During my third year of residency, I had the opportunity to explore my interests in both spine surgery and global health by participating in a mission trip to Uganda. Along with surgeons, anesthesia providers, nurses, surgical techs, reps, and neuromonitoring providers, I spent two weeks working at the regional hospital that hosted us. Together with the faculty and staff of that hospital, we were able to see hundreds of patients in clinic, and over the course of two weeks, we helped 25 patients receive spine surgery that they otherwise would never have been able to get. The breadth and depth of pathology we saw and were able to treat was breathtaking, and the patients were deeply grateful for our help.
The breadth and depth of pathology we saw and were able to treat was breathtaking, and the patients were deeply grateful for our help.
Furthermore, we had the opportunity to help educate the local medical students and residents in the workup and treatment of spine pathology to help improve their ability to care for these patients autonomously in the future. Everyone we met was warm and welcoming, and the need we met was manifest. For me, the educational experience was one that I could never have obtained in the U.S. It truly was an eye-opening trip from which I returned profoundly humbled, deeply motivated, and tremendously fulfilled. I am both grateful and proud to be training at a program that supports the residents in seeking educational opportunities wherever they may be.