Dr. Anne Gill's Story

I have always had a desire to help in an underserved area of the world, and the Global Health Resident Scholarship program at Emory School of Medicine helped me accomplish this goal during my R3 year. After my application to the scholarship program was accepted, I attended many preparatory lectures about traveling to Ethiopia; however, I don’t think I was prepared for such a defining and life-changing experience. I chose to focus on establishing a model to train residents on the basics of ultrasound-guided liver biopsies. Ultrasound is a very accessible modality for third world countries, and the ultrasound-guided technique is relatively straightforward. The Ethiopian radiology residents do not get hands-on training in radiologic procedures, so I felt this would be worthwhile to their educational experience.

I collected all of the needed supplies while in Ethiopia, including: cow livers, olives (to represent solid lesions), plastic gloves, spinal needles, and syringes. I prepared a short introductory educational lecture for the residents about indications for biopsy, consents, materials needed, ultrasound-guided techniques, and patient observation/follow up after the procedure. Dr. Ryan Peterson and I prepared the tissue specimens. We used a travel knife to make lacerations in the liver, and then inserted olives to represent solid lesions and plastic glove fingers filled with water to represent cystic lesions. The residents practiced their ultrasound-guided technique using the spinal needles to “biopsy” the items buried in the liver tissue specimens. The mini-course was done over two days with participation from both junior and senior level residents. Due to the hands-on nature of the project the residents were extremely excited and enthusiastic about practicing this new skill. The opportunity to work with these intelligent and hardworking residents and to hopefully have aided their education was an experience I will never forget.

Fortunately, I have been able to share my travel experience and project at Emory School of Medicine’s Science of Graduate Medical Education Day (see poster) and the Emory Global Health Scholarship program. In March 2013, I discussed Emory’s Global Health Scholarship program with Addis Ababa’s Black Lion Hospital and presented my ultrasound-guided biopsy project during the RADAID webinar (see presentation).

Dates of Trip: March 10, 2013- April 6, 2014