The UMKC School of Medicine is the 5K sponsor of the 2017 Hospital Hill Run – one of the most storied races in Missouri history. Originally created by SOM Founder Grey E. Dimond, the race attracts thousands to participate or volunteer in the family friendly UMKC School of Medicine 5K, as well as the 5K rerun, 10K or half marathon.
As the named sponsor of the UMKC School of Medicine 5K on Friday, June 2, at 7 p.m. – where strollers are welcome and families of all sizes are encouraged to take part – all UMKC staff, faculty, students and alumni may register at a discounted rate.
Participating UMKC staff and faculty also may earn points toward their wellness incentive programs by racing or volunteering. When registering for the Friday night or Saturday morning race events, use the code DISCUMKC for 20 percent savings.
In addition to improving your health and wellness, your participation in the Hospital Hill Run supports many local charities.
There are many ways to get involved in this year’s Hospital Hill Run. Volunteers are needed for all events: to help unwrap medals; pack post-race food packets; sort, stack, and pass out t-shirts; distribute bibs; set up and staff aid stations; cheer and steer participants on course; award medals; give wet towels, food, and hydration at the finish line; and race clean up.
Several trends in health care make the practice of compassionate medicine more difficult, but integrating the humanities into medical education can help produce more-caring physicians, Arno Kumagai, M.D., said at the second annual Noback-Burton Lecture.
“The first question is, What kind of doctors are we trying to create?” Kumagai asked in his April 28 lecture at the UMKC School of Medicine, titled “Ways of Seeing, Ways of Knowing: A Role for the Humanities in Medical Education.”
Kumagai, vice chair for education in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, argued that medical education should be moral education, promoting justice, compassion and “development of the empathic self.”
He said the rising emphasis on patient-centered care was welcome—and needed to counter current challenges and developments including:
Rapid technological change, which despite its possible benefits can be hard to keep up with and disruptive.
Turning medicine into a commodity and patients into customers. Conveyor belt medicine and measures of “productivity” work against the best care, Kumagai said.
The standardization of medical education. Though a wide range of essential skills must be imparted to every student, individuality and fresh and varied ways to see and engage with patients should be nurtured rather than sacrificed.
The ubiquity of electronic medical records, leading to typing into a computer crowding out human interaction, especially during a 15-minute conveyor belt style appointment.
Especially given these developments, Kumagai said, how do medical schools educate future physicians to best provide patient-centered care?
Integrating the humanities into the curriculum is certainly part of the answer, but moreover Kumagai argued for using the many ways that the humanities and art can get people to open their perception and see and know their patients and the world differently.
As an example, he said it had built empathy, and shown students the power of other people’s stories, to match medical students with patients with chronic conditions, and have them really get to know those patients. Valuable lessons come from such “deep listening and dialogue,” Kumagai said, and can keep doctors from seeing patients as their illnesses and not whole people.
“We often forget that at the heart of medicine lies the interaction we have with someone who suffers … a sacred space in which people become different than they are, including ourselves,” Kumagai said. “Medicine is ultimately the opportunity to bear witness to the mystery, tragedy and wonder of being human. And it is our duty as physicians not to look at this as extra. This humanism, humanities, is at the core of medicine. It is not an extra.”
This was the second year for the lecture series, endowed by James Riscoe, M.D. ’75, a member of the school’s third graduating class. Riscoe said he started the event to honor Richardson K. Noback, M.D., the first dean of the School of Medicine, and Jerry Burton, M.D. ’73, a classmate who is recognized as the first graduate of the medical school.
The School of Medicine’s Missouri Delta Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society welcomed its 2017 class of inductees during an annual celebration at Diastole.
Induction to the society is an honor that recognizes one’s excellence in academic scholarship and adherence to the highest ideals of professionalism in medicine. New AOA members are selected based on their character and values such as honesty, honorable conduct, morality, virtue, unselfishness, ethical ideals, dedication to serving others and leadership.
This year’s inductees included 12 new junior and senior students, residents and fellows, alumni and faculty.
