For Ajay Patel, MD, the 11-day trip to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, Kenya, was promise of a unique training opportunity at an early stage in his residency journey.
“I was certain it would push me and put me in an uncomfortable position,” said Patel, a PGY4 neurosurgery resident. “But by virtue of this, I knew I would be able to grow both as a person and a surgeon.”
Patel was one of seven members of the Department of Neurological Surgery who made the trip in partnership with AMPATH to provide neurological care, training and support to physicians and residents at Moi University and MTRH. Also joining the trip were faculty members Drs. Mitesh Shah, Jesse Savage and Brandon Lane; neuro-oncology fellow Dr. Chris Wilson and staff members Mary Gallagher and Tyler Harrison.
“The whole week was intense and exceeded our expectations,” Patel added. “The Kenyan surgeons were incredible in that they were able to do so much despite not having the same resources [we have]. The neurosurgery residents were also amazing as they worked tirelessly to help facilitate our work there.”
Dr. Lane serves as the Department’s Global Health Director and first participated in the Kenya AMPATH exchange in 2019 as a PGY 7 resident.
“My experiences on that trip were particularly poignant,” Lane recalled. “You can’t understand sadness and despair until you see the profound impact of resource deficiency on neurosurgical care, and more globally, on the human condition in general. While we provided care and resources on that trip, we were gifted incredible perspective and fulfillment in return.”
He's since made it a goal to develop a more consistent and rigorous neurosurgical exchange within the AMPATH model.
“We planned and executed this trip to lay the groundwork for a robust bilateral neurosurgery exchange of people, resources and knowledge between IU Neurosurgery and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital,” Lane said.
AMPATH is a partnership between Moi University, MTRH, the AMPATH Consortium of universities around the world led by Indiana University, and the Kenyan Government. AMPATH partners work together at more than 300 clinical sites where care is provided throughout Kenyan communities.