Education & Training
Global Health Initiative
The Department of Neurology has partnered with the St. Luke Foundation and neurologists nationwide to provide a continuous neurologic presence in Port au Prince, Haiti. We hope this will be the first of many future endeavors to provide desperately needed neurologic care on a global scale. In addition, trainees and attending physicians gain exposure to a wide range of pathologies rarely seen in the U.S. and advance their clinical acumen with reliance on history and physical exam findings.
As a nonprofit institution, St. Luke has the same philosophy as Boston Medical Center to provide exceptional care, without exception. There is a tremendous need for neurologic care in Haiti, which only worsened after the devastating earthquake in 2010. With an extreme shortage of neurologists, patients with epilepsy, spinal cord difficulties, stroke, and many other conditions go undiagnosed and untreated.
Our First Adventure
Here is a glimpse into our adventures in Haiti:
We arrived in Haiti. Immediately after walking off the jet way, we are greeted by a live band playing soulful Caribbean tunes. It's a real Haitian welcome. We are picked up by the foundation staff and make our way through bustling streets and loose rock roads. We arrive at a gated compound; this will serve as our home.
Excited and eager, we arrive at the hospital chapel, where three hand woven stretchers lay in the middle. Father Rick (the priest and founder) held a daily funeral service for those who had died in the hospital the day prior, which started our day with humility and motivation to make a difference.
After the service, we hit the ground running. We started at the pediatric hospital, where we saw patients in the "Critique" (the ICU) and "Urgence" (the emergency room). By the time we made our way to the adult hospital, we already had consults lined up. We cared for over twenty patients that day in the ICU, wards, clinics and in a street side tent at both the adult and pediatric hospitals.
We cared for a young man who recently had two seizures. He had been in a car accident one year prior without major injury, but had been feeling more stressed recently and wasn't sleeping. He described seeing quick flashes of images from his life before his eyes, before going into a generalized seizure on two separate occasions. We thought he may be having seizures due to his prior trauma and asked for a CT scan to look for evidence of this. To our dismay, the young man had a brain mass in an area that could affect vision. We were not only able to provide him medications and education about his disorder, we were able to schedule follow up with our collaborating U.S. physician who we knew would be in Haiti the following month. We wrote to him and asked him to bring contrast, so the patient could have a contrast enhanced brain scan to better diagnose his brain mass. This is the continuity of care we hoped to provide even if we ourselves could not be there.
Although the work kept us busy, we were able to explore Port-au-Prince and saw some of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. It is evident that the rebuilding process will be a long and arduous one. We were also able to venture into mountains for spectacular views and natural air conditioning as ell, while mingling with the Haitian community.
This was a humbling, enriching, educational, and maturing experience both personally and professionally.
Thank you to all those who supported our efforts this year and hopefully for many years to come!
Our Fall 2013 Talent Show was a great success and helped us to reach our fundraising goal for this year!
Please check out these pictures and YouTube links to see what you missed:
1. Email the Global Health Team
at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering or coming on our Spring 2014 or Fall 2014 trips!
Neurology Global Health TeamCreator and Director: Veronica Santini, MD
Senior Ambassadors: Luciana Catanese, MD & Brigid Dwyer, MD
Junior Ambassador: Malveeka Sharma, MD
Nursing Ambassador: Marie August, RN
Medical Student Ambassador: Neil Datta, MS
Faculty Advisor: Anna DePold Hohler, MD (Attending)
2. Purchase a T-shirt for yourself or give one as a gift!
3. Make a Donation!
Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology