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Anesthesiology: International Services

Practicing beyond our borders

Motivated by a desire to help others, the faculty, staff, and trainees of the Vanderbilt Department of Anesthesiology extend our missions of patient care, education, and research outside of our hospital and clinic walls to underserved areas around the world.

The Vanderbilt International Anesthesia (VIA) program builds on our institutional strengths and resources to achieve unique goals in international perioperative care. The overriding objective of VIA is to benefit others' lives by sharing the professional medical skills and knowledge of the faculty, staff, and trainees of the Vanderbilt Department of Anesthesiology. An additional goal is to benefit ourselves by building positive relationships with those we serve and our colleagues working within the international community.

Our department is uniquely positioned to launch a comprehensive international program by partnering with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (IGH), which currently provides opportunities for Vanderbilt students and faculty to become involved in international medical issues. Also, our faculty bring valuable international experience to this program, having already participated in international service and education experiences throughout the world over the past three decades.

Guatemala

Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and The Shalom Foundation work together to improve the lives of children in Guatemala through better health care.

Since 2005, Children's Hospital has sent surgical teams to Guatemala City to provide surgical care to children in desperate need twice a year. The surgeries are performed at the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center, operated by The Shalom Foundation.

Why Guatemala?

Guatemala has one of the worst rates in the world of children failing to grow to their full size, with an overall stunting rate of 44 percent of all children under 5, due to lack of nutrition.

There is also a very high ratio of children to adults as a result of the country's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. The war resulted in 1 million refugees and the deaths of 100,000 people.

  • 50 percent of Guatemala's population is under 18.
  • 42.6 percent of the population is age 14 or younger.
  • 75 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
  • 16 percent live in extreme poverty.
  • 59 percent lack access to any health care services.

The Shalom Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance and financial support to children living in extreme poverty.

Kenya

Mark Newton, M.D., leads Vanderbilt's international program in Kenya. He and his family have lived and worked for several years at Kijabe Hospital. Located in the highlands of Kenya on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, about one hour north of Nairobi, Kijabe Hospital is one of the few tertiary care centers in the country. Founded in 1915, the institution has grown more rapidly since 1961 to become a major hospital and education center for medical providers in Kenya and many surrounding East African countries.

This 260-bed complex, comprising a 230-bed main hospital, a 30-bed orthopedic and rehabilitation children's hospital and one of the best nursing schools in Kenya, is the education center for Kenyan and international medical students, interns and residents. A Kenyan Christian denominational institution manages the hospital, continuing to develop programs that provide service, education and research to improve medical care for disadvantaged citizens and refugees.

Newton returned to Kenya in August 2008, serving as the first member of the Vanderbilt Anesthesiology Department to work as a physician overseas in a long-term capacity. He also serves as a director of the Vanderbilt International Anesthesia Program. Through this program, many of our pediatric anesthesia faculty members travel to Kenya to participate in educational efforts in Kijabe and the pediatric anesthesia fellows have the opportunity to participate in a one month long rotation during their training, allowing them to grow personally and professionally and encouraging further involvement in global health.