POSNA Microgrant 2018
Michael Horan, MD and Kevin Williams, MD
Resident Benefits on Education and Cultural Sensitivity from Pediatric Orthopaedic Mission Trips to Underserved Regions
Our project was to create a pediatric orthopaedic initiative in Ecuador for future resident participation. Ecuador has a standing need for orthopedic surgeons in general. Much of the pediatric population in Ecuador, especially in rural portions, is incredibly underserved. Dr. Michael Horan, along with a contingent from Shriner’s Hospitals in Kentucky, aim to change that. Their goal is to also create resident interest and a sustainable mission to Ecuador.
We used the microgrant to help fund my travel expenses to reach Ecuador in order to demonstrate the value of a resident to help with both the work load and also to gain valuable experience in diagnosing and treating the natural course of many orthopedic pathologies. During our week there, we began on Sunday by having a very successful clinic. We signed up roughly 25 surgeries for the week. During the week we ended up performing 27 procedures which mainly were soft tissue based, given that we did not have intraoperative fluoroscopic availability. These ranged from open hip reductions to multiple tenotomies for cerebral palsy patients. We additionally were fortunate to have a hand surgeon attend as well who followed up on many of his previous patients and performed several hand surgeries. This resulted in a positive experience for both the patients and the mission.
In terms of surgical care, I was able to take part in roughly 18 surgeries. As a 5th year resident I was able to lead many of these cases under the auspices of one of the 4 orthopedic attending surgeons. I developed the schedule for the week and participated in continued clinical care. I also took part in the prosthetic portion of the trip and aided in fitting and placement of braces and ambulatory devices. Additionally, I was able to pursue my interest in pediatric orthopedics and observe some of the natural processes of these pathologies which are rarely seen today in the US. In terms of our overall goal, we achieved a successful outcome.
One grand rounds presentation was given to the faculty of the Palmetto Health Orthopedic Center regarding the trip as well as the future of medical mission work. It will hopefully break ground for our continued resident participation in the Ecuador trip. Given my experience, I chose to apply for a pediatric orthopedic fellowship and was accepted. I plan to attend the Ecuador trip as a fellow and even onward as an attending if possible. We are also putting together a research database for the mission, so as to keep track of our progress and follow our outcomes.