IVUmed Traveling Resident Scholar Report

Geolani Dy, MD
University of Washington
Kumasi, Ghana
February 27 – March 6, 2016
Mentor: Venkata Rama Jayanthi, MD
Sponsored by:  Allergan Foundation



Allergan Foundation’s generous support made possible Dr. Geolani Dy’s recent IVUmed Traveling Resident Scholar experience in Kumasi, Ghana.  During the pediatric urology workshop there, Dr. Dy helped serve over 50 children.  IVUmed is grateful to Dr. Rama Jananthi from Nationwide Children’s Hospital for acting as Dr. Dy’s mentor.

Dr. Dy reported, “We evaluated over 50 boys and girls with a variety of congenital, traumatic and iatrogenic genitourinary conditions rarely seen by most urologists in the US.  We discussed surgical plans with families via our local physician counterparts, knowing that there were more than we could possibly manage surgically in a week. The remaining patients would wait until next year or until KATH urologists felt comfortable treating them independently.

“Frustrations led to great improvisation, mutual learning opportunities, and the realization that details we sweat in our home ORs may not warrant such angst.  Ultimately, the most difficult part was realizing that even if we had an extra few days to operate on all the patients, what we could provide in that time was not necessarily what they needed. It was the understanding that just because we can, does not mean we should. While this applies in all of medicine, a resource-limited setting makes this all the more obvious. The surgical knowledge our team possessed could not always be applied to our Ghanaian patients as it could to patients in Seattle, Washington or Columbus, Ohio, who have different access to follow-up care and supplies after surgery, who may have different cultural interpretations or expectations of their conditions, and who live daily existences with different functional demands.

“This IVUmed trip gave me insight that I had previously lacked after past medical trips as a student. It has never been clearer to me that providing the highest quality care requires a deep understanding of a patient’s sociocultural context, and as an important corollary, communication and medical decision-making that are truly patient-centered. It requires understanding the capacity of local providers, and doing what is within their means to manage and build upon once we have flown back across the globe. It requires a great deal of thought and effort beyond the operating room, which I look forward to cultivating over the course of my urologic career.”