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.
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.”