Student inductees include: Junior AOA members Danielle Cunningham, Sanju Eswaran, Carlee Oakley and Vishal Thumar; and senior members Mohammed Alam, Jeffrey Klott and Reid Waldman. Resident and fellow inductees were Mouhanna Abu Ghanimeh, M.D., Katrina Lee Weaver, M.D., and Stephane L. Desouches, D.O.
Sajid Khan, M.D., ’05, was the alumni inductee and Dev Maulik, M.D., chairman of obstetrics and gynecology and senior associate dean for women’s health, was this year’s faculty inductee.
Twelve senior inductees were also selected last fall, including: Himachandana Atluri, Kayla Briggs, Molly Carnahan, Kevin Gibas, Neil Kapil, Susamita Kesh, Deborah Levy, Sean Mark, Luke Nayak, Amina Qayum, Dayne Voelker and Zara Wadood.
Richard Isaacson, M.D., ’01, delivered the annual AOA Lecture on May 5. Isaacson serves as director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic and Weill Cornell Memory Disorders Program at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He spoke on advances in the management of Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention.
Each Sunday since October 2004, students from the UMKC School of Medicine have volunteered the afternoon to care for the homeless and underprivileged living in the downtown area of Kansas City.
Today, the Sojourner Health Clinic continues to provide free health care for some of the city’s most vulnerable patients. Those volunteers have grown to include students from UMKC’s pharmacy, physician assistant, dental and dental hygiene programs. In the past year, students from Rockhurst College’s occupational therapy program have joined the effort.
Executive director of Sojourner, Peter Lazarz, said volunteers devoted more than 1,500 hours of service to treating patients in the past year.
The event also brings together faculty volunteers, financial supporters and community partners in celebration of the services provided to about 250 patients throughout the school year.
Several students were recognized for their individual dedication and service in the past year.
2017 Sojourner Clinic Awards
Top Year 1 Volunteer: Shruti Kumar
Top Year 2 Volunteer: Michele Yang
Top Year 3 Volunteer: Tong Cheng
Top Year 4 Volunteer: Bhavana Jasti
Top Year 5 Volunteer: Margaret Kirwin
Top Year 6 Volunteer: Eri Joyo
Top Physician Assistant Volunteer: Daniel Beck
Brook Nelson Award for Leadership: Priyesha Bijlani
A rapidly growing number of UMKC School of Medicine students are turning an eye toward the future and taking an active role in research opportunities.
That was on display at the latest Health Sciences Student Research Summit that took place on April 26 at the UMKC Student Union. Students from the School of Medicine presented a record number of research posters.
Paula Nichols, Ph.D., associate dean for research administration at the School of Medicine, said students are becoming more aware of the importance of medical research and how clinical practice and research are intertwined. It can also greatly enhance post-graduate opportunities, she said.
“These students are incredibly driven and motivated,” Nichols said. “To get into the more competitive residencies, you need to have completed a quality research project. I think students are looking at their future and saying, ‘I can do extremely well on the Step 1 and Step 2 Boards, but what’s going to help me step forward?’ Having a quality research project that they can discuss in their residency interviews will really help them.”
Students from the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, and Computing and Engineering participated in the event . The School of Medicine had the largest representation with 42 medical students presenting 46 research posters with five additional posters from outcomes researchers participating in the school’s masters programs.
Fifth-year medical student Fedra Fallahian presented a poster on the management challenges for medical complex children with cleft lip and palate. She began taking part in basic science research during her second year of school and has already given oral presentations on other projects at conferences in Las Vegas and Boston.
This was her first poster presentation on a clinical research project.
“It’s really interesting because you learn about something in the classroom and a lot of times you think this is so rare I’m not going to see this again,” she said. “Then you see the clinical correlation and the science behind it and the way the patient presents. It’s really exciting.”
She said her research mentors have been important in her growing interest in research.
“They’ve been so supportive of me and so invested in me and my projects,” Fallahian said. “It’s because of them that I like doing research. I definitely want to continue research in my residency and I’m interested in a career in academic medicine, so I’d like to continue with this even with I’m finished with my residency.”
Chizitam Ibezim, a third-year medical student, was presenting a poster that explores a growing wave of patient dependence on narcotics used as medications while recovering from fractures. He said his research has given him a good foundation for when begins his pharmacology class this summer.
