Called back to Malawi
Logan was raised with a globally oriented mindset from a young age. As a teenager, she traveled extensively with her family, including to Malawi; her parents run a water well-building mission/nonprofit that operates throughout Africa.
Once she joined the UC faculty, she quickly made her intentions known—she wanted to launch a program that would have an impact on both her surgery residents as well as make a difference to an underserved community. She was provided seed money to scout out candidates for a program and after visiting 12 hospitals across four countries in Africa, she kept coming back to Malawi, and ended up in northern Malawi at Mzuzu Central Hospital.
“It wasn’t my intention, but I ended up right around where my parents had done work in Malawi,” she says. Through some persistence and a mutual contact (her driver), Logan got ahold of the head surgeon at Mzuzu Central Hospital on the day she was scheduled to fly back to the U.S.
“It turned out to be a perfect match. The hospital had just enough infrastructure—they had anesthesia, they had equipment—while also a great demand for providers/surgeons,” says Logan.
To get the program off the ground, Logan coordinated with a Malawian surgeon to map out what a residency rotation would look like.
“It was important for the partnership to be bi-directional. There’s a risk involved when you bring people into an unfamiliar hospital ... we could just be in the way, or take a long time to adjust to the new surroundings, different environment, culture, language barriers, even disease types. It was critical that our residents not only gain something from the experience, but that they also have something to offer the people of Malawi,” says Logan.
Park was working on faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston after graduation from the UC surgical residency program around the time Logan was launching the program, and he jumped at the opportunity to go to Malawi and supervise the first surgical resident to go. When Park initially went to Malawi, he was one of two surgeons in the entire region. Two surgeons for 2.5 million people is one of the lowest surgeon-per-population rates in the world.
As the UC program developed, other university academic surgery programs became interested. The residency rotation has now expanded to include partnerships with Washington University in St. Louis, University of Kansas and University of Louisville. “Now, we have more residents interested than we can currently accommodate,” says Logan.