CHICAGO - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Global Humanitarian Outreach (GHO) volunteer Megan Olejniczak, M.D., will travel to Rwanda on Monday, October 19, to participate in a teaching program at the two teaching hospitals of the National University of Rwanda in the cities of Kigali and Butare. For four weeks, she will teach Rwandan physician anesthesiologists, residents and staff about perioperative anesthesia (before, during and after a procedure), including critical care medicine, procedural skills in a new simulation center, and pediatric anesthesia.
Dr. Olejniczak is an ASA member and physician anesthesiologist practicing at the Palo Alto Veterans Affair Hospital and Stanford Hospitals and Clinics in California. While in Rwanda, she will teach members of the anesthesia care team at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Kigali (CHUK) and CHUB (in Butare).
“There is a shortage of physician anesthesiologists in Rwanda and a great need for educated healthcare providers," said Dr. Olejniczak. “By providing education and training in anesthesia, the GHO program helps improve patient safety and saves lives.”
Dr. Olejniczak has participated in numerous medical missions and became interested in international medicine as a medical student. In 2013, she volunteered on a 10-day medical mission trip to rural India to perform cleft lip and palate repairs with Rotaplast International. She also did an international rotation at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda as a medical student. While at Mulago Hospital, Dr. Olejniczak was struck by the lack of resources. The medical staff was hungry for knowledge, but the lack of resources –including paper –presented great challenges. She also met Rwandese anesthesia residents who were training in Uganda due to a lack of adequate training programs in Rwanda. Since her past trips have been clinical in nature with a profound, yet short term impact, Dr. Olejniczak is excited to make a larger contribution to global medicine by training the Rwandans to develop a self-sustaining program.
The GHO program, in partnership with the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society International Education Foundation, has worked in Rwanda since 2006 to build and strengthen the medical teaching capacity in the East African country. The goal is to build capacity for anesthesia training in Rwanda so that, over time, there will be enough local physician anesthesiologists to run the program with minimal international support.
The GHO educates ASA members on the global anesthesia crisis and supports the interests of the ASA members through volunteer opportunities and collaboration designed to improve anesthesia in low-income countries. The GHO supports educational organizations such as the ASA Society for Pediatric Anesthesia, the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and Health Volunteers Overseas by offering expertise and volunteers.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org
. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount
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