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Global Health Spotlight

This month, nine first-year medical students from UVM and three senior medical students from RUSM have been spending their six-week global health electives in our international partner sites, accompanied by three residents: Neelesh Thussu from Norwalk Hospital’s Department of Medicine, Julio Nasim from Danbury Hospital’s Department of Medicine, and Melvin Philip from The Greater Danbury Community Health Center Internal Medicine Residency Program; and five faculty members: Drs. Howard Eison, Randi R. Diamond, and Anne Dougherty to Uganda; Dr. Mariah McNamara to Vietnam; and Dr. Molly Moore and Dr. Stephen Scholand to Zimbabwe. Students are learning about the culture and medical systems of their respective host countries while gaining clinical and personal insights. We look forward to learning more about their experiences when they return in early August.

august2017ghnewsletter_1_240x180Three students from UT Southwestern Medical Center, left, Violetta Gazizyanova (KSMU), Dean Marcos Nunez, Jomar Florenzan, Site Coordinator of the Global Health Program, Dean Lorraine Amell, Iskandar Khismatullin (KSMU), Monica Rodgers (UVM), Dominican Republic.     

august2017ghnewsletter_5_240x180Katie Grenoble (UVM), left, Jennifer Tufts (UVM), Melvin Philip and his wife, Ashley Sebastian, and Daniel De Los Santos (UVM), Uganda.

august2017ghnewsletter_4_240x180Jennifer Tufts (UVM), left, Albert Muzafarov (KSMU), Susan Byekwaso, Coordinator of the Global Health Program at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, and Ferida Magamedkerimova (KSMU), Uganda.

ZimbabweProfessor MacGreggor leading medical rounds, Zimbabwe.

august2017ghnewsletter_2_240x180Dr. Mariah McNamara, bottom right, with global health elective participants at the Opera House, Vietnam.

august2017ghnewsletter_3_240x180Dr Pamela Gorejena-Chidananyika, left, Amanda Kardys, Dr. Stephen Scholand, Dr. Margaret Borok, Zimbabwe.

Member Highlights


Aisylu MaslievaAisylu Maslieva

My global health experience in Uganda opened my eyes to the similarities among all people despite their external differences. Regardless of physical features, nationality, or economic status, everyone has a soul, and a colorful life full of joy and pain. Each time we care for another human, we can bring them a token of happiness- and by extension, that happiness can radiate to others. By explaining the situation, we can calm a patient’s fears stemmed from the unknown of what is happening, what will be done medically, and what the future holds. Through this relationship, we are reminded of the importance of the medical profession, and the power that comes with its responsibilities. Through seeing how others live, we are moved to change our views and find a place of kindness.

Art is a powerful way of showing how others live around the world, particularly to those who do not have the opportunity to see it for themselves. There is so much to be appreciated in Uganda. I felt compelled to photograph the sincerity and beauty of the people, and to look at their beautiful, interesting art endlessly. I was inexpressibly touched by observing animals in their natural habitat, in all their freedom and grace. I believe that art can inspire compassion for people, and passion for advocacy. I have painted a few pieces to help start the Global Health Gallery.


Melvin PhilipMelvin Philip, M.D., medical resident at the Greater Danbury Community Health Center Internal Medicine Residency Program

My time in Uganda has reminded me of the uncertainties in medicine, and made me aware of the privilege of easy access to lab work, imaging, and an array of pharmaceutical drugs that we have in the United States. Here, the basic tools of medicine and a complete history and physical exam are sometimes the only means with which to determine a diagnosis. I find myself fine-tuning the skills I learned in medical school and relying on clinical judgement to treat patients. I am gaining appreciation for the lost art of the physical exam, finding deficiencies in my own clinical skills, and sharing this knowledge with medical students.

We have been warmly welcomed into the communities in which we have stayed. From playing soccer with the locals to lunching with hospital staff, I have felt accepted by the community. I am learning about the "elasticity" of time in Uganda, where a start time is just a suggestion and not a fixed entity that has to be followed. I am witnessing how genuinely kind and loving Ugandans are and am learning that being called a Muzungu, a Luganda word meaning “a person of foreign descent,” is a means of welcoming rather than segregating. Everyone has gone out of their way to make Uganda a home for us. As I near the end of my trip, I feel increasingly "at home" and hope to return in the near future.

Read Dr. Philip's blog post. 

