This is an exciting subset of UNC Emergency Medicine (EM) comprised of international relief efforts, clinical rotations in East Africa, Emergency Medicine specialty development/research in East Africa, cross-cultural "observational" experiences (here at UNC), the Global Emergency Medicine academic track, and the Global Emergency Medicine/Infectious Diseases educational module.
Volunteers from UNC Emergency Medicine (including faculty, housestaff, nurses, and students) travel to East Africa yearly to provide care to a variety of patients in great need. The volunteers, under my direction, are able to provide this most important care to hundreds of patients through donation of our own time and resources. Additionally, we solicit private citizens, pharmaceutical companies, and organizations like MAP International for medication donations for use during the relief trips. We also partner with local student organizations to secure many of the supplies, such as gloves, syringes, and bandages used to care for our patients. Additionally, other EM faculty members at UNC, like Dr. Wesley Wallace, organize similar efforts in other parts of the World, like South America.
Interested mature EM residents can elect to do a newly established clinical rotation, under my supervision, in East Africa. The purpose of this rotation is to prepare Emergency Medicine trainees, volunteering in a low income tropical nation, to care for patients presenting with fever and a myriad of other disease states, including trauma.
UNC Global Emergency Medicine, under my leadership, is particularly committed to the development of Emergency Medicine as a specialty in East Africa. To illustrate this point, I partnered with three other North Carolina-based Emergency Physicians and the Abbott Fund to open the first of its kind British or American-styled Emergency Department in the capital city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Our Chair Emerita, the famed Dr. Judith Tintinalli, continues to arrange cross-cultural "observational" experiences for foreign physicians. She has, for example, facilitated invaluable "observational" rotations in our ED for physicians from Japan. Others of our EM faculty, including Drs. Eugenia Quackenbush and Jonathan Jones, have benefited from the opportunity to learn from Emergency Physicians in Japan.
Emergency Medicine residents interested in a career in Global Emergency Medicine can participate in the Global Emergency Medicine academic track. This very exciting and new academic track involves interested residents in national groups focusing on Global /International Emergency Medicine (e.g., EMRA's and SAEM's interest groups as well as ACEP's international section).
Residents on this track are also integral in the planning of relief trips—helping to design a budget, plan logistics, and manage personnel. The participating residents help to coordinate the Global Emergency Medicine/Infectious Diseases educational module—in fact leading some of the didactic sessions. It is my ultimate goal that residents on this pathway successfully matriculate at the International Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program of their choice.
As you can see, if you are interested in Global Emergency Medicine, UNC is a great place to be! There are opportunities for almost anyone affiliated with UNC—whether a student, nurse, resident, fellow, or attending. Please contact us if you would like more information.
Ian B.K. Martin, M.D.
Director, Global Emergency Medicine
Program Director, UNC Emergency Medicine Global Health and Leadership Program
Associate Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency
Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine
Assistant Professor, Medicine
UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Medicine