The UC Davis Radiology department has a long standing partnership with radiologists at the Haiti State University Hospital. As part of this program UC Davis regularly sends radiology residents and physicians to Haiti to conduct educational outreach. I will be attending one of these sessions in late October, 2018. The goals of our trip are to share knowledge and technological expertise with our Haitian colleagues, to enable collaborative projects, and to broaden our experience with underserved populations and their medical problems.
Haiti is one of the poorest and most under-served nations in the world. Our primary aim is to improve Haiti's healthcare by expanding access to modern radiology technologies and techniques. To this aim we work closely with and conduct several teaching sessions with the Haitian radiologists, many of whom are inexperienced with advanced imaging modalities. We also provide books and other educational materials to the Haitian residents, who have limited access to the most up-to-date radiology resources.
Overall, our expected impact is to broaden the knowledge base of our Haitian colleagues so that they may better serve their patients. In addition, both Haitian and American residents develop social connections that can hopefully foster further collaboration and education. For example, Haitian residents frequently visit us at UC Davis to pursue additional advanced training, and we often pursue research projects in collaboration with our Haitian counterparts. For the American residents, Haiti provides a unique opportunity to learn about diseases and conditions that we may otherwise never encounter in our regular training. Ultimately, we hope that our outreach missions will result in long term friendships and collaborations such we can continue to learn from each other.
I traveled to Haiti along with my mentor, Dr. Rebecca Stein-Wexler. The purpose of our trip was to teach and to bolster the lone radiology residency program in the country. We spent the majority of the trip lecturing to the radiology residents. I focused on teaching MSK radiology concepts, specifically those for which they receive little formal training (photo 1). I made sure to join in on some of their work too (photo 2). In between lecturing we spent some time trouble-shooting a malfunctioning ultrasound machine - parts can be hard to come by in Haiti.
The remainder of our trip was spent observing the daily routine of the Haitian doctors. The highlight here was watching Mike, a recent grad and former student of Dr. Stein-Wexler, showing off his skills to the up-and-coming radiologists and his colleagues at the pediatric hospital.
Our goal is to improve healthcare in Haiti by building a comprehensive radiology curriculum for the Haitian residents, comparable to the training we get in the US. We also want to forge long-term partnerships where we can continue to learn from each other. The end of our trip signaled the beginning of Ricardo's, one of the current senior residents, as he will be joining us for a month in California.
This was my first trip to Haiti - my first trip to any 3rd world country - and my experience is best described as "eye-opening." The country itself is a chaotic mix of extreme poverty and traces of the modern industrialized world. The conditions of the general hospital are meager, with patients waiting outdoors among discarded, broken-down x-ray machines and refuse (photo 3). And the Haitian residents were eye opening. The challenges they face personally and professionally make ours in the USA feel rather trivial. And yet, they are some of the most enthusiastic and hard-working students I have seen. It was truly gratifying to meet them and to be involved in their education. Thanks Doximity for helping to make my trip possible!