“This project looks at a lot of pharmaceutical factors and I haven’t even taken pharmacology yet,” he said. “But this has allowed me to explore that and get a firm foothold into pharmaceuticals, how they’re prescribed and how medications work.”
Nichols said she was impressed with the research projects on display.
“The quality of the projects is amazing when you look at these students and see how well they can discuss the research and talk about the background, talk about the complications and discuss their findings,” she said.
Nichols said Michael Wacker, Ph.D., and Larry Dall, M.D., assistant deans for medical student research, and Agostino Molteni, M.D., Ph.D., director of student research, have been instrumental in getting more students involved in research activities.
“They’ve done an excellent job in coordinating student research and really helping students find the right research project, the right research mentor and placing them in (research) labs,” she said.
Eighteen students from the UMKC School of Medicine’s master’s program for Physician Assistants took the spotlight at the UMKC Student Union on April 15.
The class read aloud the Physician Assistant Professional Oath as part of the program’s White Coat Ceremony, marking a milestone in the journey toward completing the Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant degree.
At the School of Medicine, the annual rite takes place at the beginning of the students’ fifth semester of the seven-semester program. It signifies the time of students transitioning from the classroom to the clinical phase of their training.
This was the third year of the White Coat Ceremony for the school’s PA program, which celebrated its first graduating class last May.
Following a brief welcome and introductions from program director Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C, Jim Wooten, Pharm. D., and associate professor of medicine for the departments of Basic Medical Sciences and Internal Medicine, offered brief remarks of encouragement.
Members of the PA program faculty then placed the white coats on their students’ shoulders. The white coat is considered a mantle of the medical profession and the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care and expertise in the science of medicine.
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation initiated the White Coat Ceremony to welcome students into the medical profession and set expectations for their role as health care providers by having them read their professional oath. Today, nearly 97 percent of the AAMC-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, and many osteopathic schools of medicine conduct a White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation partnered with the Physician Assistant Education Association to provide funding to establish the first White Coat Ceremonies for PA programs at the end of 2013.
Timothy Hickman, M.D. ’80, M.Ed, M.P.H., F.A.A.P., associate teaching professor of biomedical and health informatics, has been selected to serve in two national positions.
He was recently elected as president of Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) Board of Directors. He has also been chosen as a representative of the American Academy of Pediatrics to serve on the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign Collaborative.
Hickman chaired the planning committee for the APTR annual meeting, Teaching Prevention 2017: Aligning Curriculum to Achieve Health Equity that took place in April in Savannah, Georgia. At the conference, he also presented a poster, “What do Medical Students Need to Know about Population Health and Preventive Medicine.”
He has been a member of the ATPR Board of Directors, the Paul Ambrose Scholars Planning Committee and the Board of Governors for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Working with the March of Dimes, Hickman will be part of the Clinical and Public Health Practice workgroup. He also currently serves as on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on epidemiology, public health and evidence.
The group is one of five March of Dimes workgroups designed to foster communities that provide the healthiest possible start to life for the most vulnerable newborn infants. Its purpose is to explore and share the best available research and experience to improve health-care practice and public health policy for newborn children.
The prematurity campaign collaborative was launched in 2003 to raise public awareness of the issues surrounding premature berths and to decrease premature births in the United States. It is made up of nearly 200 leaders in maternal and child health organizations throughout the nation.
School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter is pleased to announce several key appointments, as the school continues to align itself for the future.
The new appointments include:
Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D. MBA, Vice Dean;
Nurry Pirani, M.D., Associate Dean for Curriculum;
Stefanie Ellison, M.D., Associate Dean for Learning Initiatives;
Michael Wacker, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs;
Darla McCarthy, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Curriculum;
Jennifer Quaintance, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Assessment and Quality Improvement.
Cuddy will oversee associate deans for curriculum, learning initiatives, allied health and assessment and quality improvement, and he will continue as the Faculty Lead for the upcoming LCME site visit in April 2018. Prior to his new appointment, Cuddy served as senior associate dean for academic affairs and as chair of the coordinating committee since 2003. He has been member of UMKC faculty since 1981.
