The University of Arizona

UA Medical Students Focus on Global Need

By Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, University Communications | March 15, 2012

Next week, UA medical students will highlight global need while raising funds for programs in Honduras and Ghana.

Dr. Joseph Sheppard, foreground, oversees a hand operation performed by UA orthopaedic surgery resident Dr. Bobby Dezfuli at Hospital Centro Socorro De Lo Alto, a 26-bed hospital in Sula, Macuelizo, Santa Barbara, Honduras.
Dr. Joseph Sheppard, foreground, oversees a hand operation performed by UA orthopaedic surgery resident Dr. Bobby Dezfuli at Hospital Centro Socorro De Lo Alto, a 26-bed hospital in Sula, Macuelizo, Santa Barbara, Honduras.
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Students from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson will host Global Health Week March 19-23.  

During the week, future doctors will educate their peers on health-care systems and medical issues affecting people in a variety of countries and cultures while showcasing the international efforts of the college and faculty.

Presenters will include Dr. Joseph Sheppard, a UA professor of orthopaedic surgery with expertise in hand and upper extremity, who each year dedicates time to perform much-needed surgeries in Honduras and most recently in Haiti after its disastrous earthquake two years ago.  

Sheppard returned from Honduras in January. During his annual commitment abroad, he provides training in complex hand reconstruction and shares practical surgical techniques with Honduran orthopaedic, plastic and general surgery residents.

He also shares the international experience with UA residents. This year, Sheppard was joined by UA orthopaedic surgery resident Dr. Bobby Dezfuli and Sheppard's daughter, who is completing a master's degree in social work at Boston College.

Sheppard's commitment to the Honduran experience includes a nod to the culture and the importance of the hospital within the community. This year, he has committed to help revitalize a soccer field for the community.

During Global Health Week, the medical students will raise funds to help sponsor and cultivate a local Honduran soccer team and for much-needed hospital beds in a maternity ward in Ghana. The Beds for Life Project is led by first-year medical student Charity Adusei.

"Even though this hospital is located in the capital of Ghana and is highly used and referred to, there are very few maternity beds to meet the demand. Many women give birth on the floor of this hospital as they wait for a bed. The lives of children and mothers are at great risk during delivery," Adusei said.

Upon graduation, she plans to return to Ghana to help the nation recruit and train more female gynecologists.

The students responsible for Global Health Week are members of the American Medical Student Association and the Global Health Forum, a student-run organization that works to keep medical students informed and involved in global health issues at home and abroad.

The students partnered with other UA medical clubs on campus to highlight global need. 

The Global Health Week schedule is as follows:

  • March 19, noon to 1 p.m.: Dr. Joseph Sheppard and Dr. Bobby Dezfuli; orthopaedic surgery; treating patients in Honduras. Room 2117, College of Medicine.
  • March 20, noon to 1 p.m.: Dr. Duke Duncan; public health and pediatrics; Room 2117, College of Medicine.
  • March 21, noon to 1 p.m.: Dr. Lynn Coppola; obstetrics and gynecology; treating patients in Africa; Room 3117, College of Medicine.
  • March 22, noon to 1 p.m.: Eric Hamm, Bashar Ahmed, Zach Orman, medical students; opportunities for medical students to become involved with global health care; Room 2117, College of Medicine.
  • March 22, 5:30 p.m.: acupuncture demonstration; Room 2117, College of Medicine.

Contacts

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Jamie Fleming

American Medical Student Association

flemingj@email.arizona.edu