Upstate contigent in Ecuador to offer disaster medical assistance

Upstate contigent in Ecuador to offer disaster medical assistance

Domachowske, along with Upstate pediatrician Steven Blatt, MD, andinternal medicine/infectious disease specialist Ambika Eranki, MD, ismaking that happen for pediatric chief resident Aeysha Phillip, MD, andsecond-year medical student Marleny Acosta through a 12-day mission tripthat began Dec. 12 to the Bahia de Caraquez region of Ecuador.Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science is sponsoring the trip in collaboration with the Ecuadoriannon-governmental organization (NGO), Walking Palms Global Initiative.

As with most coastal regions of Ecuador, Bahia de Caraquez wasravaged several months ago by a devastating earthquake, leaving victimshomeless and without medical care. There, he says, Phillip and Acostaare adding a unique dimension to their learning experience. And, theyare being introduced to global medicine and medical mission work at atime when they are deciding on their career paths.

“Through social media we see how quickly life changes for victims ofdisasters - homes and villages devastated, lives lost,” saidDomachowske, professor of pediatrics and microbiology and immunology.“This experience is offering Marleny and Aeysha a closer, deeperunderstanding of how the lives of disaster victims are impactedmedically, as these victims lost their hospitals and medical clinics,medical records and life-saving prescriptions. They are working besidedoctors and other health care professionals from other countries. Theyare assisting in providing care in a make shift field clinic withlimited medical supplies and prescriptions. They are being challenged,but that challenge is helping them grow in their profession in a waythat can be  life-changing,” he adds.

This is the second Upstate medical mission trip to the region thisyear for Domachowske. In July, he treated victims for a variety ofillnesses, including malnutrition, skin infections, respiratoryinfections and illnesses resulting from a contaminated water supply.Professionally and personally, he has participated in medical andhumanitarian mission work for several years and often includes hisfamily members in this work. His daughter, Elizabeth, an MPH student atSUNY Buffalo, joined him on this medical mission.

The entourage brought supplies provided by Kingsway Charities, anorganization that receives medicines and medical supplies frompharmaceutical donors and dispenses them to medical teams serving thepoor worldwide. Domachowske is making a personal donation of an iPad to amedical student from Vermont who is in the region creating a type ofelectronic medical records tracking system for victims.

Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science has along-standing partnership with Ecuador. Domachowske heads the Center’sGlobal Maternal Child and Pediatric Health Program that combinesresearch, clinical trials, education and training in Syracuse and inEcuador. Center researchers collaborate with Ecuadorian researchers onimportant infectious disease studies. When the earthquake struck Ecuadorlast April, Anna Stewart Ibarra, PhD, director of the Center’s LatinAmerica Research Program, established an Ecuador Earthquake Relief fundthrough The Upstate Foundation in tandem with a local community healthNGO in Ecuador. Stewart Ibarra has been offering relief assistance inthe Bahia de Caraquez region since the earthquake occurred.

Caption: Professor Joseph Domachowske, MD, provides medical careto a family in El Salvador as part of a medical mission in 2013.Domachowske, who directs the Global Maternal Child and Pediatric HealthProgram at Upstate, has done extensive work on medical missionsoverseas.