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IVUmed Resident Scholar Omar Soto-Aviles, MD — Trinidad

In March 2015, Dr. Omar Soto-Aviles traveled to Trinidad and Tobago as an IVUmed Resident Scholar.  He was accompanied by mentor, Kurt McCammon, MD, a reconstructive urologist at Urology of Virginia.  This opportunity was made possible by the generous support of the Southeastern Section of the AUA.

IVUmed Medical Team in Trinidad

IVUmed Medical Team in Trinidad

After returning from the workshop, Dr. Soto-Aviles reported, “During our week at San Fernando General Hospital, Dr. McCammon and his fellow were able to operate on two patients per day and give lectures at evening during dinner. We were able to provide the help they needed with regards to patient care as well as provide the workshop to guide them throughout the complex reconstructive surgeries. The cases that were done consisted of almost, if not all, the spectrum of male urethral stricture disease. From simple bulbar strictures, redo cases, to post radical prostatectomy bladder neck contractures. Also the local staff was able to learn graft harvest from the cheek and tongue.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was when one of the residents pulled me aside and asked me for help with regards to setting up a retractor for open prostatectomy. I think the fact that we still do a lot of open surgery in Puerto Rico helped me teach him the step up for an open radical prostatectomy as well as to discuss some technicalities of the procedure.

Going into this experience I had the expectations of providing a service to an underserved area and have some hands on experience with reconstructive urology cases, but it turned out to be completely different. I was able to create new bonds with other colleagues from the Caribbean, from which I expect great things to come in the future with regards to collaborations. Also, I was greatly influenced by their desire to learn despite having some disadvantages. I am extremely grateful for the experience that IVUmed and their sponsors give residents to explore underserved areas during their training. I am sure the Resident Scholar program plants a seed for all the participants that will later flourish and the IVUmed mission of ‘Teach One, Reach Many’ will come to life.”

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IVUmed Resident Scholar Nathan Hale, MD — Deschapelles, Haiti

The generous support of the Latin American Perpetual Education Fund made possible Dr. Nathan Hale’s IVUmed scholarship experience in Deschapelles, Haiti. During his time with mentor Robert Edelstein, MD, Dr. Hale participated in a surgical workshop focusing on general urology, serving over 200 patients.

Nathan Hale, MD

Nathan Hale, MD

After returning from the workshop, Dr. Hale reported, “I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this mission to Haiti. My opportunity to do this was only made possible by the generous donors who fund IVUmed. I thank you and want you to know of the change you are making in the lives of the patients treated, their families, and the members of each IVUmed team. Through IVUmed, we all become beacons of hope.

He continued, “I would like to share some of one patient’s words: ‘There really are no better words to say than thank you. A deeper concern invaded us and even plunged us into despair (we totally lost hope). The tears kept flowing from our eyes until the day of surgery. While I was in the recovery room, my wife asked you this question, ‘Do you think he will be Ok?’ You said he should. From that word, our worries started flying away and we took force. I can only say, ‘Thank you and all of your team.’ After the operation, I came from death to life.’ In the email were pictures of his road to recovery, and he looked like a new man. As I read the email, my heart swelled with joy to know the difference we made in this man’s life and in the lives of his family. I also realized that we had become this man’s beacon of hope.”

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Josh Wood, IVUmed’s Executive Director, on Nepal

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IVUmed volunteers in Nepal, 2009.

Our deepest condolences go out to our friends and colleagues in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and others affected by Saturday’s earthquake. IVUmed has worked with doctors and nurses in Nepal and in nearby countries for many years, building surgical capacity to help in times of crisis.  We at IVUmed are encouraged by the outpouring of support from throughout the world. Medical professionals interested in volunteering in Nepal can visit our partners at Operation Giving Back by clicking here: http://www.operationgivingback.facs.org/content4818.html. Please feel free to contact us for more information at 801-524-0201 or josh.wood@ivumed.org.

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IVUmed teaching in Nepal, 2009.

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Dr. Eric Richter Shares Ugandan IVUmed Experience

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Dr. Eric Richter and Medical Group in Uganda

Dr. Richter writes:  “I recently traveled to Uganda for a two week urology camp at three hospitals in the Mbale region. The focus was on general urology where nearly 40 surgeries were performed, among them TURPs, TURBTs, urethroplasties, and VVF repairs.

This was my second visit to Mbale where I had the privilege of working with Dr Fred Kirya and his staff. Dr Kirya serves a patient population of approximately 7.5 million at three different hospitals. In addition he performs vesicovaginal fistula camps in remote areas of Uganda as well as South Sudan. As Dr. Kirya is quite fascicle with urethroplasties and VVF repair, our focus from a training standpoint was endoscopic cases, especially TURP. As we all know, open Prostatectomy is associated with longer operative time, greater blood loss with increased risk of transfusion, and longer hospital stay. By the nature of the Ugandan healthcare infrastructure, patients who have open prostatectomy typically stay in the hospital for two weeks, while we were able to discharge the patients managed with TURP in 2-3 days. The ability to efficiently do transurethral cases can be a force multiplier in a region that is already starved for medical resources, both human and capital. This is an ideal platform for the IVUmed teach one reach many philosophy.

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Simultaneous Surgeries in Uganda

As was my experience last year, my biggest takeaway is that although the goal is for the urologist representing IVUmed to provide the teaching, without question I can say that I learned more from the host urologist and staff than they did from me. As a result I will be a far more effective surgeon in my home community. The surgeons are very talented and are able to perform complicated surgeries with a handful of suboptimal instruments with a choice of maybe 10 types of suture. When one considers the multiple instrument sets in perfect condition and upwards of 300 varieties of suture to choose from, their abilities are all the more impressive.