Pirani now serves as the associate dean for curriculum. Pirani joined the faculty in 2011 as a docent, and served as associate program director and chair of the clinical competency committee for the internal medicine residency program. Before her appointment to associate dean, Pirani served as the vice-chair clinician to the Council on Curriculum.
Ellison will now focus on service learning and interprofessional education initiatives at the school. Ellison served as associate dean for curriculum from 2010-2017, and she will continue to support two subcommittees preparing for the 2018 LCME accreditation visit. She joined the faculty in 2000.
Wacker, in his new role, will work with Cuddy on key academic affairs and faculty affairs initiatives. Prior to this appointment, Wacker served as assistant dean for student research. He joined the faculty in Biomedical Sciences in 2007.
McCarthy will serve as the school representative to UMKC undergraduate degree committees and will serve as a Council on Curriculum liaison to the Year 1-2 advising staff. She will continue to direct the USMLE Step 1 readiness assessment program at the school. McCarthy joined the faculty in 2012 in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
Quaintance served the past four years as director of the Office of Assessment and Quality Improvement. She will coordinate the efforts of a cadre of staff responsible for implementing and monitoring an ongoing series of assessment metrics that the schools’ councils will use to monitor the quality of our educational programs. She joined the faculty in 2005.
Kayla Briggs, a sixth-year student at UMKC School of Medicine, is part of an 11-person group that left on March 18 for the Dominican Republic on an eight-day medical mission trip.
The team consists of physicians, nurses, paramedics, an interpreter and Briggs.
“We can all contribute to make the world a better place both near and far.”
– Kayla Briggs
Working from the Good Samaritan Hospital in La Ramona, Dominican Republic, the group plans to spend the first two days in clinics meeting patients and assessing needs before spending the remainder of its time performing surgical procedures.
“We will have two operating rooms, one for general surgery and one for urology,” Briggs said.
The team will be performing elective procedures such as repairing hernias, removing gallbladders and excising masses all in hopes of preventing patients from encountering more serious complications in the future.
Briggs will serve as the first assistant in the operating room once the surgery procedures begin. She has already completed seven months of surgical rotations at UMKC. On March 17, which was Match Day, Briggs learned that she will begin a surgical residency at the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, this summer.
“I’ve done medical mission trips before but never a surgery trip, so I’m really excited about this trip,” she said.
The mission is a collaborative effort with the Dominican Republic Medical Fellowship.
Other members of the mission team include:
Glenn Talboy, M.D., Chair and Program Director of the UMKC Department of Surgery
Edna Talboy, interpreter
Teisha Shiozaki, M.D., chief resident, UMKC general surgery
Patrick Murphy, M.D., section chief, Children’s Mercy Department of Urology
John Gatti, M.D., director of minimally invasive urology, Children’s Mercy Department of Urology
Louise Davis, CRNA and mission trip coordinator
Reidun Fuemmler, CRNA
Scott Davis, CRNA
Vahe Ender, paramedic
Matt Libby, paramedic
DAY ONE, SATURDAY, MARCH 18
Today was quite the day – we had to be at the KCI airport at 4:30 am. After a relatively short layover in Chicago, we headed to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is a hot tourist destination and the airport shows it. The terminals are modeled after tropical huts with straw roofs.
Navigating customs was surprisingly easy. After picking up our five duffels and several rolling bags of surgical supplies, we headed to the exit where our bags were scanned once more. Our surgical instruments looked like weapons in the scanner and we were held for nearly 30 minutes trying to explain who we are and what we’re doing here. After lots of talking (shoutout to Edna Talboy for being an incredible translator), we were released.
We rented our cars (a van and sedan) and were on our way to La Romana – about a two hour drive. The highway system is what you see in the U.S. and was easy to navigate. Once in the city and at our mission, we unloaded our personal belongings.
The mission has separate bunks for women and men with a common room. All our sheets and linens are provided.
After a great dinner of roasted chicken, rice, and beans, we headed off to Jumbo. The only way I can describe it is a mix of Walmart, Target, H.E.B., and a department store … except much shinier. They have EVERYTHING – food, clothes, electronics, appliances, outdoor supplies, you name it. It was fun to browse the aisles and see what brands are similar and what’s different.
