An IVUmed team visited Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for a reconstructive urology workshop at State Central Hospital #1. Dr. Michael Metro led the workshop and was joined by Drs. Ronak Gor, Min Jun, Fornati Bedell, & Tristan Juvet. The IVUmed team collaborated with local medical providers, including Drs. Myagmarsuren Purevsuren & Dagvadorj Bayan-Undur, who helped organize the workshop.
The IVUmed team served patients suffering from urological conditions while training local doctors and nurses. During the workshop, the team served 25 patients- two children & 23 adults. The team focused on urethroplasties, some with buccal mocosa and seven posterior urethroplasties.
The team returned home with positive feedback. Dr. Gor commented, “I had a wonderful experience.” Dr. Jun added that “everything went very well” and that “our hosts were great.” Dr. Michael Metro reported that it was, “great to see the entire host team on year two of my involvement and see what they have picked up and learned.”
This workshop focused heavily on teaching, embodying IVUmed’s motto Teach One, Reach Many. Dr. Gor beamed, “having the ability to utilize the skills afforded to me over the past eight years towards helping the local citizens of Mongolia and simultaneously teaching the local surgeons and residents was a dream come true. The evolution in their surgical skills with each case was remarkable and fulfilling. With each passing year I hope the number of cases for us will decrease as the local surgeons gain experience. This was an unforgettable experience that I look forward to remaining part of for years to come.”
Dr. Jun added, “we were definitely warmly welcomed, and there was a great sense of collegiality among us all. Everyone, from the surgeons to the scrub techs were very impressive in their eagerness to learn and how quickly they caught on to our ways. Perhaps most memorable, however, were the patients. All were just so grateful for an opportunity for a more normal life. There was a child with a congenital malformation who was actually operated on by a previous IVUmed team. He was definitely not on our radar as his condition was slightly outside of the narrow scope we were trying to confine ourselves in during this trip. We told the team that we were not going to operate on him. The boss eventually relented and we fixed what ended up being a urethroplasty and not a larger operation. The day after, this child was so happy. Through the pain he was all smiles on rounds. I have a great picture of him and Dr. Metro. On our last day, Dr. Metro was presented a framed picture of that photo with a message of thanks by the child. It was a poignant moment for me and a reminder of why we do what we do.”
Scholarships from the Northeastern Section and Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Urological Association made it possible for two Resident Scholars, Drs. Bedell & Juvet, to join the team. One of them commented, “the overall experience was incredibly positive. It allowed me to experience urology in a country where complex surgical procedures are not yet available. I was impressed by the surgical skills of the local team and their commitment to providing surgery to as many of their patients as possible by working incredibly hard during the entire week.” The other Resident Scholar expressed, “The trip taught me in so many ways. I sharpened my skills as a urologist and got to meet other urologists and see how hard working they were, which really inspired me.”
Thank you to Drs. Bedell, Gor, Jun, Juvet, & Metro for donating your time and expertise. Thank you to our partners in Mongolia, including Drs. Bayan-Under & Purevsuren, for being incredible hosts and ensuring the success of yet another workshop. And thank you to our generous donors. You – our dedicated volunteers, partners, and donors – make workshops like this possible.