We often call our Journey to Borneo an opportunity to travel with a purpose. Visiting ASRI and Indonesia is an experience like none other, and, as this year's travelers say in the video at the bottom of this post - it will change your life. But why? What is it about seeing planetary health in action that makes such a difference?
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We are appalled and saddened by the Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold the current administration's ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. This policy directly conflicts with our values.
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Guest blog by Leni Glassman

In August, ten-year-old Leni Glassman traveled to Borneo with her mother, father, and sister, to see Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), the program that her family has been supporting for years, in person. Now, Leni reflects on her experiences and the memorable people she met. Read More

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Over the past two weeks, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters have been traveling around Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates. On this trip, they've had the opportunity to meet members of the ASRI staff, see the rain forest that they helped reforest, talk to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watch the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares a series of beautiful photos from their journey. Next stop: Bali! Read More

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Guest blog by Jessie Kittle

Seven years of advanced and expensive training in the US has prepared me to be an attending in a few months. Particularly in my practice setting, expensive and complex interventions are the norm and sometimes benefit the patient. I’ve recognized throughout the years that the system that shaped me has some serious flaws. Health care access is often disparate, and we spend more time facing the computer than our patients. Futile care at the end of life and over-utilization of expensive interventions are common, and the bankrupting of patients occurs regularly (and beyond the view of doctors who contributed). I have sometimes felt my passion for this version of doctoring wane, and I came to ASRI seeking the holistic ideal of connecting with patients and improving the community with my practice.
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Rural health care in Indonesia is in crisis right now. Consider these statistics: The life expectancy in Indonesia is 67 years old. Only 5% of the population is currently over the age of 65. In addition, approximately a third of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth. Diarrheal disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and polio are some of the most common killers among Indonesians.

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Guest blog by David Woodbury

This is a story where I try to trace what left me squatting in a dark bathroom full of large spiders, in a house without electricity, on the edge of the rainforest, after an evening meal in a Dayak household (an ethnic group who are the native people of Borneo). **Note: I will star every time I consumed something questionable. Read More

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Guest blog by Edward Pranoto

The months leading up to my departure were quite often filled with trepidation. Despite being fluent in Bahasa and being relatively familiar with the local culture, there is always something about going alone into the "unknown." In hindsight, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. On my first day at Klinik ASRI, I saw more friendly, smiling faces in one small room during morning meeting than I do in a typical, busy hospital ward in Melbourne. The atmosphere on morning meetings are almost always jovial, but what I came to realize during my time in Sukadana is that you not only become part of the ASRI family, but also part of the local community.

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An open invitation to the villages calling all loggers for hire for construction on ASRI’s new Community Hospital Training Center (CHTC) is taking sustainable construction to the next level.

Well before ASRI broke ground on the CHTC, the staff had made sure to include a clause stating they will hire 40% of local labor during the duration of construction. The labor was defined as low-skill labor to people without construction training for work under the supervision and direction of the CHTC contractor. The jobs include excavation, block laying, and construction of temporary form work to support concrete.

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Guest blog by Ben Johnson

At 8am we finished loading the truck for our journey for the Mobile Clinic. It was imperative that we set off early, as, while the sun was still low in the sky, it had already begun to get hot, and we had more than 8 hours to drive to reach the remote villages. Between the 95 degree heat and the bumpy dirt road, the one saving grace was our stereo, which allowed Dr. Vina to lead us in singing enthusiastically along to an eclectic mix of Indonesian and Western pop music.

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Throughout this week, we featured the stories of four Forest Guardians who are committed to the program and protecting the rain forest. You can find their individual stories on our Facebook: Wawan, Amir, Samsu, and Ridwan. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to see campaigns like these in the future. #FacesOfTheForest

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A scene of the hospital construction site| Photo: Scott Jones

The hospital foundation is coming together | Photo: Scott Jones

ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center continues to roll along here in Sukadana as we enter our third month of construction. So far, progress has been stunningly smooth, with the overall timeline tracking ahead of schedule and far fewer headaches than you would normally expect for a project of this size and complexity. We can all confidently attribute the project's preliminary success to the commitment and dedication of the design and management teams, as well as the positive and transparent relationship with the contractor.

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Fire3A brush fire threatened the Laman Satong reforestation site over Idul Fitri holiday week. This is the second fire in the same reforestation site that experienced a devastating fire 2 years ago that took out hundreds of trees and most of ASRI reforestation team’s hard work. The fire is assumed to be started by a cigarette - a likely cause of the first fire too. However, this is a story of everything going right and displays the hard work put in place to mitigate a second disaster.

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It was a big week in Sukadana! In between meetings with the contractors, the team met with the local community throughout the week for “Community Socialization” gatherings. They discussed the details of the hospital and community benefits, and the space allowed members of the community to come forward to voice their questions, thoughts, and concerns regarding the hospital.

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Guest blog by Jo Whitehouse

The final check!

The final check!

Last year, I teamed up with Frances Boscacci, a wonderful person who has an open heart and believes that we all share this little boat called Planet Earth. She is from Nicaragua and passionate about helping others help themselves. Her smile would melt an igloo at 30 feet. She is also head of the International Program for the Rotary Club of Burlingame, where my husband is a long-time member.

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We're sure you've noticed that lately, we've been talking a lot about building ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center. What's so great about this hospital, you ask? Well, I've created a side-by-side comparison for you, so you know exactly why this hospital is so important:

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Karen Ruby Brown CNM, MSN, a midwife working and living in San Diego, CA found her way to ASRI via the Osborne Foundation, which is dedicated to improving both environmental and maternal-child health and has been one of ASRI's most ardent supporters since 2007.

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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.


Chelsea Call is a skilled photographer and yoga instructor from Colorado and was drawn to the volunteering position because she felt passionately about ASRI's mission. While on site in late 2014, she served as a volunteer photographer of ASRI's various programs and even taught yoga classes!

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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.


Derek Richardson is a Clinical Instructor and Physician at the University of California, San Francisco General Hospital and served as an attending physician at the ASRI Clinic in January 2015. He was drawn to Health In Harmony for the "interesting and valuable goal in providing health care inside a larger umbrella of resource and community awareness" and discusses his experience on Mobile Clinic trips while volunteering with ASRI.

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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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