UNC Surgery Around the World

Many health care providers in the Department of Surgery volunteer their services abroad, for the most part providing surgical care and instruction in developing nations.  Recent travels include:

Kamuzu Central Hospital, Malawi

UNC Surgery significantly expanded the longstanding collaboration between UNC and the Kamuzu Central Hospital, which has primarily focused on HIV and AIDS efforts, to include the prevention, treatment, and research of trauma and burn injuries.  Since 2007, one of several General Surgery residents has been onsite at the Hospital to assist with clinical care, provider training, and research.  Read their reports for additional information and photos.

Nanjing, China

Drs. Raj Pruthi and Eric Wallen from UNC’s Division of Urologic Surgery spent the first week of December 2010 in Nanjing, China, where they were the guests of the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University. They were the guest speakers at the Minimally Invasive Urological Conference in Jiangsu Province, and performed live robotic surgery at the Anjing General Hospital of Nanjing Military Command. They did not miss the opportunity to visit some of the local cultural venues. See photos.

West Bank, Palestine

The West Bank (2.5 million people) and Gaza (1.5 million people) have limited resources for care of children with cleft and craniofacial anomalies. Surgical care of these children has been limited historically to sporadic foreign surgery teams that have not traveled to these sites during times of political upheaval. Over the last several years, Dr. John van Aalst, UNC Plastic Surgery, has led many trips to the West Bank. The objectives of each trip: surgically treat between 25 and 55 children with cleft lip and palate, ear, and nasal deformities; and share expertise on cleft care with local surgeons, dentists, orthodontists, speech therapists and audiologists. Funding for the trips are provided by the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund and a grant from The SmileTrain. Additional information and photos.

Angkor Hospital for Children, Cambodia

For the past several years, Dr. Tim Weiner, UNC Pediatric Surgery, has traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia, accompanied by a surgical resident. They have volunteered their surgical expertise at the Angkor Hospital for Children, a pediatric hospital funded by the NGO Friends Without A Border. Resident reports and photos: Cambodia Trip 2009, Cambodia trip 2008

In the Fall of 2010, the UNC Department of Surgery sponsored a visit by Dr Vann Thy, a pediatric surgical colleague at AHC, to Chapel Hill so that he could observe clinical care at the NC Children's Hospital (See Photo). He also traveled on an international fellowship with Dr.'s Tim Weiner and Elizabeth Speck and advanced practice nurse Robin Deloach to an intensive course in pediatric colorectal surgery at the Children's Hospital of Cincinnati.

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Eric Halvorson traveled to Haiti with Project Medishare to provide medical services in the wake of January's catastrophic earthquake. For one week in May 2010, he served as the Chief of Surgery at an improvised Trauma 1 Hospital. Read his report.

UNC's Healing Hands in China

In China, regardless of the severity of disease or injury, payment for medical care often precedes the treatment itself, making medical care effectively inaccessible to millions of impoverished residents who lack financial resources and government aid. This is an especially devastating situation for the approximately five million burned and scalded children at risk of losing the functionality in their hands. In January 2010, C. Scott Hultman, MD, Chief of the UNC Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, volunteered in with the HandReach organization to treat young burn victims in China. Read more.

Tanzania Trauma Registry

Renae Stafford, MD, MPH, of UNC's Trauma/Critical Care division, traveled to Tanzania on an independently funded trip to establish ongoing educational contacts and to facilitate the development and implementation of a national trauma and emergency care database registry project.  Read more.

UNC Surgical Oncology Shares Its Expertise with Intraoperative Radiation Therapy

UNC is one of a dozen institutions in the United States to use the Intraop Mobetron, a mobile, electron-based radiation therapy system, for IORT, and is one of the leading cancer hospitals to utilize IORT for treatment of advanced primary rectal carcinoma and retroperitoneal sarcoma.  Its potential in cancer therapy has generated a great deal of excitement outside of the U.S., and Dr. Benjamin Calvo, Division Chief of UNC Surgical Oncology, has made several trips abroad to share his expertise.  Additional information and photos

Mulago Hospital, Uganda - Revisited

In its third visit in as many years, a UNC-led medical team provided heart surgery for ten children with complex congenital heart defects at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. At the time of their departure on Oct. 7, all of the children were doing well.  Full report.

South Africa - Learn-Not-to-Burn

Ernest Grant, RN, MSN, Director of Burn Prevention and Community Outreach at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, traveled to South Africa in August 2009 to conduct a Train-the-Trainer workshop on the South African version of the Learn-Not-To Burn Preschool program. Conducted in concert with the National File Protection Association (NFPA), this is the culmination of an eight year project that involved several prior visits to identify the scope of the project, challenges of burn and injury prevention, and strategies for implementing a multi-faceted program. The effort in August focused on the adoption of the Learn-Not-to-Burn Preschool curriculum by several key organizations, including the Early Childhood Development Institute, the National Injury Prevention Program, and the Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services system.  Additional information (.pdf)

Mulago Hospital, Uganda

In October of 2008, a pediatric heart surgery team, comprised of healthcare providers from UNC, the Children's National Medical Center in Washington DC, and the Jacksonville Hospital, traveled to Kampala, Uganda in their second annual excursion. In helping the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program at Mulago Hospital reach a goal of self sufficient, sustainable care for Ugandan children with heart disease, the team performed ten surgical cases and followed up on the ten surgical patients from 2007 (pictured above in group shot with UNC t-shirts). UNC participants included Dr. Michael Mill (UNC Cardiothorcic Surgery), Karla Brown (pediatric nurse practitioner), Ruben Bocanegra (surgeon's assistant) and Bill Nicotra (perfusionist), who traveled under the sponsorship of The Larry King Cardiac Foundation and Samaritan's PurseAdditional information and photos.

Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, India

Dr. Duncan Phillips (UNC Pediatric Surgery) journeyed in August to the Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Bangalore, India, to participate in the International Workshop on Advanced Pediatric Laparoscopy 2008. Over the course of a weekend, Dr. Phillips performed a variety of surgical procedures, which were telecast to an audience of surgeons located in a nearby conference center.  Photo