By Kim Wages, RT(R), RDMS, Ultrasound Technologist III, Emory University Hospital Midtown
In October of 2018, I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Africa as part of Emory Radiology’s annual Global Health Initiative in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of Gayatri Joshi, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Emergency and Trauma Imaging, 2018 was the inaugural year of the Sonographer Global Health Grant. The grant makes it possible for an ultrasound technologist like me to accompany Emory Radiology faculty and residents to Ethiopia where they teach and work alongside the Ethiopian physicians and residents caring for patients at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital. Travel and program expenses for participating faculty and residents are funded with the support of Emory’s Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences and the Emory Global Health Resident Scholars Program (GHRSP).
The team that traveled from Emory to Ethiopia included Dr. Joshi, followed by Leann Linam, MD, associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Radiology; and residents Ryan Beck, MD, Darragh Brady, MD, and Nikhar Kingar, MD.
The main objective of our trip was to participate in the education of the Ethiopian physicians and residents using didactic lectures, board-reviews, radiology case read-outs and dictations, as well as hands-on teaching of clinical procedures and ultrasound scanning methods. With limited resources available, the Radiology Department at Tikur Anbessa Hospital relies heavily on the diagnostic capabilities of ultrasound. A large volume of sonographic exams is performed daily by the Ethiopian radiology residents, who begin scanning patients during their second year largely under the supervision of more senior residents. During my visit, I was able to assist daily in scanning patients, teaching ultrasound techniques and protocols, and helping with ultrasound-guided biopsies.
With the help of the GHRSP mini-grant program, we also were able to bring supplies to the hospital, including biopsy needles, catheters, sterile procedure supplies, and basic protective items such as gloves, gowns, soaps, and disinfectants. It was very gratifying to deliver and immediately see utilized these much-needed supplies that are basic to us, but that are often a luxury to them.
It was truly rewarding to be able to help on a global level in my profession, to provide care for the patients in the Ethiopian community, and to experience a different country and culture. I am humbled by everything I learned during my time there. Everyone we had contact with, from patients to healthcare colleagues to the Ethiopian people, was gracious, welcoming, and inclusive. Their warm smiles and friendly nature will stay with me always.
**If you have traveled globally this fiscal year ( 2018-2019) (while with Emory) to a) present, speak, or teach related to your clinical or research expertise, or b) if you completed a medical assignment tour or provided clinical care outside the United States. These activities could be performed either as a volunteer or for compensation. Make sure to fill out our Global Impact form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KTP966G.