While being faced with a critical lack of resources, the staff in Mbale is skilled, creative, and resourceful in a way that is hard to understand without seeing, and is simply inspiring. Many of these practices would not be suitable in the United States, but in the context of the current Ugandan health care system, they are a necessity. It provides a great perspective for all of the perceived difficulties that challenge us in the United States and an appreciation and how fortunate we are. Among the many challenges, the operating room is hot and humid, the equipment suboptimal, and one most do for one’s self as the surgeon what would be performed by multiple people. Power would go out at times. In one instance because it was at night someone used their phone flashlight to provide vision until the power came up a short while later. At times there were even two operations going on in the same room. Yet through all of this, I believe quality care and surgery are delivered.

Two Kids UgandaUganda is a country blessed with stunning physical beauty that is well matched by the kind and gracious nature of its people. A warm welcoming environment was provided for me in Mbale, and I have been able to create relationships that are best described as friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.”

Thank you Dr. Richter, for volunteering your time and expertise to change the lives of people all around the world.

Are you interested in volunteering with IVUmed?  Visit us here to find out how! http://www.ivumed.org/how-you-can-help/upcoming-volunteer-opportunities/

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IVUmed Resident Scholar Helen R . Levey, MD – Pune, India

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Dr. Helen Levey, Pune, India

The generous support of the Northeastern Section of the AUA made possible Dr. Helen Levey’s IVUmed scholarship experience in Pune, India. During her time there, Dr. Levey was able to participate and learn techniques from mentor Sanjay Kulkarni, MD, a world-respected reconstructive urologist.

After returning from the workshop, Dr. Levey reported, “The Hospital is owned and run by Dr. Kulkarni himself. He is a very kind man, who loves to teach, has deep spiritual rooting, and feels it’s his calling to help others in the way he does. He is a fierce learner and isn’t too proud to say that he doesn’t know everything and sometimes may not be the best surgeon to fix a particular patient.

He owns the 13 bed hospital which is called the Kulkarni Endo Surgical Hospital where he operates with his wife, a well-known laparoscopic general surgeon in Pune, India in one of their two OR suites in his hospital. As of February, when I arrived, he had already performed 62 urethroplasties for the year, albeit being away for two weeks in January. People come from all over to see him. Many, travel days or weeks by hitchhiking or begging for rides or merely walking. He performs over 400 surgeries a year. Roughly 200 people will pay full price, 100 will pay a subsidized amount for what they can afford and the other 100 surgeries he performs free to those that have no means for paying.

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IVUmed Medical Team in Pune, India

Compared to the 3 other hospitals I was able to visit and watch surgery performed, during my two weeks in India, Dr. Kulkarni’s Hospital is the most closely related to the US hospitals in terms of sound sterilization and sanitation as well as modern instruments and surgical technique. Over 75% of his patients are redos, redo-redos, or horrible pelvic fractures and things we almost never see in the US. The pathology of cases you see here is astounding and surreal. Dr. Kulkarin’s results are amazing. It’s as if he only had repaired a simple stricture, yet his pathology was many times worse and he still obtains sound improvements and repairs in his patient case load.”

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Exciting Announcement: IVUmed Adds New Team Member

Matt for blogOn April 1, 2015 Matt Gardner joined the IVUmed team as the new Program Manager. Matt, his wife Sara Marie, and their 9-month old daughter Georgiana recently relocated from Alexandria, Virginia.

Matt brings several years of experience managing international volunteer programs and has a master degree in International Affairs from the University of California San Diego where he focused on International Development and Non-profit Management.

From 2008-2013 he organized international partnerships for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), traveling to more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Southeast Europe. More recently, Matt worked for the Air-conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) as the Senior Manager of International Affairs, tracking global regulatory developments. Matt has lived abroad in both Chile and Taiwan and is fluent in Spanish.

You can reach Matt at (801) 524-0201 or Matt.Gardner@IVUmed.org.  IVUmed is thrilled to have him on board.

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Dr. Andrew Leone Travels to Vietnam With IVUmed

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                Dr. Leone and Vietnam Medical Team 2015

In March 2015 Andrew Leone, MD participated in IVUmed’s Resident Scholar Program, traveling to Hue, Vietnam. Dr. Leone was accompanied by a mentor, Lance Hampton, MD, an associate professor and the Director of Robotic Urology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Mary Ellen, MD (PGY4) also participated in the week-long visit at the hospital. During his trip to Vietnam, Dr. Leone spent four days at the Hue Central Hospital, participating in several cases and observing a variety of techniques related to different surgeries. Additionally, Dr. Leone had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Dr. Hampton at the local university and then present on one of his own unique cases to the Vietnamese urologists.

Regarding one particular case, Dr. Leone commented, “Open ureterolithotomy, 20-30 years ago, used to be the standard of care in the management of large ureteral stones. However, I have not seen a case during my entire 5 years of residency, let alone heard of anyone doing the operation. It was really amazing to see how it was done. The entire surgery took about 45 minutes and was impressive.” During his time in the operating room he observed, “Nothing was wasted. There was no such thing as disposable or single use. Everything was re-processed and reused including wires/stents/trocars.”

Reflecting on his overall experience, Dr. Leone reported, “Overall the trip exceeded my expectations and I was able to experience operating in a developing country with minimal resources and maximal efficiency of resource utilization. It was a tremendously valuable experience for me and the experience excited me about my hope in the future to regularly devote time to medical missions.”

Are you interested in becoming an IVUmed Traveling Resident Scholar? Apply today: http://www.ivumed.org/what-we-do/traveling-resident-scholars/

Dr. Andrew Leone in Vietnam

Dr. Andrew Leone in Vietnam

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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.