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Women’s Month Feature: Kristin Chrouser

 

IVUmed Board Member and Volunteer:  Kristin Chrouser, MD

 

Dr. Kristin Chrouser was IVUmed’s first fellow and has been an IVUmed board member since 2004.

 

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Dr. Kristin Chrouser has trained and assisted doctors in Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, India, and elsewhere. Of her reconstructive urology work for women of Namibia, Dr. Chrouser stated, “the smiles and often spontaneous dances of joy that erupt when a woman leaves the hospital cured and dry make it all worthwhile”.

She became involved with IVUmed when she traveled to India as a Traveling Resident Scholar. She spent two weeks at a urology camp in Bhopal, India organized by local Hindu charity Jeev Sewa Sansthan (JSS), which translates as “Service to the Living”. The organization, founded on the principle that God is seen in all people, has founded several schools, an eye hospital, and provides several short-term urology and general surgery “camps” each year. IVUmed partners with JSS to provide US urologists and resident volunteers for JSS camps.

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India 100e

Dr. Chrouser and mentor Dr Sakti Das, a veteran IVUmed mentor and long-time India camp participant, scrubbed in together on dozens of cases.

About her experience in India, Dr Chrouser reflected:

“Surgically, I had an amazing experience. There were moments of frustration—language barriers, incorrect suture, no sterile forceps with teeth, scissors that refused to cut, inadequate anesthesia, but overall, given the environment, things ran very smoothly… I learned that a dorsal lumbotomy incision can be used to access the collecting system in an adult (with minimal need for post-operative analgesia), as long as you’re willing to work in a hole! I found that almost anything can be done under spinal anesthesia—as long as you don’t mind your patient watching you operate…Despite my inability to speak Hindi, I saw in the eyes of my patients a message of hope. It made me forget the small inconveniences of working in India and remember the real reason for service to others.”

 

 

Read more about Dr. Chrouser’s work on her website: www.freewebs.com/chrouser.

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FGM, the prevalence

Governments and religious groups denounce it, treaties and bills have been signed against it, organizations and activists worldwide protest it; yet 140 million women young and old worldwide suffer from it. Female genital mutilation (FGM) continues to have desolate effects on the progress of Women’s Rights and Healthcare worldwide.

“The practice of female circumcision is rooted in gender inequality, cultural identity, and notions of purity, modesty, beauty, status and honor. The practice has been continuing in Africa because of cultural, tribal and religious factors that vary from country to country.

“Reasons for the continuation and perpetuation linked to FGM include many myths and false misperceptions…”

Continue to read this in-depth article published by the African Journal of Urology here.

Urological conditions and traumas, including FGM, have tremendous social and cultural implications. Challenges arise in promoting awareness of their detrimental effects.  A picture of a saddened face does not describe the emotional, psychological, social and physical effects of urological conditions and traumas. The beautiful African-print fabric draped over an injured woman’s body can hide the burdens of FGM, vesico-vaginal fistula, or the inability to bear children.

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IVUmed Traveling Resident Scholar Report

Nitya Abraham, MD 
New York University 
 Kampala, Uganda – June 15-24, 2012 
Mentor: Dr. Susan Kalota 
Sponsored by: SUFU 

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Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU), Dr. Nitya Abraham traveled to Kampala, Uganda with mentor Dr. Susan Kalota to collaborate with the Urology Department at Mulago Hospital. While participating in cases and delivering lectures on female urology, Dr. Abraham was able to develop an understanding of the discrepancies in healthcare due to limited resources. As she now begins a female urology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic, her experiences in Uganda have helped shaped her career goals.

Reporting on her experience, Dr. Abraham stated:

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“I saw the photographs, I read the books, I watched the documentaries. I knew the need for medical assistance was great in places like Africa. Now finally I would be going to Kampala, Uganda for a female urology workshop through IVUmed. I embarked on the trip with excited eagerness, cheerful enthusiasm, and grandiose hopes to transform lives. But my high expectations were replaced with unanticipated disappointment. I left with a heavy heart, feeling powerless. Our trip seemed to me a ‘drop’ of help when an ‘ocean’ was needed. My idealistic naïveté was humbled by the unexpected challenges I encountered.

“My disappointment and remorse at the end of my IVUmed trip to Kampala stemmed from my inability to provide world class care to the patients there. Why should there be such disparity in the treatment of my patient in Cleveland and my patient in Kampala? What always seemed to be an abstract aspiration has now become a concrete goal after the IVUmed trip: I want to bring world class care to places like Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. This endeavor will be expensive, require a lot of time and effort, and will be difficult to accomplish, but I do believe it is possible.

  “I am grateful to IVUmed and SUFU for providing me this invaluable experience. It has opened my eyes and has changed how I envision my future career. One trip is just not enough. I strive to include international health care as a long-term commitment and integral part of my career because ‘every life deserves world class care.’”

For more information about IVUmed’s resident scholar program, including the current application and deadlines, please visit our website

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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.