Opportunities for health care providers to participate in medical missions are numerous. One highly-trafficked "mission matching" web site lists over 2,700 missions to Africa alone.
While the rewards of providing care in a developing country can be many, so too are some of the challenges for physicians who are used to the advanced environment of a US health care facility. Specialists contemplating a mission frequently feel the need to brush up on their primary care skills and even experienced primary care physicians seek additional skills to provide competent care in a field location that sometimes lacks even the basics of developed infrastructure – electricity, running water and paved roads, for example.
OHSU's Global Health Center offers a unique course for physicians who are interested in volunteering overseas in low income countries. The course covers a wide range of topics, from infectious disease to basic dentistry and dermatology. Small class size allows hands-on training in ultrasound, casting fractures, regional block anesthesia, suturing, intubation, breech deliveries and microscopic examination of stool and blood samples.
Now in its third year, the course's graduates have served on 32 overseas missions to 18 countries world-wide. In addition, more than half of the graduates continue to volunteer in free medical clinics where they are able to keep up their primary care skills while serving the poor and uninsured closer to home.
"This course not only taught me tropical infectious disease, but afforded me the opportunity to retrain in primary care, which has been invaluable practicing in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, said Andy Harris, MD, ophthalmologist and course administrator.
The spring course is scheduled for Thursdays and Fridays, March 31 – June 3, 2011 and enrollment is limited to 12.
Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. OHSU School of Medicine, Division of CME, designates this educational activity for a maximum of 71.25 AMA PRA PRA Category 1 Credits (TM). Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity
Visit www.ohsu.edu/ghc for more information, or contact Dr. Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503 871-2011.
Pictured: Dr. Andy Harris with patients from a medical mission to Africa