Global Health

Organizer: Sofia Geralemou, MD
updated 09-19-23

bacolod patient The Department of Anesthesiology has supported Residents and Attendings to participate in Global Health Initiative (GHI) trips since the 1990s. Destinations have included Zambia, The Philippines, Ecuador and China.

The benefits that one can get from participating in GHI are nicely described in the article "The Role of International Experience in Residency Training" by Medge D. Owen, MD, and Douglas Ririe, MD.

Dr. Anna Kogan, former Stony Brook Resident and current Stony Brook Attending, wrote of her experiences:
I went to Zambia during my last year of residency. I was so lucky to go - it was definitely an eye opener. I saw and learned SO much! it gave me a totally different perspective on medicine, how it can be done so differently with minimal resources. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and to still provide safe medical care. Now as an attending who is going on medical missions, I would recommend this experience to everyone!
Here are the requirements for resident participation in a mission:
  • High performance on in-training exams
  • Good clinical standing
Many people are interested so if you want to go and you qualify, let us know early.


Upcoming GHI Trips


Recently Completed GHI Trips

Arabkir Medical Center, Armenia
May 2023 mission to a pediatric hospital in Armenia. Participants: Dr. Vahé Tateosian and three residents: Drs, Chris Seiter, Elliot Turkiew and Aria Shafai. Each resident gave a presentation to the physicians there on a peds-anesthesia topics. They had a day for sightseeing as part of the trip.

Philippines 2019
January 2019 mission with Uplift Internationale to Naga City in the Philippines. Read more.
Dr. Demetri Adrahtas (CA-3), Dr. Deborah Richman, Dr. Kseniya Khmara (Class of 2018),
Dr. Zvi Jacob, Dr. Michael Khalili (CA-3)

Ecuador 2018
From January 9-14, 2018, three members of the Anesthesia department: Attending Dr. Ruchir Gupta and Residents Dr. Minxi Weng and Dr. Justin Smith had the opportunity to participate in a medical mission to Santa Elena, Ecuador. This mission was sponsored by Blanca’s House, a medical non-profit which was started in 2008 right here on Long Island. It was a whirlwind of trip. We flew on an overnight flight to Ecuador, and then, after traveling for hours from the airport to the clinic, we set up and started cases on the first day. It was very challenging at times due to limited resources. The anesthesia machines often didn’t work, or only worked in a limited capacity, and we were always looking for the necessary drugs so that we could start the next case. We learned how to improvise, at one point even doing general anesthesia cases with just an oxygen tank at our disposal. On one day, we repaired nearly 16 hernias. The patients were immensely grateful for the care they received and family members continued to thank us in the hallways. Despite all the challenges, it was immensely rewarding. We were able to help so many of the local people with surgical care that they might not have received otherwise. On this mission there were a lot of ophthalmology cases, hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, and many pediatric and adult plastics cases. The days began early in the morning and extended well into the night, but those long hours helped us form friendships with the other volunteers and the long hours flew by. We are looking forward to more opportunities to contribute on medical missions in the future.

Photos from trip

Honduras 2017
In March 2017, Attending Dr. Steve Chen, and Residents Drs. Nehul Patel, and Jonathan Moy, traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras with a team from Blanca’s House. During the week, they provided anesthesia for 21 knee replacements and 25 TAH/TVHs. They also saw over 100 patients gyn clinic. Interesting cases and challenges included removal of a 5.5 lb fibroid uterus from a 60 kg woman. It often took over 1 hour for FFP to arrive.

Philippines 2015
bacolod orWe have participated in GHI trips sponsored by Uplift Internationale to various areas of the Philippines: In 2012 to Silay and Tagbilaran, in 2013 to Siargao, and in 2015 to Bacolod City.
Attending Arvind Chandrakantan MD, Residents Eric DeVeaux MD and Beata Evans MD accompanied Uplift Internationale on the most recent trip. In all, the team performed 37 pediatric deformity repairs during the week.

They encountered numerous challenges including: unreliable equipment, having to assemble a makeshift scavenging system, laryngospasm on induction and postoperative croup (treated by mixing epinephrine and saline administered with a nebulizer).

Photos from the trip 

Other Completed GHI Trips

2012: Feb 2012 Philippines | May 2012 Zambia | Aug 2012 China
2013: March 23-29 - Ecuador
2013: September 7-19 - Zambia
2014: February 2 -9 - at Leyte Provincial Hospital, Tacloban, Philippines 
2014: February 8-15 at Ormoc Sugar Planter's Association Hospital, Ormoc, Phillippines