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Resident Scholar Dr. Tan Travels to Senegal

Dr. James Tan’s IVUmed scholarship experience in Dakar, Senegal was made possible by the generous support of the South Central Section of the AUA. During his time in Senegal, Dr. Tan was accompanied by mentor, Francis Schneck, MD.

Dr. Tan, reflecting on his experience, reported, “We quickly got through our intake of 30 plus patients with efficiency despite some of us still recovering from severe jet lag.  Amongst these we chose the most appropriate cases to proceed with and scheduled them appropriately on each of the operative days.  Despite the facilities being much different from what we were used to we were quick to unpack and start cases the following day.  It was clear from the get go that the aim of our time would be focused on training the local doctors new techniques and procedures.  There was a willingness to allow the local surgeons to have as much hands on time and struggles as possible much like during our residency training.  This would not be a time of pure observation.  They would get valuable experience with cases they’d never seen before.  Each day was long and tiring but at the end of the day there was a satisfaction I had in working with a great group of people as a team helping the kids we operated on.

My goal as I progress in my career is to eventually do continuous short-term mission trips.  I made many valuable observations.  Organization was key as we had a set schedule from the minute we landed.  This demands an established relationship with the local people and doctors that can only be developed through years of working together much like Dr. Schneck had with the Grand Yoff hospital.  As I learned, two of the local urologists had spent time in the U.S. and had visited Dr. Schneck and Tina the nurse who traveled with us.  An additional element of a successful trip was the need to teach your skills to as many as possible.  As the old saying goes give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.  The same can be said for doctors.  The most helpful thing for the local people besides sending more doctors is to teach the doctors already there new skills and techniques so that they may reach as many people as possible even when the team leaves.”

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The Latest from Rwanda

As our IVUmed team wrapped up their week in Rwanda, Dr. Alli Greening reported,

“I’m now finishing up about 40 hours of air travel in a little over a week, am confused as to what time it is, and exhausted from a busy OR and teaching schedlue. I am also really excited to have identified some problems with the anesthesia education and hopefully our next steps in Rwanda. I am already figuring out how to improve anesthesia education there, and hopefully not only bring it up to a  level commiserate with their surgical capabilities,  but make it self sustaining by beginning to work with a core group of providers and develop a curriculum that they can then teach and disseminate to others, something both myself and Bob Nguyen feel is a key concept in this project.

Despite the jet lag and exhaustion, when Bob asked if any of us would like to return next year, every one of us immediately raised our hands. As I sat at the Hotel Des Mille Collines (former Hotel Rwanda) celebrating with a drink on the way to the airport with part of the team we remarked this was each of our favorite mission ever. The team dynamic had been phenomenal, we had seen really substantial progress in the two surgeons, and were talking about future direction with very appreciative and committed higher ups at both hospitals.

Cheers to Rwanda 2016!”

 

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IVUmed Teamwork in Rwanda

Regarding her current work in Rwanda, anesthesiologist Dr. Greening reported, “Well, it’s a lot of fun, though sometimes very frustrating,  which makes for great stories and strong bonds between the team members, who usually have never met before the trip. And really, as most (perhaps all) the people I have met who do mission work embody everything you would want in a best friend, the likelihood of having an awesome team is high. The idea of going not knowing your resources or people you will work with makes you better as a person and at what you do.”

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IVUmed Team in Rwanda

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Reporting from Rwanda

Dr. Alli Greening reported the following regarding work by the IVUmed currently in Rwanda for a week-long pediatric workshop:

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“Where to start… the first day in the theater at the military hospital in Kigali was today. Rather than a hospital for military personell this is more like a hospital run by the military for the people of Rwanda,  a place that attracts a number of high complexity cases from around the country. With this being the 4th of 5 trips we’re expecting the local team to be doing, well, most of the doing as we slowly step back.

We managed to meet our goal of getting 4 cases in each of our two rooms despite having an almost continuous string of roadblocks hurled at us.  As soon as I would start talking and drawing on a topic the Rwandans turned into rabid learners. At one point I could barely move, with two medical students,  two nurse anesthetists,  and a physician anesthesiologist all practically on top of me while I was talking about airway obstruction.  This is exactly why I love IVUmed so much, we’re not just swooping in, doing cases, and coming home, but are there primarily to teach and our Rwandan teammates are not going to let a morsel of knowledge get by them.”

– Dr. Alli Greening

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IVUmed Resident Scholar Dr. Michael Amirian Travels to Ghana

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Surgical Team

Dr. Michael Amirian’s IVUmed scholarship experience in Kumasi, Ghana was made possible by the general support of the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Urological Association. During his time in Ghana, Dr. Amirian was accompanied by mentor, Carlos Angel, MD.

Regarding his experience in Ghana, Dr. Amirian reported, “I immediately felt the warmth and selflessness of the other team members upon my first meeting with them.  Some, like Dr. Carlos Angel and Michael Felber RN were international mission veterans, having done many of these types of trips. Our other attending, Dr. Christi na Ching, had participated in IVUmed as a resident scholar during her urology training and could not wait to return as an attending.  It was my first trip of this nature but knowing others had been in my shoes before made me much more comfortable.

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In the OR – Ghana

While there were numerous complex cases of varying degree, one that I found particularly challenging was that of an 11-year-old girl. She was born with bladder exstrophy and had suffered her entire life with this condition.  Her bladder, after years of exposure to the environment, was ulcerated, and excoriated.  She was in constant pain.  She was completely incontinent. Needless to say, her quality of life was abysmal.  Many of the usual reconstructive options were limited as she would not have any long term accessibility to catheters. We reimplanted her ureters into her sigmoid colon, in a procedure named the modified Mainz II Pouch. It was remarkable to see her joy and big smile the next day when she looked down and no longer saw her constant source of pain.

Now that I have returned from my trip and have had a chance for introspection, I realize that I am included in the “many” of IVUmed’s mission statement, “Teach One, Reach Many”.   Thank you to the IVUmed organization for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this life altering trip as well as to the Mid Atlantic Section of the AUA for sponsoring me, and to Dr. Edouard Trabulsi for his mentorship and support.”

 

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