UNC Global Radiology, a RAD-AID Chapter, uses an interprofessional approach by integrating radiologists, technologists, nurses, physicists, informatics professionals, administrators, and other professionals to achieve sustainable progress in global health.
This column features perspectives from several UNC Department of Radiology volunteers supporting RAD-AID International’s educational partnership at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. These combined voices demonstrate the power and impact that we have in our collaborations.
IR integrated radiology resident, Raymond Wong, shares, “I entered the field of medicine in no small part because of the experiences that I had with global health as an undergraduate student. I continued my interest in global health during medical school, traveling to Ghana for five weeks on a mission trip. When I first became interested in Interventional Radiology, I wasn’t sure if global health was going to be able to be a part of my future. Hence, I was very excited to get involved with RAD-AID IR, and I am planning to go to Kenya to volunteer during my PGY-6 year (second dedicated IR year).
“In order to gain a deeper understanding of RAD-AID and what it takes to run a global health organization, I wanted to get involved with the leadership and administrative side of RAD-AID. I have volunteered my free time with the interventional radiology operation of RAD-AID, mainly helping with recruitment of volunteers for trips to our sites in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia. While traveling abroad and providing care for people in need is an eye-opening experience itself, it is equally awe-inspiring to see the many people that dedicate their time to making RAD-AID possible. There are physicians, technologists, nurses, advanced practice providers, physicists, informaticists, and many others that dedicate their free time to developing the many RAD-AID programs across the world.
“Having these experiences with the RAD-AID IR team has given me an inside look into the fragile inner-workings of global health programs. I anticipate that this perspective will allow me to more efficiently and effectively accomplish our goals when I eventually embark on my own trip to Kenya.”
Daniel Bradley, a technologist from UNC IR, builds on the theme of IR capacity development in Kenya, noting: “I think technologists can be huge key contributors in global health education…we as technologists, can really help teach about radiation safety. I feel like this [could be] easily overlooked…especially where they may not have the best resources. Even here in the US I feel that it can easily be overlooked when it is such an important factor and can easily be integrated in the health care setting. This not only protects our patients better but also our health care workers.
“I also believe that it’s important to be with a team that you can depend on! As a technologist I believe it’s best to give 100% of yourself to your team and to your patients. If we all take our jobs with pride it will show in our work and really make a difference! I am hoping, as I look to travel to Kenya, that I can be the helpful reminder to help keep us safe from additional radiation exposure, whether that be with distance from the source, extra barriers as protection, etc.”
UNC nurse Sarah DeRycke is part of the critical workforce needed to successfully integrate IR intervention in global health. She shares her hopes and perspective about the program: “Nurses generally have more face-to-face interaction time with patients compared with our physician colleagues. Because nurses are able to spend more time at the bedside, we naturally advocate for our patients and are aware of the health care challenges they face from their own perspectives. We are also able to truly understand each patient’s specific health care goals.
“Both nationally and internationally, nurses help bridge the gap between patients and physicians. This can be especially apparent in other countries, where limited resources may translate to even less interaction between patients and physicians, thus putting more emphasis on the nurse/patient relationship. Beyond providing direct patient care, nurses also can help shape global policy and practice that is evidence-based and aimed at positively impacting patient outcomes and building the health capacity of the country in which we are working.”
Upcoming Malawi Feature
Stay tuned for a future piece with interprofessional perspectives from Malawi, including a feature of Heather Jordan, a UNC sonographer, and Andrew Woodward, a UNC advanced imaging lab technologist.
Melissa Culp, M.Ed, RT(R)(MR)
Director, UNC Global Radiology, a RAD-AID Chapter
Clinical Assistant Professor of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Radiologic Science
Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology