Specialties for Physicians in Underserved Areas

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by Peeshee, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. Peeshee

    Peeshee Senior Member
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    Hi,
    What do you think are the most needed specialties for physicians working in underserved areas of the world? I know that all the specialties are valuable, but which are the most in demand in underserved areas? I have heard that family practice is valuable if you want to practice in different countries. Also, oral maxillofacial surgery seems to be high in demand, especially in Central America. Let me know if you can think of any others.
    Thanks so much.
     
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  3. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    Hi Peeshee:

    Question for you: Where are you now and where do you ultimately want to end up?

    If you want to come to the U.S. and can get the right visa's, etc., there is a great need for Family Practitioners in various places. You may even be able to finish your training here, if you want. Also, although it appears and my gut tells me (by your post) that you are not concerned about money, I know someone recently who got a HUGE signing bonus to open a family practice residency in rural Oklahoma.

    Let us know if you have ANY specific place in mind (be it U.S. or elsewhere) and maybe someone can help.

    -Skip
     
  4. Peeshee

    Peeshee Senior Member
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    Thank you for your reply.
    Actually, I was writing about countries other than the US, but since you mentioned the US and might have some ideas about places in the US, please let me know about those, too. I am currently in Mexico. By the way, I am a US citizen. You are right- money is not a major factor for me. In regards to the US, I know there are places in southeastern Kentucky, which are in need of drs. But, at the same time, there are many places around the world that have much more need than even the poorest place in the US. I would like to work in the US for some time,but my main goal is to work throughout underserved areas in countries other than the US. I am trying to figure out which specialties are of most use in these areas...Right now, I am leaning toward family practice due to the # of years of residency and also that it can be flexible in terms of hours. Plus, as far as I know, it is of great need in many places of the world, where people have to travel miles to even see a dr. Do you have any other ideas about this?
    Are you also interested in the same thing? I assume you are from Ross Univ. since your location is Dominica.
    thanks a lot!!
     
  5. Stephen Ewen

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    I can speak with authority on this issue.

    Bottom line: if you are wanting to serve in areas where people must walk for miles and/or days to arrive at care, the specialty you want to enter is general surgery. When they get to where you are at, surgery is generally what they most need.

    Moreover, if you wish to serve in such a context, I would encourage you to as far as possible train in such a context--the very context. Many programs will allow you to do this for a stint. In the past, I have posted a link here on a rural South African programme that might be good for you to take a stint in.

    Also, you will be seeing things and having to deal with things that touch upon every branch of medicine and surgery. Accordingly, you will need to go both broad and deep in your training--a hard balance. You will find yourself being a do-all doc whether you are trained for it or not; so better to know this ahead of time and prepare as far as possible.

    FP might seem the best route. The problem is that sacrifices too much depth for breadth. But it is still, in my opinion, the next best option. If you do such a program, do it in a truly rural area and do as much surgery as you can.

    Finally, know that nothing will prepare you fully, and you may often feel that way no matter what. So set yourself to become a life-long learner on the level and breadth that docs that are State side may not find the need to be. You will not be referring out too often, since there very well may not be that option. It is you or no one, very often.

    You will be doing an utterly crucial and most noble work. Keep us posted.
     
  6. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    Hi again, Peeshee:

    Yes, I am at Ross. As you know, most of the U.S. students coming out of the Caribbean end-up in Internal Medicine (through which you can specialize) or Family Practice. Although, there are a fair number that make it into other specialties.

    I am mostly aware of the need for primary care doctors, as well, in the midwest and NW interior of the U.S. As I mentioned, I actually know of at least one person who got an extremely lucrative position as a FP in an underservered area of the U.S.

    There is also <a href="http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/" target="_blank">Doctors Without Borders</a> which is an excellent place to start with regards to people in need of good medical care throughout the world. Likewise, I think Stephen's post is accurate and would be a good route to go (i.e., surgery) if you are willing to commit to a fairly long residnency. Also, <a href="http://www.nova.edu/pa/underserved.html" target="_blank">here's another good link</a> that shows some places in need.

    Good luck. I think what you intend to do is noble.

    Peace,

    -Skip :)
     
  7. Peeshee

    Peeshee Senior Member
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    Thanks, Stephen and Skip Intro, for the great information/advice! I knew I could get good info. from here! By the way, Skip Intro, I checked out that link, and it has a lot of good organizations to contact. Also, Stephen, I do remember that post about the rural South African program, and I think that will be the route for me to go.
    I am trying to promote these ideas to people at my school, but so far, not many are interested. I only hope that more medical students would consider working in underserved areas (even if it is in the US). The benefits and rewards can be so great.
    If anyone else has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them!
     
  8. Stephen Ewen

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Peeshee:
    <strong>I am trying to promote these ideas to people at my school, but so far, not many are interested. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">What school are you at? Are you still in the school you started with? Send a private message if you wish to keep that private.

    I have a surgeon friend who served in Ethiopia and then Niger for many years who has done lectures/presentations at certain medical school's Grand Rounds. His presentation is called "Surgical Challenges on the Edge of the Desert." The presentation, as well as the doc, is quite incredible. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    If your school or anyone else's shows interest in such a thing, let me know and perhaps we can make some connections.
     

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