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Global Health Spotlight

Bootcamp OrientationBootcamp orientation was held on June 17th for first-year medical students preparing to depart for their global health electives. To our knowledge, the medical school is the first to successfully use a simulation lab for such a context. The cases used in this simulation involved an internal medicine ward in Zimbabwe, a rural home visit encounter in Uganda, and a busy under-resourced hospital ward in Vietnam, and were focused on the impact of cultural context on communication, care practices, medical decision-making, and perceptions in health and disease. 

Using faculty and prior medical student elective graduates as standardized patients, students were challenged with a range of safety and ethical issues such as being asked to perform procedures beyond their skill level, negotiating beliefs around differing medical practices, being asked for money by patients, balancing the needs of individual patients in the context of overwhelming needs of the community, and navigating power differential/unequal gender roles among providers. During the extensive debriefing that followed, students reflected on the need to adapt their clinical practice to the potentially resource-strained and unfamiliar settings they are about to enter. 

During the bootcamp, David Porat, designer of the water purifier for resource-limited settings, presented the water purification project. Those students who are traveling to Uganda will bring the water purifier with them for a pilot study.

Member Highlights


Joanna Conklin and Laura SmithJoanna Conklin and Laura Smith

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Joanna Conklin and Laura Smith to the Global Health Team. They will be working together to coordinate the Global Health Program at WCHN. Joanna has been coordinator of UVM Larner College of Medicine, and Laura of Ross University School of Medicine and American University of the Caribbean. We are honored and privileged that they have accepted these new responsibilities atop their existing ones. 

Their multidimensional professional and personal skills, and wealth of experience in administration will contribute greatly to our program. Their tasks, both numerous and essential, include coordinating with several partner sites inside and around the world, welcoming guests from international sites for capacity building, and supporting our students, residents, and faculty at WCHN as well as in our satellite sites. Let us welcome Joanna and Laura to the team!


Marina ZakharovaA Word from Marina Zakharova

Since joining the Office of International Affairs of KSMU last year, I have been involved in coordinating a number of happenings in the Global Health Program, alongside Global Health Officer Dilyara Nurkhametova. I recently organized the annual Global Health Scholarship Contest for electives in Uganda and the Dominican Republic through which students are chosen every year. I also help global health participants prepare required documents. Next year, I will be in charge of organizing the global health elective at KSMU. 

Through my work in global health, I have learned a lot about the field and its ideology. I have discovered that the notions of human rights protection, effective healthcare, philanthropy, and empathy are truly important to me and vital to the world. I plan to work toward boosting KSMU’s global health structure and development in the years ahead. I hope to gain more experience in the Global Health Program, become more well versed in its philosophy, and be prepared to manage its challenges. 

Global Health Program Events News

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 the noon conference at Norwalk Hospital.

June 5: A pre-departure orientation session was held for students departing for their global health rotations.

Dr. Michelle Mertz(photo left) Dr. Michelle Mertz presenting a poster at IAMSE

June 10-13:
The 21st annual International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) Conference was held at the University of Vermont. This year’s theme was “Delivering Evidence-Based Health Sciences Education.” Several of our program members participated in the conference: Dr. Anne Dougherty gave an oral presentation entitled “Pre-Departure Training for Global Health Electives in US Medical Schools”; Drs. Michelle Mertz, Mariah McNamara, and Cate Nicholas gave a poster presentation entitled “Teaching Medical Students About Human Trafficking Through the Use of Standardized Patients”; and Dr. Molly Moore presented a poster about the development of a global health track.

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 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.

(photo right: Dr. Marcos Nuñez (Dean of UNIBE), Dr. Whitney Calkins (Family Medicine Dr. Marcos Nuñez (Dean of UNIBE), Dr. Whitney Calkins (Family Medicine Faculty), Dr. Tom Peterson, (Chair of Family Medicine), and Dr. Ben Clements (Family Medicine Resident)Faculty),Dr. Tom Peterson, (Chair of Family Medicine), and Dr. Ben Clements (Family Medicine Resident))

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. Anne Dougherty traveled to Uganda to strengthen t
he 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.

Dr. Julio Nassim and Dr. Philip Melvin(photo left: Dr. Julio Nassim and Dr. Philip Melvin)

June 24: Nine first-year medical students began their global health electives, accompanied by three residents: Neelesh Thussu from the Department of Medicine of Norwalk Hospital, Melvin Philip, Resident in the Connecticut Institute for Communities at Danbury Hospital, and Julio Nasim from the Department of Medicine at Danbury Hospital; and five faculty members: Drs. Howard Eison, Randi R. Diamond, and Anne Dougherty to Uganda; Dr. Mariah McNamara to Vietnam; and Dr. Molly Moore to Zimbabwe. 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: Dr. Shahid Syed Javed, an instrumental member of the Global Health Program at WCHN, has been invited by his mentee Dr. Lev Checkalin to explore expansion of the global health program initiatives in neurosurgery. During his three-day visit, he will meet with Dr. Alexey Sozinov, the Rector of KSMU, and Marat Mukhamedyarov, the Head of the International Program.


Global Health 2016
Annual Report

July Calendar

  • July 1: Dr. Thi Kim Thanh Nguyen, a young rheumatologist from Cho Ray Hospital, will arrive at Danbury Hospital for three months of training supervised by Dr. Alla Rudinskaya, Chief in the Section of Rheumatology at WCHN.
  • July 3: KSMU participants selected for the global health elective will travel to Uganda and the Dominican Republic. (photo below)

KSMU participants

  • July 13: Dr. Yulia Troshina, a young neurologist from KSMU, will arrive at Norwalk Hospital for one month of training with rotating supervision by Dr. Stephen Winters, Dr. James Thompson, Dr. Amy Knorr, and Dr. Daryl Story.
  • July 20: Dr. Royd Fukumoto, Director of the Surgical Residency Program at Danbury Hospital, will site visit 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: Dr. Tania Bersch, Associate Dean of Clinical Education, and Audrey Frey, Coordinator of the Global Health Program, will travel 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.

May Review

  • May 4: Dr. Molly Moore, Director of Global Health in the Pediatrics Department at UVM, was awarded the Curriculum Development and Scholarship Grant from the Teaching Academy at the Larner College of Medicine.
  • May 5: Dr. Sadigh spoke about Schistosoma at the noon conference at Danbury Hospital.
  • May 8: Rafael Khalitov, M.D., a junior faculty at KSMU, began his four-week training in Norwalk Hospital’s Intensive and Progressive Care Units.
  • May 10: The Poster “Creating a Bidirectional Culture of Safety in Global Health Electives Through Development of Comprehensive Safety Protocols” was presented at Belitsky Research Day at Danbury Hospital.
  • May 12: Dr. Sadigh spoke about the program at the Yale Affiliate Hospitals Annual Retreat.
  • May 18: Fourth-year medical students who completed their global health electives underwent debriefing sessions.
  • May 18: Fourth-year medical students applying for the global health elective were interviewed.
  • May 13-27: Dr. Sadigh traveled to Kazan, Russia to attend KSMU’s Annual Celebration Day, teach annual courses in tropical medicine and biostatistics, and speak about global health and infectious diseases. During this visit, he was elected as the Vice President of the International Scientific Board of KSMU.
  • May 15: One senior medical student and three residents from KSMU were selected for the global health elective. Two of the selected individuals will spend their elective in the Dominican Republic, and the other two in Uganda.
  • May 31: Dr. Sadigh and Lauri Lennon, Director of Business Operations at WCHN, met with Sharon Adams, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at WCHN, to discuss the establishment of a nursing division in global health.