Global Health Program Events News


Dr. Yulia TroshinaJuly 1, Norwalk Hospital: (photo left) Dr. Yulia Troshina, a neurologist from Kazan State Medical University, Russia, arrived for one month of training with rotating supervision by Dr. Stephen Winters, Dr. James Thompson, Dr. Amy Knorr, and Dr. Daryl Story.
Dr. Thi Kim Thanh Nguyen
July 1, Danbury Hospital: (photo right) Dr. Thi Kim Thanh Nguyen, a rheumatologist from Cho Ray Hospital, Vietnam, arrived for three months of training supervised by Dr. Alla Rudinskaya, Chief in the Department of Rheumatology at WCHN.

July 5: Dr. Sadigh was invited to moderate a panel in the principles of an equitable partnership in global health in the Joint Annual Scientific Health Conference and Dr. Matthew Lukwiya Memorial Lecture, which will take place on September 27-29 in Kampala, Uganda.

Water PurifierJuly 9, Uganda (photo left) Medical students testing the water purifier, Naggalama, Uganda. The water purifier for resource-limited settings, designed by David Porat and brought by global health elective participants to Uganda for a pilot study, was presented and tested in Naggalama. 

July 10: Dr. Sadigh was invited by AMTEC KAZAN, an education center for medical technology, to participate as an expert and a speaker of the Congress at the second International Congress for Young Scientists in Medicine which will take place in Kazan, Russia from August 17-18. The Congress provides a platform for young scientists developing innovative products in healthcare to exchange experience and insight, for world-recognized experts to present Russian and international grant programs for young medical scientists, and for discussion of innovative projects in the field of healthcare. The Congress will cover questions pertaining to modern technologies in medicine that have fundamental importance for modern medical science. 

July 12: Dr. Sadigh and Dr. Eric Nielson from ROSS University School of Medicine spoke about expansion of the Global Health Program. Dr. Sadigh invited Dr. Nielson to visit WCHN in early November. Meanwhile, Dr. Sadigh is planning to visit the Dominican Republic in early January.Anton Grazynov

July 14: Kartik Iyer, Joanna Moore, and Harsh Bhavsar, senior students from RUSM, returned from their global health elective in Vietnam.

July 15: (photo right) Dr. Anton Gryaznov joined our team as the Global Health Program Information and Technology Specialist.

July 19: Dr. Sadigh had a follow-up meeting with Ms. Jo Ritchie, the leadership of the WCHN Nursing Department, in regard to establishing a nursing division in global health.

august2017ghnewsletter_15_240x180July 19, Uganda (photo left) Dr. Howard Eison presenting a laptop and EKG machine, gifts of the program, to Sister Jane Frances, Director of St. Francis Hospital in Naggalama, Uganda.

July 20: Dr. Sadigh had a meeting with Dr. Asha Marhatta, Director of the Residency Program, and Ms. Grace M. Scire, Manager of the Residency Program at the Connecticut Institute for Communities Greater Danbury Community Health Center Primary Care Residency (CIFC GDCHC) to discuss the participation of the residents from this program in global health elective. 


July 20, Dominican Republic (photo right) Dr. Jomar Florenzan, left, Site Coordinator of the Global Health Program in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Royd Fukomoto, Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Danbury Hospital, Dr. Laura Withers, and Dean Lorraine Amell.

July 20: Dr. Royd Fukumoto, Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Danbury Hospital, site-visited UNIBE with Dr. Laura Withers to explore the possibility of starting a global health exchange program between the Departments of Surgery of the two institutions.
July 21-29, Uganda (photo left) Dr. Tania Bersch, Associate Dean of Clinical Education, and Audree Frey, Coordinator of the Global Health Program, travelled to Uganda for a short visit to learn more about the existing collaboration and explore possibilities of expanding the partnership in medical education and research between the two institutions. 

In photo: Clarissa Nakkungu, left, Susan Byekwaso, Coordinator of the Global Health Program at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Dr. Tania Bersch, Audrey Frey, and Jake Enser, infectious disease fellow from UVM, Gaddafi Mosque, Kampala, Uganda

July 24: Dr. Sadigh met with Professor Zuchongpan Pan, Professor of Economics in Western Connecticut State University, to establish a new partnership in global health in China with the intention of training Chinese colleagues at Western Connecticut Health Network, each for three-month durations.

July 26: Dr. Sadigh met with a potential donor interested in children's education at the African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS), one of our partners in Nakaseke, Uganda.august2017ghnewsletter_17_240x180

July 27: Dr. Sadigh met with Dr. Julia Cron, Director of the Yale OB/GYN Residency Program to discuss the common interest in medical education at Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

July 31, Norwalk Hospital: (photo right) Neurologist Dr. Nguyen Huyen Cha and Gastroenterologist Dr. Gia An Pham from ChoRay Hospital arrived for three months of training at Norwalk Hospital.


