Reflecting on his experience in Mexico, Dr. Paulas Vyas wrote:
“The IVUmed trip to Mexico was a wonderful experience, augmented by a great host and trip leaders. While volunteerism has been a long-standing passion, IVUmed provided the ability to do so specific to my training and specialty. I was able to meet Drs. McCammon and Aube at the Atlanta airport on the way to Monterrey, Mexico; both proved to be great mentors and companions for the duration of the trip. Upon reaching our host, Dr. Suarez, lived up to every compliment spoken about him prior to arrival.
“Our first hospital in Saltillo was a great example of the purpose of our trip; the reconstructive surgeries Dr. Suarez and his colleagues had arranged for us proved to be perfect surgeries in which the OR attendees included general surgery residents, Ob / Gyn residents, and their faculty. We were able to not only describe to them the procedures, but also help guide them through the steps with their active involvement. These surgeries and the hospital also provided an insight into how a resource-limited environment is able to practice within its means yet still provide good quality of care.
“Upon completion of our time in Saltillo, we traveled to Monterrey. Monterrey exhibited a completely different environment; we were able to meet and connect with local physicians, including some from various locations, while operating with local urologists and urology residents. We were able to share knowledge of our practice while watching presentations and lectures regarding their techniques. During our time there, we were able to operate alongside the local urology residents and understand their training and how their hospitals and practice function. As part of the educational aspect of the trip, we performed a video broadcasted surgery of a urethroplasty with a buccal mucosa graft.
“Culturally, the trip provided a fulfilling experience of the local cuisine and activities. Dr. Suarez arranged for us to not only try many of the local restaurants, but also attend a local soccer match. Thus, this IVUmed trip was a very fulfilling trip – both in its mission of providing an educational experience for local healthcare professionals, but also in the personal growth and development of us as urology practitioners in the US. It was obvious that there is the opportunity to help in other countries, and in our discussions, we learned that there may even be a further need for specialized care such as pediatric urology, in these locations. I will certainly recommend IVUmed to co-residents and anyone interested in reaching out beyond our day-to-day practice.”