One Drop Less, University of Cape Coast School of Medicine, Ghana
AAO-HNSF Humanitarian Travel Grant Report.
Julie A. Highland, MD, University of Utah
I am a chief resident at the University of Utah. In January 2023, I traveled with the nonprofit organization One Less Drop, in collaboration with the University of Utah Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, on a medical outreach trip to Cape Coast, Ghana. Our team was led by associate professor Jeremy D. Meier, MD, who has a long-term, established relationship with Peter Appiah-Thompson, MD, a Ghanaian otolaryngologist and department head at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, which has a catchment area of five million citizens. We were also joined by three additional attending otolaryngologists and two attending anesthesiologists from the United States.
Ahead of our trip, Dr. Appiah-Thompson and his partners screened Ghanaian patients who needed advanced surgical expertise. When we arrived in Cape Coast, we saw over 40 patients in an afternoon clinic and enrolled 26 of them for surgery. We saw patients from a variety of age groups and geographic locations, as well as diverse presentations of head and neck conditions including advanced sinus, otologic, and airway disease.
One of my favorite aspects of the trip was our close working relationship with Dr. Appiah-Thompson and three otolaryngology residents. We were available to lend our experience when needed, but ultimately stood alongside these talented surgeons to further their skills in providing care for patients with highly complex issues. This was an amazing experience that provided an in-depth understanding of how to successfully run a sustainable international surgical program, and I will be able to apply what I learned into my future rural practice in Anchorage, Alaska. I am very appreciative of the work of AAO-HNS and the Humanitarian Efforts Committee and their dedication to resident education, and I am honored to to be a recipient of an AAO-HNSF 2023 Humanitarian Efforts Travel Grant!