Seven pediatric and pediatric/internal medicine residents have been awarded the Dr. Philip A. Riley, Jr., and Mrs. Joane Riley Endowed Medicine Abroad Program scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year.
|Timothy Rice, M.D.|
The residents are: Austin Dalrymple, D.O., Christelle Ilbuodo, M.D., George Kasarala, M.D., Amanda Parsley, D.O., Sunil Raikar, M.D., Paul Tuttle, D.O., and Laura Waters, M.D.
Each of the residents will go on a one-month medical mission trip to a country of their choice. This year, residents will travel to Kenya, Congo, Malawi, Belize and Burkina Faso. The scholarship award will cover their salary while away, as well as travel and related expenses.
According to Timothy Rice, M.D., director of the medicine abroad program, the program is not only an excellent learning opportunity, but also an opportunity for residents to give back of themselves.
"America is an increasingly global country. The awareness and perspective gained from these experiences help our residents better relate to their patients here in the U.S.," said Rice, who also is an associate professor on pediatrics and internal medicine.
"The program also provides residents with the opportunity to give back. We hope that they will remember this experience and continue to seek opportunities to care for people who are marginalized not only in our country, but around the world."
The medicine abroad program has awarded 24 scholarships over the last five years.
The department of pediatrics contributes significantly to the medicine abroad program to ensure that as many residents as possible can participate. Because of the department's contribution, this year, every applying resident received funding.
In December 2007, Dr. and Mrs. Riley made a donation to endow the program. Dr. Riley, who is a retired surgeon and Saint Louis University School of Medicine alumni, had participated in medical mission trips during his career and wanted to share that experience with others.
"The medicine abroad program is a priority for our department because it increases our residents' exposure to other cultures and provides valuable insight into medicine. These trips help them realize how privileged we are in the U.S. to have the access to technology and medical advancements that we do," said Bob Wilmott, M.D., chair of the department of pediatrics at Saint Louis University.
Indeed, several award recipients said that these unique learning opportunities are what they found most appealing about the mission trips.
"This elective is a chance to encounter diseases that are not commonly encountered in the developed world and to experience the workings of a different healthcare system. I hope to be able to share my medical knowledge with the local healthcare providers as well as learn from the Congolese healthcare providers," said Tuttle, who will travel to the Congo with Rice in June 2012.
Board-certified pediatricians supervise the residents during the trips. In addition to seeing patients, the residents also work on broader healthcare issues afflicting the community and help local clinicians modernize their practices.
"Since my future career goals will be focused on pediatric infectious diseases, I feel that this experience will help me understand global infectious diseases and understand public health policies and practices in places other than the United States. It also will prepare me to eventually work on global health policies that will help reduce morbity and mortality associated with preventable infectious diseases," said Christelle Ilbuodo, M.D.
Upon return, the residents also give a talk for the department to share their experiences and what they learned.
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious disease.