive Director. And she did.

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Three exciting opportunities developed in the last few months that are all serving to place Health In Harmony and our founder, Dr. Kinari Webb, in a position of innovative leadership around the globe. The recognition from Rainer Arnhold, Ashoka, and the CLASSY Awards will help the model gain further attention and traction as it grows in your mission of saving the world's rainforests with a stethoscope.

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This past month, a group of our intrepid supporters traveled to ASRI to see for themselves how our programs are changing lives and saving the rainforest. Now they share their photos so you can follow us to Sukadana and beyond, into the wilds of Borneo. See it all for yourself:

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No one understands what drives our exceptional volunteers, all highly skilled professionals, to rearrange their lives to assist in our conservation and public health initiatives quite like Dr. Jesse Turner. He committed to spending 6 months out of the year at ASRI helping run the clinic, after volunteering in 2013.

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Each week this month, we’re bringing you fresh perspectives on ASRI’s work from some of the people who know it best: our volunteers.

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I find it very appropriate that my trip to Indonesia was bookended by goats. A little more than two years ago, I wrote my master’s thesis at the University of Montana on international community development, focusing particularly on women’s roles. That interest meant the Goats for Widows program was what initially drew me to Health In Harmony. Though my appreciation now extends to each of ASRI’s programs, last Tuesday, standing in the road outside of Pak Rapi’s house (a local village leader), I remembered that original excitement, and it added to the joy of seeing smiles on the faces of eight women collecting their new kambing.

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Borneo's rainforests are under siege. Then why are we so hopeful for their future?

As I write, I am drifting through the Tanjung Puting National Park, a Bornean rainforest. Our first group of travelers has finished their days in Sukadana, and we are now on a traditional klotok boat navigating the rivers of the park between stops at orangutan feeding stations. In preparing for this leg of the journey, I kept imagining the gloomy story and setting of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, a novel set in the depths of the Congo at the height of colonialism. While we are not being bombarded with the arrows of nearby people or running our boat aground in treacherous and murky waters, now that we are here, I am finding one true comparison.

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Each week this month, we're bringing you fresh perspectives on ASRI's work from some of the people who know it best: our volunteers. Drs. Karin Gunther and Lori Chow joined Health In Harmony on a journey to ASRI, March 9-19, 2014.  We had a chance to reflect with Dr. Karin on her 2008 volunteer experience at ASRI and contrasts with 2014 (below). In a separate interview we talk to Dr. Lori about her sponsorship of Dr. Ron's residency and how Dr. Ron views his future including a long-term commitment to ASRI.

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We are thrilled to announce a major gift to ASRI: MacArthur Foundation Fellow Sarah “Sally” Otto is donating $100,000 from her MacArthur “Genius Grant” to support our community-based conservation work.

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The ogoh-ogohs are nearly done. Devil creatures with ponderous breasts, big bellies, fangs, claws and bulging eyes. Some are three or four stories high, others the height of doorway. Some are being constructed by groups of older men and young boys, some by groups of older boys. On Balinese New Year, 30 March, the parading and burning will begin followed by a day of total silence throughout the island: everywhere, everyone. I think about the hundreds of ogoh-ogohs tucked under porches and temple roofs, of young boys learning from uncles and fathers, and of the thousands of offerings by women, young and old.

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Sukadana Rooster

Photo: Trina Jones

The soundtrack in Sukadana is thunder rolling and roosters crowing. I hear gibbons and children welcoming the day with their shouts and songs as I walk to the clinic in the morning and I hear chickens rustling in the leaves as I rinse with the cool water of the mandi in the open air shower. I learn to listen for motorbikes as I ride my bicycle in the cool breezes of the evenings and slowly start interpreting the rolling r’s of the Bahasa that is spoken around me each day.

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Michelle Bussard and most of the Health In Harmony staff are currently in Sukadana, preparing to welcome a group of donors to ASRI in just a few days' time. We will be featuring blogs about the on-the-ground ASRI experience during this time.

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2013 has been a big year for Health In Harmony and our project partner ASRI! We are deeply grateful for all you, our supporters, have made possible this year. Check out our highlights:

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The Health In Harmony Board of Directors and staff.

These past few weeks have been an exciting time in the Health In Harmony office – or rather, out of the office! We want to share some of the highlights of what we’ve been up to:

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Guest blog by Clare Selgin Wolfowitz

The second annual meeting of the Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora (CID2, for short) attracted more than 5000 participants from around the world. The 3-day conference, held in Jakarta (August 18-20), is a project of the Indonesian government; it was opened officially by President Yudhoyono. The CID is designed both to support overseas Indonesians through networking, and to encourage them to apply their talents and resources toward Indonesian development.

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Between July 6 and August 9, Etty Rahmawati, ASRI’s Conservation Education & Outreach Manager, gained as many insights into the USA, her volunteer, staff and Board hosts as we gained inspiration from her and connection to something bigger. That something bigger is Alam Sehat Lestari, healthy nature everlasting, or ASRI, beautiful, and ASRI Kids, the program inspired by volunteers and led by Etty.  This is a story about those connections and why they are the very fiber of what we do and why it works. It is also a story about raising funds for the future: While on the west coast, Etty helped raise more than $10,000 between a ZACC grant and our generous Health In Harmony family of donors.  Will you help match the gift and help support ASRI Kids and its promise for the future? You are our connection to success.

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