Global Health Experiences
As worldwide communities become more interconnected, a growing number of residents have an interest in global health. International rotations provide a unique opportunity for residents to not only provide care in some of the world’s most resource limited areas, but also to develop their own clinical skills and understanding of social determinants of health. The Greenville Health System has been very supportive of global health trips and residents may participate in as many as two month long trips during residency. Residents are encouraged to participate in established GHS rotations sites, to continue working with sites they visited prior to residency, or to explore new locations. Residents at GHS have undertaken a variety of international trips to provide medical care and relief around the world. Some of the most popular established global health experiences include Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya.
The annual Brazil medical mission trip is very popular with residents and occurs every fall (October to November) led by former Med-Peds graduate, Dr. Jeremy Byrd (Class of 2009). Dr. Byrd has led several two-week electives to both Brazil and Honduras. A list of Pediatric and Med/Peds residents participating in this trip in the past decade is listed below. Residents are often joined by program alumni within our faculty and surrounding practices. 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 elective curriculum.
Residents and faculty completing Brazil Experience:
- Class of 2019 – Lece Webb (Med/Peds)
- Class of 2018 – Grace Twitty (Peds), Andy Burgess and Shannon Burgess (Med/Peds)
- Class of 2016 – Sarah Wells, x 2 trips (Med/Peds)
- Class of 2015 – Senthuran Ravindran (Med/Peds), Laura Johnson (Med/Peds), Ray Davis (Peds), and Jennifer Harling (Peds)
- Class of 2013 – DeAnna Ball (Peds) and Tamara Johnson (Peds)
- Class of 2012 – Carole Mercer, 2 trips (Med/Peds)
- Class of 2011 – Amanda O’Kelly, 7 trips (Med/Peds)
- Class of 2010 – Miranda Worster, 5 trips (Peds)
- Class of 2009 – Jeremy Byrd, 10 trips and counting! (Med/Peds)
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. As of 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. 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
- Class of 2015 – Sen Ravindran (Med/Peds) and Elizabeth Shirley, 2 trips (Peds)
- Class of 2014 – Sarah Hinton (Med/Peds), Jessica Boyd, 2 trips (Peds) and Ryan Bromm, 2 trips (Peds)
- Class of 2013 – Erin Bhatia (Peds)
- Class of 2012 – Melissa Garganta, 3 trips (Peds) and Ann Marie Patterson, 5 trips (Peds)
- Former G.H.S. Pediatric residency program director – Kerry Sease
The global health rotation in Kenya was established in 2013 by two pediatric residents, Sarah and Bryan Eriksen, who spend a month long rotation working at Kijabe Hospital in the Pediatric wards and NICU respectively. One of our Med-Peds residents and former pediatric chief resident, Teresa Williams, completed a month long rotation at this site in 2015. 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…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.”
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. Andreea Stoichita, a 2018 graduate and one of the 2018-2019 Assistant Program Directors, followed her own roots and completed an elective in her birth country of Romania.
Residents can also pursue electives that address international concerns but are closer to home- such as the 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 completed by Dr. Sarah Hinton, a med-peds residency graduate and our adolescent medicine course director. 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 participating in a disaster preparedness exercise, visiting a border crossing station and community health worker sites, touring some of the most impoverished areas on the border, and performing mosquito control and water quality testing assessments on the Rio Grande.