Global Health Experiences

Many Med-Peds residents are interested in global health. Given our unique training, Med-Peds physicians are well positioned to provide a wide range of health care services to the world’s neediest populations. Med-Peds residents at Prisma Health Upstate have undertaken a variety of international trips to provide medical care and relief around the world.  Prisma Health Upstate has been very supportive of global health trips and residents may participate in as many as two month long trips during residency.  This is a list of international experiences recently undertaken by our Med-Peds residents, highlighting first our three most popular global health trips to Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya.

Brazil

The annual Brazil medical mission trip (video) is very popular with residents that occur every fall (October to November) to Brazil that is led by former Med-Peds graduate, Dr. Jeremy Byrd (Class of 2009). Dr. Byrd has led several two-week electives involving our Med-Peds residents traveling to both Brazil and Honduras. Multiple Med-Peds alumni have gone on this mission trip and some have completed the trip multiple times (see table below). Multiple pediatric residents and residency alumni have also attended. This is a two-week elective that will be completed with most days being spent in Fortaleza, Brazil. Residents will conduct medical physicals and triage visits with the children of Davis Lar Orphanage and in favelas (a Brazilian slum) in Oitao Pretoa with a local organization called Shine that focuses on children that live on the street. Working here will enable residents/students to witness and better understand the environments from which many of the children at the orphanage have come. They will also staff “walk-in” clinics in the Brazil interior and countryside in neighborhoods, churches or hospitals. Click here for the Brazil-Curriculum-2017

Residents and faculty completing Brazil Experience:

Med-Peds Pediatrics
Class of 2020 – Kevin White
Class of 2019 –  Lece Webb (2x)
Class of 2017 – Andy Burgess and Shannon Burgess
Class of 2016 – Sarah Wells (2x)
Class of 2015 – Senthuran Ravindran
Class of 2015 – Laura Johnson (3x)
Class of 2012 – Carole Mercer (2x)
Class of 2011 – Amanda O’Kelly (7x)
Class of 2009 – Jeremy Byrd (11x)
Class of 2008 – Greg Johnson (9x)
Class of 2018 – Grace Twitty
Class of 2013 – DeAnna Ball
Class of 2013 – Tamara Johnson
Class of 2010 – Miranda Worster (5x)

Guatemala

Residents are also able to volunteer on multiple medical mission trips to Guatemala yearly through True North Missions, a non-profit organization founded in 2000 with the express purpose of providing primary medical and dental care to the underserved children of Central America, led by Dr. Alan Barber (DDS) and an assigned physician leader. In 2017, there are four medical trips yearly – two in September-October and two in January but most residents have gone on trips in the Fall. This has been more popular medical mission trip amongst Pediatric residents (list below) but both Sarah Hinton and Sen Ravindran – alumni and now Med-Peds faculty – have gone on this trip and highly recommend this trip for all Med-Peds residents as well. Residents will travel by boat down the Rio Dulce river flowing from Lake Isabel to the Gulf of Honduras and staff “walk-in” clinics in the very isolated villages off the Rio Dulce river such as El Cedro and Las Laureles that are on the banks, up small tributaries or a short mountain hike away. They will also work at Casa Guatemala Orphanage performing medical physicals and focused triage visits. Further mission trip detail and general information on https://truenorthmissions.com. Click here for True North Missions – Volunteer Info.

Residents and Faculty completing Guatemala Experience

Med-Peds Pediatrics
Class of 2015 – Sen Ravindran
Class of 2014 – Sarah Hinton
Class of 2015 – Elizabeth Shirley (2x – lead teams)
Class of 2014 – Ryan Bromm (2x)
Class of 2014 – Jessica Boyd (2x)
Class of 2012 – Melissa Garganta (3x)
Class of 2012 – Ann Marie Patterson (5x – lead teams)
Former G.H.S. Pediatric residency program director – Kerry Sease

Kenya

Teresa Williams, one of our Med-Peds Hospitalists and 2016 graduates did a month long rotation at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya as a resident at Prisma Health.  Two pediatric graduates, Sarah and Bryan Eriksen, also went on a month long rotation, working predominantly on the Pediatric wards and NICU respectively, in 2013, prior to Teresa’s global health trip. Below is her description of this experience:

“During my 3rd year, I was privileged to serve through Samaritan’s Purse at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. The hospital has approximately 280 beds and serves as a regional referral center for northern Kenya and is the top pediatric neurosurgical center in Eastern Africa. Staff members are approximately 50% Kenyan and 50% expatriate. Kijabe houses programs for training young physicians and nurses from all over Africa. The rotation encompassed 4 weeks, though what I learned there easily could have engrossed 4 years. It was true med-peds at its best.

