As I mentioned in my first post, I am spending this academic year between my third and fourth years at IUSM in Lima, Peru, on a global health research fellowship, and I’ll start trying to catch you up on what I’ve been doing here in South America. Specifically, I’m in the Fogarty Global Fellows Program, a training program through the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health.
While I’m still keeping an open mind about which specialty I’ll pursue, I’m interested in neurology and physical medicine and rehabilitation, and I had originally proposed a project looking at stroke rehabilitation for my fellowship. As such I’ve largely been working at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Neurológicas (INCN), or in English, the National Institute of Neurologic Science, which is part of Peru’s Ministry of Health system run by the country’s Health Department.
My first big task this fellowship year was coordinating an interdisciplinary stroke rehabilitation workshop both at the INCN and at the Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación (INR/National Rehabilitation Institute). Because I applied through the Northern Pacific Consortium of the Program (http://fogartyfellows.org), I worked with University of Washington colleagues in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, and Prosthetics and Orthotics. I was thrilled to recruit Dr. Angela Carbone, who is an Associate Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and the Program Director of the Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Program at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, as the physiatrist for our team, and I am privileged to have her as a mentor.
Together we ran a four-day workshop at the end of August, with one day for didactics and the other for hands-on sessions in smaller groups at each location. Some of our lecture topics included dysphagia, pain and spasticity management, and physiologic stability before and during rehabilitation. Examples of our hands-on sessions were positioning for function and protection, fall risk assessment, evaluation of and low-tech aids for cognitive and communication deficits, and fitting and tuning orthotics. We also had Peruvian physiatrists discuss their own experiences and challenges in stroke rehabilitation.
More than 70 professionals across a range of specialties (physiatrists, neurologists, nurses, nurse technicians, PTs, OTs, SLPs, residents, and interns) attended at each location, representing nine different hospitals throughout Lima. We received a lot of positive feedback afterwards, and our team really bonded the week that we were together in person. We were extremely happy with how everything turned out and hope to do this again sometime! We are also very excited because the INCN Rehabilitation Department was subsequently inspired to develop and implement an early interdisciplinary stroke rehabilitation protocol, which is a work in progress with which we’ve been supporting them.
I’ve included some pictures from our workshop week and will post again soon!