After picking up some snacks, we headed back to the mission to meet Matt and Vahe, the two paramedics joining our group from Boston. We then walked to the local restaurant and had ceviche, calamari, and bruschetta. Needless to say, we all slept like rocks after a long day of travel.
DAY TWO, SUNDAY, MARCH 19
Because it’s the weekend, we slept in a bit. Breakfast was served at 8 a.m. and was a hearty offering of pancakes, bacon, sausage, and fresh pineapple and papaya.
After breakfast, we headed off to Hospital el Buen Samaritano. It’s a private hospital that is funded by the Village Presbyterian Church. The operating rooms have the basics – anesthesia machines, overhead lights, and one even has a C-arm for taking X-rays during orthopedic cases.
We spent the morning organizing the plethora of supplies – laparoscopic equipment, suture, instruments, suction tubing, drapes, sterile water, sterile towels, liter boluses, etc. After dividing the two operating rooms (one for adults, one for children), we headed to Jumbo again to shop. Then it was time for lunch.
After a busy morning, garlicky noodles with chili and a short siesta was just what we needed. Our afternoon was spent seeing all the patients that had been identified in the bateys (rural areas where the sugar workers live) by the promotoras (health promoter) as needing surgery.
On the adult side, 21 patients were scheduled for pre-operative evaluation. Patients were asked about their past medical history, any prior surgeries, and if they’d ever had trouble with anesthesia. Twelve were scheduled on the adult side with three more that will be coming tomorrow for evaluation (transportation can be an issue for some).
I was reminded time and time again just how rusty my Spanish is. Without Alex and Edna, our amazing translators, it would be impossible to provide safe and smooth patient care. After refueling with a dinner of roasted pork, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots, we indulged in coconut pie and passion fruit cheesecake from a local bakery. We then fell into our nightly routine: a walk to Jumbo followed by relaxation at the restaurant. Tomorrow, we start operating at 8 a.m.!
DAY THREE, MONDAY, MARCH 20
Breakfast is served at 7 a.m. on the days we’re working. Oatmeal and fresh fruit energized us for the day ahead.
We arrived at the hospital just after 7:30 and patients showed up shortly thereafter. On the agenda for the adult room was a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removing the gallbladder), lipoma excision, and fibrous adenoma excision. The pediatric room performed three hernia repairs, one case involving the removal of a child’s extra digits (called polydactyly), and a ganglion cyst excision.
It felt great to be back in the OR! After the first two cases, we took a break outside in the courtyard to eat a lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches and rice. There’s nothing like enjoying a real sugar sweetened Fanta underneath the warm Dominican sun.
We finished operating at around 4 p.m. After monitoring our last patients for post-operative complications, we instructed them all to return to clinic on Friday for wound checks.
Lyla Graham, a 12-year old from back home, had family and friends donate gifts for the children in lieu of receiving birthday presents for herself. We toted around a drawing of Lyla that we lovingly named ‘Flat Lyla’ (in the tradition of Flat Stanley) and snapped a few photos of the children with their gifts. These were not only a great tool for distracting purposes, but were also the sweetest parting gift before sending the children home.
Muchas gracias, Lyla!
We experienced our first tropical rainstorm (what seemed like a torrential downpour) of the trip during our evening siesta time. Dinner was fantastic – roasted chicken, rice, beans with lentils, roasted carrots, and fresh cherry lime juice. Dessert was just as good – a massive chocolate layer cake filled with dulce de leche.
Tomorrow is our busy day. Can’t wait to update you all on how it goes!
DAY FOUR, TUESDAY, MARCH 21
WOW – what a day!
Teisha said something the other day that resonated with me. When she’s not busy, she has a tendency to be lazy. When she is busy, she is more energized. I found myself relating to that and I think most surgeons would agree – downtime or a lighter schedule is nice, but being busy makes you feel productive and useful.
Today was our busy (and productive) day.
The pediatric room performed three cases (all inguinal hernias). We did six cases on the adult general surgery side: one laparoscopic cholecystectomy, two lipoma excisions, two inguinal hernia repairs, and one add on hydrocele repair. We did our best to stay on a tight schedule. I got to help a lot with our first lipoma excision (on the back of the patient’s neck) and got to perform a significant portion of the lipoma excision on our next patient’s arm (with the expert assistance of Dr. Talboy, of course!).