I worked for 2 weeks on the woman’s ward where I was in charge of patients the hospital’s step-down unit.  During that time I took call as the supervising physician where I saw TB meningitis, malaria, and advanced stage HIV, among other things. I had the opportunity to supervise the Kenyan interns and teach a few lectures. Daunting as it was, I was always supported by the local staff who were just a phone call away (and a short walk up the road, as they all live within walking distance to the hospital).

In my last 2 weeks I shared time in the NICU, pediatric ward, and outpatient pediatric clinic. There I worked through one of the worst multidrug resistant outbreaks the NICU had ever seen, cared for many children with severe hydrocephalus, and helped the team work up a host of children with various infections including tetanus. I also had a chance to teach and supervise throughout my time with the pediatric team.

Kijabe was an experience that I will never forget. It helped to hone my physical diagnosis skills, introduced me to new pathology and new ways of approaching old pathology, built my confidence as a physician, and made me appreciate all that we have in US healthcare. It also reminded me why I was called in to medicine in the first place and overall made me a better med-peds doctor. If you are interested in hearing more, feel free to read through the blog I wrote in my time there:  www.williamsinkenya.blogspot.com

I’d love to help you set up your own Kijabe experience, so feel free to contact me at Teresa.Williams3@prismahealth.org.”

Haiti

Drew Goldsmith, a 2011 Med-Peds graduate who was the sole recipient of the Lily M. and G.D. Jackson Award and the national Med-Peds Program Director’s Walter Tunnessen Award given to the 4th year Med-Peds resident nationwide who best demonstrates the values of dedicated patient care, excellent teaching, and patient advocacy, went on two separate international medical trips during his Med-Peds residency to Haiti, the first time accompanied with Dr. Mark Call (Adult Infectious Disease) and Bill Curran (Adult Critical Care/Pulmonary) to Port au Prince right after the devastating earthquake in 2010. He has returned to Haiti once after training and most recently to Gonaives, Haiti where he and his team set up a medical clinic in partnership with Mission to the World and a local Haitian church. During these short term trips, they provided primary care to the church members there and their surrounding community which is one of the poorest in Haiti.

Other Experiences

Global Health experiences are not limited to these locations.  A resident may arrange for any international medical trips of their choosing as long as they adhere to the guidelines set by the Graduate Medical Education Committee Policy.  As an example,  Dr. Sarah Hinton, a 2014 graduate and one of our Med-Peds faculty members, completed an elective on border medicine and environmental health through the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) program though the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine in San Antonio. She spent a month in Laredo, Texas, a city on the Texas-Mexico border. During this elective, Sarah studied many of the health care challenges and public health threats that are commonly encountered on the expansive Texas-Mexico border.

Her experiences included:

  • Touring community health centers and the local health department
  • Participating in a disaster preparedness exercise
  • Visiting a border crossing station
  • Touring some of the most impoverished areas on the border
  • Meeting with community health workers
  • Visiting various public works locations (water treatment centers, waste disposal centers, animal control, etc.)
  • Performing mosquito control assessments
  • Performing water quality testing on the Rio Grande and more

Prisma Health Graduate Medical Education Committee Policy on International Electives:

INTERNATIONAL ELECTIVES
It is the policy of the Prisma Health Upstate Graduate Medical Education Committee that residency programs may provide elective educational opportunities at international sites. Each rotation must be acceptable within the individual residency program curriculum and the related ACGME/RRC requirements. Approved residents:

  • Must meet minimum competency-based academic standards as determined by the related residency program.
  • May be required to present her/his experience to the Department.
  • Are responsible for obtaining all appropriate vaccinations as designated by an international health clinic and providing certification of emergency of-of-country medical care coverage.
  • Are responsible for formal medical clearance by their personal physician for travel to the specific area.
  • May use their individual education allowance money at the discretion of the Program Director. Any remaining finances beyond the education allowance resource will be the responsibility of the resident physicians.

A formal application (supplied through the residency program office) will be completed and must be submitted three (3) months prior to the anticipated beginning of the international elective. The application must receive signatory approval by the Program Director and the Designated Institutional Official. The resident physician will not be insured through the Greenville Health System malpractice coverage and must obtain separate malpractice coverage, if available.

For a copy of the referenced three-part application form, see the Residency Program Coordinator.