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Society for Middle Ear Disease Visiting Scholar

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
12 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on September 09, at 11:59 PM EDT
Project Owners

Society for Middle Ear Disease Visiting Scholar

Although their EngagePitt™ campaign has concluded, if you would still like to make a donation to SMED, you may always do so here.


The Problem:

Otitis media (OM) is the inflammation of the middle-ear. Approximately 710 million cases of OM occur each year, with 51% of cases occurring in children under the age of five. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 people die each year from complications of chronic otitis media, mainly in developing nations around the globe.

The good news is that chronic otitis media is largely preventable and can be managed effectively. Access to medicine in these developing countries, in areas such as Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Rim is, unfortunately, extremely limited due the low numbers of trained physicians living in rural areas.

Dr. Margaretha Casselbrant examines a patient in her clinic

Our Solution:

The Society for Middle Ear Disease (SMED) is comprised of 8 Advocates from four states in the U.S., all of whom are community individuals who have had personal experience or family members with otitis media. There are 7 Advisors from the U.S. and 35 Advisors from 25 other countries. Advisors include otolaryngologists, pediatricians, a family physician, and a scientist who advise the Advocates in performing their mission and promoting SMED’s mission in their own countries.

As a result of the international network SMED has created, we are able to understand the needs of fellow otolaryngologists, residing in the developing countries, where otitis media is widespread. In order to provide the best care for their pediatric patients and perform more complicated surgeries, the physicians are in need of greater surgical training.

Our solution is to develop a visiting scholar program here at the University of Pittsburgh, enabling one or two doctors to travel to Pittsburgh each year to receive specialized training from our staff of experts. A two-week training program will allow these physicians to hone their skills, which they can take back to their home countries and use to help the children they treat each day.

How You Can Help:

SMED’s Visiting Scholar Program needs your support! Here’s how you can help:

  1. Donate! Your donation to the SMED Visiting Scholar Program will allow one or two doctors this year to travel to Pittsburgh for two weeks, participate in the highly sought-after Temporal Bone Course with University of Pittsburgh physicians, along with additional shadowing and opportunities to practice surgical techniques.
  2. Share our story and our crowdfunding page with your friends, families, and professional networks!

Where Does My Money Go:

Approximately $5,000 is needed to fund a two-week stay, including airfare, housing, meals, the fee for the Temporal Bone course and other expenses. We intend to bring two fellows each year to Pittsburgh to train and develop their skills. If we do not reach our $10,000 goal, we will fund one scholarship, or raise funds through SMED and the Eye & Ear Foundation. All money raised will be put toward the scholarship program - it will not be directed anywhere else.

Students and Resident trainees practice surgical techniques during the Tempora Bone Course









Why Crowdfunding?

This crowdfunding campaign using the EngagePitt™ platform, is an opportunity to generate awareness about the widespread global health issue that is otitis media. Many are unaware of how devastating simple ear infections can become when not treated properly. We want to pose a small solution to this problem by garnering financial support and also contributing to the conversation about impacting global health. The SMED Visiting Scholar program hopes become a sustainable program offered through the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Please help us reach our goal!

Visit the SMED website to learn more:

Choose a giving level


Level 1- Ear

English: the third most common language in the world and an official language of over 60 countries.


Level 2- Eti

Yoruba- a language spoken in areas of Africa such as Nigeria and Benin.


Level 3- Oreille

French: an official language of 25 countries, most of which are located in Africa and parts of Asia. This level will cover meals for one day.


Level 4- Tainga

Filipino: spoken in the Phillippines and other Pacific countries.


Level 5- Dhegta

Somali: Somali is an official language of Somalia, a national language in Djibouti, and a working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.


Level 6- Tai

It is the native language of the Vietnamese people, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. This level will cover the registration fee to participate in the Temporal Bone Course.


Level 7- Telinga

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world (after China, India and the United States). Of its large population, the majority speak Indonesian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. This level will purchase one of the flight's to or from Pittsburgh.


Level 8- Sikio

Swahili is used as a common language in much of Southeast Africa from 60 million to over 150 million. Swahili serves as a national language of four nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This level would cover a round-trip flight and travel to and from the airport.

Our Crowdfunding Groups