Edgar Torres Fernandez, MD
Edgar Torres Fernandez, MD
Internal Medicine · Austin, TX

UT Austin and AMPATH Kenya Collaboration

March 20th
Eldoret, Kenya

Project Description

My name is Edgar D. Torres Fernandez, and I am a third-year internal medicine resident at the University of Texas at Austin. I will continue my career in cardiology at Northwestern University in Chicago starting in July 2023. With the funds, if awarded, I plan to travel with co-residents and faculty from my institution to Eldoret, Kenya, to work with AMPATH Kenya in March-April 2023. AMPATH Kenya has been a partnership between Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, Kenya, and a consortium of North American medical schools for more than 30 years. The partnership aims to build sustainable, holistic health care in western Kenya and worldwide. AMPATH has multiple arms and projects, including direct care delivery, research, education, and empowerment of local communities. (www.ampathkenya.org)
As a Latino immigrant physician in the US, I am eager to share my voice and perspective with US and Kenyan colleagues in the global health space. I originally trained and worked in Paraguay and have learned the difference between North and South American healthcare systems. This opportunity in Kenya would afford me a unique chance to deepen that comparative understanding of healthcare systems worldwide.
Our group of trainees is planning to share knowledge in internal medicine, utilization of point of care ultrasound (POCUS) in clinical decision-making, and how to address preventive medicine focused on cardiovascular diseases in hospitalized patients. We will bring POCUS handheld devices and do training sessions on POCUS for Kenyan medical students and residents as we round and in dedicated afternoon teaching sessions. If the teaching sessions are successful, we hope to fundraise to purchase several POCUS devices for the Internal Medicine department in Eldoret. In addition, I hope to gain significant insights into how their healthcare system works and their ability to provide comprehensive care to such a large population with limited resources.

Population Served

AMPATH Kenya has provided services to over 8,000,000 people and trained 2,600 health professionals and community healthcare workers. Two communities impacted by AMPATH Kenya can potentially benefit from my project:
- Kenyan Medical Students and Residents: I will rotate with the internal medicine ward teams every day of the week and conduct POCUS teaching during morning rounds and afternoon teaching sessions.
- Kenyan Patients: I will interact with individual Kenyan patients and their families during internal medicine interactions.

Expected Impact

Our project will directly impact Kenyan learners and patients both in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. There will be a broader impact on accessibility to POCUS as a part of clinical decision-making in the Eldoret region in Kenya as I continue the substantial work done by others at MTRH. I hope to contribute to the growing work in global health and cardiovascular diseases, developing better models of accessible, culturally appropriate care. Finally, this project will allow me to learn about innovation and transformation of healthcare in a low-resource setting from my Kenyan colleagues. We are working on a different project with AMPATH Puebla, a collaborative effort between the University of Texas at Austin and the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. I hope my learnings from a more mature partnership with the program in Kenya will help with future program development in Austin, Texas, and Puebla, Mexico.
Lastly, the Dox Foundation’s support for global initiatives like this one and the use of powerful platforms like Doximity will amplify awareness and engagement in the healthcare community. Your support will enable me to contribute my voice as a US Latino physician in crucial global health collaboratives and thus help realize a more diverse and inclusive healthcare system worldwide.

Trip Photos & Recap

During my last year of residency training, I participated in a global health experience in Eldoret, Kenya, with AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare). AMPATH is a partnership between Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Moi University School of Medicine, and a consortium of twenty North American universities and institutions working together to care for more than 8 million Kenyans. Its goal is to provide comprehensive healthcare services to individuals and communities in western Kenya, focusing on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. This experience was eye-opening in providing a deep appreciation of the challenges in low-medium income countries (LMIC) and the impact that health interventions can have on different healthcare systems.

While in Eldoret, I worked at the AMPATH Centre at MTRH, participating in clinical rounds, consulting on patient cases, and assisting with procedures in the internal medicine wards and cardiac intensive care unit. I observed a mix of infectious diseases, primarily HIV/AIDS and malaria, and many cardiovascular and oncologic cases. Despite the challenges, I witnessed how the AMPATH team provided excellent care and support to their patients through clinical expertise, community outreach, and patient empowerment.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my experience was the opportunity to work alongside local healthcare providers and community health workers. Their dedication and commitment to their patients were truly inspiring, and I learned much from their expertise and cultural knowledge. The knowledge obtained from Kenya's first system of sustainable care and empowerment for an entire population taught me about tools and strategies to implement in communities in need here in the US.

My global health experience in Eldoret, Kenya, with AMPATH was an invaluable opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to the health and well-being of many Kenyans I have the privilege to meet. It renewed my purpose and commitment to providing compassionate, equitable, and effective healthcare to all individuals, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location. I truly appreciate the Dox Foundation's support and encouragement for physicians in the journey to build a better future for all.