By Lauren Koffman and Starane Shepherd
Drs. Starane Shepherd and Lauren Koffman, neurointensivists, from Rush University Medical Center, located in Chicago, Illinois, recently spent several days in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, kicking off a series of educational conferences being offered to local physicians and trainees. The Global Health Department at Rush Medical College has a longestablished relationship with a local nonprofit organization, Community Empowerment, in providing healthcare to those in need in the Dominican Republic, as well as Haiti. They are now working with the philanthropic division of the Feltrex Foundation to offer a series of educational lectures throughout the year. Due to the demand for neurologic education, this inaugural conference was held over two days and provided two keynote presentations, in addition to a resident workshop.
Many were excited about the educational opportunity, and we promoted the conference sessions on a local medical radio show, “La Receta Medica.” This radio show aims to provide practical information to the public about common medical issues. Later that day, we were hosted by the National Society of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the InterContinental Real in Santo Domingo. The current and past society presidents were extremely welcoming, and the crowd totaled about 150 physicians. Not only were neurologists and neurosurgeons present but also general practitioners. The keynote presentations were entitled “Acute Manifestations of Demyelinating Disease” and “Neuromuscular Respiratory Failure, Acute Myasthenia Gravis and Parkinsonism.” There was live translation available for audience members, and the event was streamed online for those unable to attend.
The second day started with a workshop for residents, primarily internal medicine residents, as they manage the majority of acute neurologic diseases in the Dominican Republic. We spent the morning covering topics such as evaluation of a first seizure, status epilepticus and new onset refractory status epilepticus. The residents were highly engaged in the case-based discussion and eager to learn. Subsequently, the keynote followed that night hosted by the National Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a crowd of nearly 300 people to learn about “Acute Neurologic Emergencies in Pregnancy.”
Having the opportunity to be an invited international speaker so early in our careers was an amazing experience. The most rewarding moments were when physicians came to thank us, as family practice physicians and internists are often triaging patients with neurologic conditions, and they welcomed this refresher course in initial management and diagnostic evaluations in patients with neurological conditions. Many were also surprised to hear about the Emergency Neurologic Life Support (ENLS) course and were interested in participating in the future.
This inaugural educational series was well-received by all who attended and we look forward to returning in 2019.(Image Left: Lauren Koffman and Starane Shepherd with the sisters and board members of the Feltrex Foundaton philanthropic branch; Image Center: Lauren Koffman and Starane Shepherd with Alfredo Hernandez, Director of Community Empowerment; Image Right: Café in the colonial zone of Santo Domingo)#NCSRoundup #International #DominicanRepublic #LaurenKoffman #StaraneShepherd #June2018