Kaila Wechsler, DO
Kaila Wechsler, DO
Resident Physician · Pittsburgh, PA

Educational Impact - Guyana

February 19th
Georgetown, Guyana

Project Description

On this trip, I will be providing hands-on medical care in an inpatient setting at the Georgetown Public Hospital and partnering clinics in Guyana. I will also be spending several weeks providing care for locals that require inpatient isolation and treatment of Tuberculosis. All services are voluntary and will be provided free of charge. Additionally, my team and I will be holding consistent medical education training sessions for local healthcare providers and students with an emphasis on preventative care and evidence-based practices.

Population Served

Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) was chosen due to the consistent partnership between this institution and my own home institution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our strengthened relationship allows for a more enriching educational environment, as our Guyanese hosts are committed to cross-cultural exchange and education as a means to better serve their community in the future. With this in mind, we will be including the GPHC faculty in our educational development series along with medical residents and students. The aim is to improve local safety and health through education. During this trip, I will be providing services to the general Guyanese public including inpatient medical management, treatment of infectious diseases, and outpatient clinic services. Furthermore, the Senior Vice President and the Chief Clinical Officer of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Allegheny Health Network/Highmark Health, Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, is developing a non-profit with GPHC to assist in combating the elevated infant-child mortality in Guyana which is an additional population we strive to work with during this trip.

Expected Impact

Guyana’s healthcare systems will see continued growth through local education at various levels of training and resource assistance. This will have a lasting impact on the general health of the Guyanese population even after we depart. As a teaching facility, our hands-on approach and educational series will reach a wide range of healthcare providers, from attending physicians to medical students. This will allow for a multifaceted impact and engage providers to continue pursuing medical education with population health at the forefront. For the people of Guyana, as a country that falls below the average Health Security Index, these services will have a significant impact. Furthermore, Georgetown Public Hospital is one of the main facilities in the region. Our goal, along with the addition of our developing non-profit, is to provide GPHC with the tools, access, and resources that can then be dispersed to additional facilities across the country. This will allow for meaningful change and generational impact throughout the nation.

Trip Photos & Recap

My trip to Georgetown, Guyana was humbling, adventurous, and an overall amazing experience. I got the opportunity to work with the country’s only certified Infectious Disease doctor, several of the residents who work tireless hours, and a cluster of medical students. As one of the only teaching hospitals, Georgetown Public Hospital is home to an array of patient populations and pathologies. In the setting of all of this, I think I had the greatest impact on the medical students and residents. Early in my trip, I learned that many of the medical students (depending on which school they’re from) receive zero formal lectures during their clinical years. They were thirsty for knowledge and often had a difficult time translating patient care from textbooks to clinical practice. My colleague and I decided to hold case-based daily lectures on the topic of their choosing. In doing so, we were able to watch the students grow and form friendships with many of them. One of my proudest moments was watching one of my students correct recognize Lupus Nephritis, a topic we had previously spoken about. Her keen diagnosis saved the patient from a multitude of unnecessary tests and lasting consequences of misdiagnosis. Working with the students helped to renew my early love and enthusiasm for medicine. I hope that our time and lectures with them made a lasting impression and will ultimately help them to become better doctors. The Students, the Residents, and the Patients certainly left a lasting impression on me.