Global Health 2016
Annual Report


  • Congratulations to Mitra Sadigh, Jamie Sarfeh, and Dr. Robert Kalyesubula whose manuscript “The Retention of ACCESS Nursing Assistant Graduates in Rural Uganda” has been completed and submitted to the Rural and Remote Health Journal.
  • The Global Health Program application process has been revamped, and is now entirely online.
  • We are in the incipient stages of opening a Global Health Art Gallery at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, consisting of a compilation of photographs, artwork, reflections, poetry, and digital music, from global health elective participants, categorized by country. The gallery will be a space for sharing experiences, exchanging insights, celebrating art, and inciting passion for global health. This gallery will be open to all students, and accessible for all J1/B1 scholars to contribute to and enjoy.

August Calendar

  • August 5: First-year medical students from UVM and residents from WCHN will return to the United States after completing their global health electives.
  • August 6: Shaleen Morgan Doctor and Nicole Kathleen Gruner, fourth-year medical students from RUSM, will travel to Naggalama, Uganda for their global health elective.
  • August 6: Joseph Mark Banno, a fourth-year medical student from RUSM, will travel to Vietnam for his global health elective.
  • August 7: Dr. Sadigh will introduce the Global Health Program to the medical education leadership of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
  • August 7: Julia Shatten and Stephanie Brooks, fourth-year medical students from UVM, will travel to Kampala, Uganda for their global health electives.
  • August 7-10: Dr. Sadigh will make an administrative visit to the UVM Larner College of Medicine.
  • August 14-19: Dr. Sadigh will travel to Kazan, Russia to attend to administrative agenda and speak at the second International Congress for Young Scientists in Medicine. 

June Review

  • June 2: Dr. Sadigh, Director of the Global Health Program and Trefz Family Endowed Chair at WCHN, spoke about hydatid cysts at Danbury Hospital’s Department of Medicine for the noon conference.
  • June 3: Dr. Sadigh made an administrative visit to the UVM Larner College of Medicine.
  • June 5: Julia Varughese, Clinical Director at AmeriCares, spoke about infectious diarrheas at Norwalk Hospital’s noon conference.
  • June 5: A pre-departure orientation session was held for students departing for their global health rotations.
  • June 10-13: The 21st annual International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) Conference was held at the University of Vermont, centered on the them “Delivering Evidence-Based Health Sciences Education.” Drs. Anne Dougherty, Michelle Mertz, Mariah McNamara, and Molly Moore presented in the conference.
  • June 11-17: Professor Rinat Sabirov, Associate Dean of Medical Education in Naberezhnye Chelny (distant campus of KSMU) visited WCHN.
  • June 12: A Global Health Leadership Team meeting was held.
  • June 12: Dr. Marcos Nuñez, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Dominican Republic, spoke about Zika Virus at the Family Medicine Grand Rounds.
  • June 23: Dr. Sadigh oriented new interns in global health curriculum and cultural competency and sensitivity at the Annual House Staff Orientation Program hosted at Danbury Hospital.
  • June 23: Dr. Anne Dougherty traveled to Uganda to strengthen the partnership between Ob/Gyn departments between UVM Larner College of Medicine and Makerere University College of Health Sciences. She also spoke about family planning at the African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS) in Nakaseke.
  • June 24: First-year medical students began their global health electives, accompanied by three residents and five faculty members. The group brought two laptops and two electrocardiograph machines to each of the international sites as tokens of appreciation.
  • June 26: Dr. Sadigh made an administrative site visit to UVM Larner College of Medicine.
  • June 27: Dr. Sadigh spoke about the structure and function of the UVM/WCHN Global Health Program at both the UVM Education Council in the Department of Medicine and the Medical Executive Committee of Danbury Hospital.
  • June 29: (photo below) Dr. Shahid Syed Javed, an instrumental member of the Global Health Program at WCHN, was invited by his mentee Dr. Lev Checkalin to explore expansion of the global health program initiatives in neurosurgery. During his three-day visit, he met with Dr. Alexey Sozinov, the Rector of KSMU, and Marat Mukhamedyarov, the Head of the International Program.

  • august2017ghnewsletter_16_240x180June 29: (photo belowDr. Sadigh had a meeting with Ms. Liz Skarzynski from the "Dress a Girl Around the World" organization. Dress a Girl Around the World, a campaign under Hope 4 Women International, has donated 140 dresses to the African Community Center for Social Sustainability (ACCESS, Uganda) in Nakaseke, which is one of our partner sites. The dresses are designed to be both beautiful and durable. Learn more about Dress a Girl Around the World.

Dress a girl around the world