The first case – the laparoscopic cholecystectomy – was not without a few hiccups. The power in the Dominican Republic is not as reliable as in the States. Just as we were achieving our critical view the power went off – taking away our “eyes” by cutting power to our camera and light cord. In the room next to us, an OB/GYN was performing a c-section. After three minutes of wondering when the backup generator was going to kick in, the lights flickered back on. We heard a newborn’s cries shortly thereafter, and finished the remaining cases without further incident.
Our meals were fantastic. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and fresh croissants. Lunch was empanadas and rice delivered to the hospital. Dinner was roasted chicken, pasta, potato salad, fried plantains, tres leches cake, and banana pineapple juice. I don’t think any of us will come back from this trip any slimmer.
Today, we broke from tradition and drove to Plaza Lama instead of walking to Jumbo. Different selection, similar massive super store idea.
Our schedule is all downhill from here! We have two lipoma excisions and one inguinal hernia repair tomorrow. I’m excited for the lipomas – they’re satisfying.
DAY FIVE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22
Today was an eventful day. We started off with a breakfast of French toast and bacon before heading off to the hospital. Our first case went off without a hitch – an uncomplicated bilateral inguinal hernia repair. Our second case was a slightly more complicated. After a few tense moments, we successfully repaired a patient’s hydrocele and hernia. He was admitted to the hospital and we will check on him tomorrow morning.
We followed with a simple forehead lipoma excision. While in the recovery room, the patient and his mother took a look at our work in the mirror and returned to shake our hands numerous times. They were so thankful to have such a simple but visible problem resolved. It was a great reminder of why we do this.
During our cases, two c-sections were performed in the OR next to us. We had so much fun fawning over the babies; they were so cute.
After a quick lunch of braised chicken and rice, we finished up all the cases (including three inguinal hernia repairs on the pediatric side) by 1 p.m. We all looked at each other knowingly and said, “Beach day? Beach day.”
We returned to Casa Pastoral to grab our swimsuits and sunblock before heading to a public beach in Bayahibe, a 30-minute drive from La Romana. The scene was picturesque. A bright sunny day, sandy beach, beautiful water, happy voices of people from all over the world carrying in the wind, and plenty of Lay’s limón potato chips (our favorite!). The waves were so tranquil, perfect for jumping in without being too rough. I haven’t been on a beach since my fourth year in the program and I had forgotten how much I missed the ocean.
Dinner was (once again) delicious. Braised pork, rice and beans, and carrots with cabbage. Dessert was a super rich, super tasty carrot cake. After dinner, we walked to the central square in La Romana and went to Trigo de Oro, a French bakery and restaurant. At about 8:30 p.m., yawns were circling the table and we decided it was time for bed.
Tomorrow is a quick day – two lipoma excisions. Dinner will be at a pizza parlor on the river. Can’t believe tomorrow is our last day of operating!
DAY SIX, THURSDAY, MARCH 23
¡Hola mis amigos!
The name of the game is to front-load cases at the beginning of the week to make room for any add-ons. Today was a lighter day; we were scheduled for two cases in the adult room and three in the pediatric room.
First, we checked in on the patients we admitted to the hospital yesterday. They were doing well and were discharged later in the day. Our first case was a neck mass excision that we initially thought was a lipoma. After removal, we discovered that it was actually an infected cyst. The second was a foot mass that turned out to be a ganglion cyst.
Our pre-op and post-op room is the same three-bed space. Because the cases are elective procedures on healthy patients, once the patient is alert, can eat and drink, and is able to walk, he or she can go home. For cases like the foot mass, you want to ensure the patient isn’t in pain and won’t move during the case. Our awesome CRNAs came up with the idea to lightly sedate the patient and administer an ankle block in the hopes of numbing up their foot. Not only did this work like a charm (the patient snored as we were cutting out the large mass) but will also provide extended pain relief.
After both rooms had completed their first two cases, we hung around and ate empanadas with a side of rice and beans for lunch. The third child never arrived so we decided to pack up our equipment.
