Weill Bugando Pediatric Residents Learn and Train at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Bilateral Exchange
Pediatric residents from NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center have for years had the opportunity to travel the 7,200 miles to Mwanza, Tanzania to learn how medicine is practiced in Africa in a four-week exchange program.
Now it's the Tanzanian residents' turn.
This spring, two pediatric residents who studied at Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences and are currently training at Weill Bugando Medical College jetted across the Atlantic to learn what practicing medicine is like in the United States through the Medical College's bilateral exchange program.
"We came to learn," said Dr. Rehema Simbauranga, "and we did."
Dr. Simbauranga and her fellow resident Dr. Maimuna Ahmed spent four weeks from May 7 to June 1 working at the Komansky Center for Children's Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.
A week at the neonatal intensive care unit. A week on the inpatient floors. And two weeks in outpatient care, the pediatric emergency department and urgent care clinic. They attended grand rounds and conferences, and were mentored by numerous faculty and residents.
"For me, the teaching, the materials I got were wonderful," Dr. Simbauranga said.
There is a difference in medical practice between New York and Mwanza. For example, doctors in New York rely on better diagnostic tools than doctors in Mwanza.
But the one constant, no matter where doctors practice, is the commitment to medicine.
"If you decide to be a doctor, you need to feel it in your heart and be committed," said Dr. Ahmed.
Weill Cornell Medical College initiated the exchange program in Tanzania several years ago to strengthen medical education at Weill Bugando Medical College and at Bugando Medical Centre and improve and expand Tanzania's core of health care providers.
Led by Dr. Robert Peck, assistant professor of Medicine and assistant professor of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell who practices in Mwanza, residents from New York learn about health care delivery in developing countries, how to diagnose in a resource-poor setting, pediatric morbidity and mortality in developing countries and tropical diseases.
"When our residents are in Tanzania, they recognize how difficult it is to manage the care of neonatal and pediatric patients because of a lack of resources," said Dr. Jennifer DiPace, residency program director for the Weill Cornell Department of Pediatrics. "If we could give exposure to the potential care that is out there, boost commitment and motivation, we could plant the seeds for change."
With that in mind, the Department of Pediatrics proposed a bilateral exchange that could spark that change and provided the funding to bring Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Simbauranga here.
"We believed this could be something huge if we could do a bilateral exchange going forward," said Dr. Jaspreet Loyal, former chief resident for pediatrics.
"Everyone was interested to go for this exchange program, fortunately we got this opportunity to visit Weill Cornell" Dr. Ahmed said.
They were pleased when they learned they were going to New York to learn. For Weill Cornell doctors, the feeling was mutual. The Tanzanian residents hosted conferences and lectures to share their knowledge with doctors here.
"We knew that we had as much to learn from them as they did from us," Dr. DiPace said.
Armed with what they've learned, Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Simbauranga returned home earlier this month to share this experience to their colleagues.
"We can share what we learned so they can see a different way to practice medicine," said Dr. Simbauranga.
June 28, 2012