By Lauren Koffman, DO and Starane Shepherd, MD
Through a partnership with the Rush University Global Health Department, a local nonprofit organization, Community Empowerment and the Feltrex Foundation, Lauren Koffman and Starane Shepherd were welcomed back to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for the second time in August 2019. In 2018, they were the keynote speakers at two events and conducted a half-day workshop for residents, but this year there was a different format.
It was an action-packed day in Santo Domingo, with the day starting off at DR Salvador B. Gautier Hospital. The Chief of Medicine welcomed the speakers and introduced them to a group of internal medicine residents and ICU fellows. The internal medicine residents are primarily responsible for managing neurologic patients (as neurology is a fellowship after completion of an internal medicine residency) and were eager to learn. There was a discussion on critical care management of neuromuscular diseases, with an emphasis on neuromuscular respiratory failure. The interactive forum allowed residents to share thoughts and ask questions regarding decision making and management in a resource limited setting. At this public hospital, there is no access to MRI or treatments such as plasmapheresis, leaving patients who need more specialized imaging or treatment to obtain them in the private sector, depending on their ability to afford this level of care.
The afternoon was spent on the national medical radio show “La Receta Medica,” co-hosting an hour on neuromuscular disease and answering listener questions. The host that morning was a neurosurgeon who facilitated the discussion and educated the listeners about recognizing signs of neuromuscular disease. As the show progressed, there was no shortage of calls from listeners.
In the brief mid-day break, some time was spent wandering the streets of the colonial zone of Santo Domingo. Though a small area, it is filled with colorful buildings and lively parks and is home to the Catedral Primada de America, a cathedral built in the 16th century.
The day was capped off with an evening lecture on critical care management of neuromuscular disease attended by local neurologists, including senior neurology and neurosurgery leadership of the national society. The presentation was well received by the group. Lauren and Starane look forward to returning next year and perhaps starting an ongoing educational program with the internal medicine residency program at Hospital DR Salvador B. Gautier.
Starane and Lauren live on “La Receta Medica” taking calls from viewers.
Greetings with neurologic and neurosurgical leadership from the Dominican Republic.
Morning lecture with internal medicine residents and ICU fellows.
Views of the colonial zone in Santo Domingo.