Louise, our mission coordinator, has been on this trip 21 times. Dr. Murphy has been on it many times, too. They’re experts at identifying what leftover supplies can be donated, what we should save for next year, and what we’ll need when we come back. That’s one thing I’ve loved about this trip. It’s a sustainable effort and you don’t leave feeling that without your presence, the patients are abandoned.
After packing up our supplies in the hospital, we headed back to the mission to clean up. We ate at El Chiringuito, a local pizza shop. The food was incredible – chewy pizza crust, plenty of cheese, and lots of fresh ingredients. The company was excellent, too.
Tomorrow, we will see patients back in clinic for post-op wound checks. Our afternoon will be spent at the beach with plenty of sunblock and Lay’s limón chips. Hard to believe this trip is almost over.
DAY SEVEN, FRIDAY, MARCH 24
After a breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and orange juice, we headed to Hospital el Buen Samaritano one last time. Seeing our patients in the post-op clinic was immensely gratifying. Patients and their family members were so grateful for their operations.
I continue to be amazed by this patient population’s tolerance of pain. Even those who had their operations two days ago were walking, talking, smiling, and taking minimal amounts of Tylenol and ibuprofen.
At around 10:30 a.m. we headed back to Casa Pastoral to get ready for the beach. The combination of a hot car, fatigue, and some questionable arugula on our pizza left my stomach feeling questionable. I made the tough decision to sit out of beach day and rest instead.
Folks headed off to the beach at around 11:30 a.m. It was rainy most of the afternoon and when they came back cold and soaking wet, I knew I made the right decision to stay. After an afternoon siesta, we enjoyed one last family dinner of pork steaks with rice and beans and a dessert of tres leches cake and Neapolitan ice cream. Our evening was a little shopping at Jumbo, a walk around town, and packing our bags.
Tomorrow, we will head to the airport at 8 a.m. I can’t believe this adventure is coming to an end.
DAY EIGHT, SATURDAY, MARCH 25
After a breakfast of sweet rolls with coffee, we headed to the airport. The drive through the Dominican countryside was gorgeous, lush green landscape and seemingly endless sugarcane fields.
Customs was busy. All flights out of Punta Cana leave between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and lines were especially long because it’s spring break for many.
After a stop at Chicago’s Midway Airport, we finally arrived in Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. We all said our “goodbyes” and “see you laters” before going our separate ways. For those who’ve been on a mission trip, you understand the craving for a hot shower and your own bed near the end of the week. While I don’t want to speak for everyone, I’m positive we all slept like babies.
This has been the adventure of a lifetime and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share it with you! I hope to return to La Romana in the future as a surgery resident.
If you’re interested in going on a mission trip, I recommend finding one associated with an organization that has a permanent presence in the community you’re traveling to. This ensures that even after you are gone, the patients are still connected to care. And if foreign mission trips don’t fit into your budget, don’t forget about everyone in need in our own community and country. We can all contribute to make the world a better place both near and far.
At the Penn State College of Medicine, Michael Green, M.D., a physician and bioethicist at Penn State University’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, uses the medium of comics to help medical students share their experiences of medical school.
Each year, Green, who is also the vice chair of the Department of Humanities, offers a seminar-style class in which students are encouraged to create their own comic book to describe their time in medical school.
Green presented the 23rd William T. Sirridge, M.D., Medical Humanities Lecture on Thursday, March 16, at the UMKC School of Medicine. He described how comics have become mainstream in today’s culture. He said today’s comic strips and entire comic books touch on almost every topic in all genres.
“So it’s not surprising then that there would be some comics that have some relevance to medical education as well,” Green said.
That has led Green to offer a four-week course in Graphic Medicine, an Intersection of Comics and Medicine. And while a large number of his students’ comics describe and depict good experiences as medical students, one serious theme has surfaced: medical students being mistreated by their superiors.
Such experiences are supported by data from the Journal of the America Medical Association, which found that nearly four out of every 10 students surveyed say they have experienced mistreatment in medical school. Only half say they report it, out of fear of retribution.
According to Green, these numbers have remained consistent in surveys taken throughout the past five or six years. And the data is relevant, he said, because it goes on to show that those who experience mistreatment as medical students have twice the rate of burnout as other medical students.
“It is something we should care about and think about,” he said.