Making a difference in the global community
Free medical care to more than 64,700 patients in 54 countries
Mayo Clinic is trusted worldwide as a leading medical center providing outstanding care, but its reach extends far beyond the walls of its hospitals and clinics.
The Mayo International Health Program (MIHP) brings medical knowledge, care and treatment to countries throughout the world. As of September 2011, Mayo residents/fellows completed 262 trips to 54 countries and 124 different sites, providing free care to over 64,700 patients.
Free medical care to more than 64,700 patients in 54 countries
The Mayo International Health Program helps Mayo residents and fellows pursue elective rotations, providing medical care to underserved international populations in mentored settings. MIHP provides up to $2500 in financial support to help defray travel and basic living expenses for those selected to participate.
An experience with Mayo International Health helps residents and fellows:
- Provide valuable care to underserved patients in more than 50 countries.
- Learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of diseases not usually seen in modern Western medicine.
- Improve their physical examination skills.
- Understand how to provide cost-effective care in a setting of limited resources.
- Increase their cultural awareness.
- Bring global perspective about the social determinants of health to their patients and the communities they will serve throughout their careers.
Cameroon, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Tanzania and beyond
Mayo-designated sites around the world include Cameroon, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal and Tanzania, among others. Mayo International Health candidates are also encouraged to explore opportunities in other countries through program contacts and/or arrange to set up a rotation at an independent site, as long as the site chosen delivers care to an underserved international population.
Mayo Clinic residents and fellows may perform clinical rotations in underserved communities throughout the world.
Bringing a variety of specialty experience to the underserved
MIHP recipients for 2011-2012 include fellows and residents in a variety of specialties:
- Allergy and Immunology
- Emergency medicine
- Ear, Nose and Throat
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
- Movement disorders
- Pediatric Infectious Diseases
MIHP physicians choose the country they would like to serve based on patient needs and corresponding educational opportunities.
Performing cleft palate surgery in Ecuador
Amy Saleh, M.D., chief resident in her 5th year of the ENT program, went to Quito, Ecuador, with Mayo International Health. In her surgical mission trip experience, she focused on children with a cleft lip or palate.
"The main focus of the trip was to do as many surgeries on as many children as possible. We operated slong days, from 7 in the morning until 7 at night," Dr. Saleh shares.
Dr. Saleh and the team she traveled with saw a wide variety of cleft palate cases over the course of their time in Ecuador, which would not have been possible in the United States. Here, a cleft lip or palate is often identified before birth and a treatment plan established with a multidisciplinary team.
"Make people's lives better"
Dr. Saleh says that any cultural experience and exposure is helpful because it gives you a different perspective. "I think that you enjoy feeling that you're really needed and you're really doing a service for someone. The whole reason we went into this profession was to try to make people's lives better. And I think we do that, even with a short interaction."
In relating how her patients and their families reacted to the help from Mayo residents, Dr. Saleh says, "Almost all of the parents and the children were extremely grateful. They wouldn't have been able to have [the surgery] otherwise.... Sometimes parents were even in tears because they finally could get [the cleft palate or cleft lip] addressed."
Learning the true cost of a medical test
Mira Keddis, M.D. decided to serve in Lake Elementita, Kenya through MIHP. Her husband, Mark Imig, M.D., who is in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry program at Mayo Clinic, accompanied her on the trip.
After rounds every morning, Dr. Keddis and her husband would staff the hospital's outpatient clinic or provide care at a neighboring orphanage that takes care of 51 HIV-positive girls.
Dr. Keddis relates that their on-site mentor, Rev. William Frydas, M.D., a graduate of Mayo Clinic's Internal Medicine Residency and Hematology Fellowship programs and founder of St. Mary's Mission Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, had a famous saying: "One extra test is food off the table," which definitely put things into perspective. "Every test ordered could mean one less meal a day," she explains," so you realize the importance of being cost effective. "
Care for patients with malaria, TB, end-stage HIV
Dr. Keddis says that the types of cases they treated were eye-opening. "It's a huge addition to your education to be able to see cases of Malaria, bad cases of TB [tuberculosis], and end-stage HIV with all its complications. We hear about it and learn about it, but we don't put our hands on it [here in the U.S.]."
The time spent overseas and the fact that it was a full month of protected time, meaning it was paid time that didn't count against residency hours at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, were a huge privilege in Dr. Keddis' opinion.
"It gave us a drive to want to go back. Less than a year later, my husband was able to go back to Kenya. I couldn't go with him, but hopefully again in the future."
Preparing for a future in international medicine
Jason O'Grady, M.D., a third-year Family Medicine resident at Mayo, went to West Africa as part of the Mayo International Health Program. While there, he saw patients in the local clinic, performed emergency C-sections and cared for children. He recounts that people often walked from neighboring countries to get care from the hospital where he worked.
Every third Thursday, Dr. O'Grady went out with the mobile medical clinic, providing care to patients in local villages. On these days, he worked with nurses on speed of care, especially for young children in respiratory distress.
"It was rewarding to be there to be able to provide care for people that otherwise would have died or would have had life-changing illnesses that would not have been treated," he shares. "It was also rewarding to be able to partner with local nurses and physicians assistants to help them and provide some relief for them."
Dr. O'Grady is considering going into full-time medical work overseas, and is grateful to Mayo International Health for helping him to prepare for the future.
"I would encourage anyone to have that experience," he says. "The need is huge...secondly, there is great reward, personally as well as being able to help people. And third, it's a great challenge. You really get to be stretched personally and professionally."
The Mayo Effect is global
Mayo's commitment to global healthcare is evident in the Mayo International Health Program.
"I am part of a larger team that impacts patients — here, there and everywhere," says one employee.
Mayo's impact on the global community is profound and not limited to locations where Mayo Employees live and work: Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Mayo Clinic Health System.
Another employee explains,"The Mayo Effect means making Mayo relevant to many more people than will ever set foot in one of our physical facilities."