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  • Brazil Awes, Enlightens Visiting Radiology Professors

    February 01, 2011

    Some might have been daunted at the prospect of working deep in the jungle, but three radiology professors who visited a small clinic at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil say the experience was the high point of an already exciting trip to the South American country.

    "The Amazon was huge, awesome, powerful and absolutely fascinating," said Erik K. Paulson, M.D., vice-chair of clinical services and chief of the Abdominal Imaging Division in the Department of Radiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "We realized that despite the cultural and language differences, the Brazilian radiologists have the same thirst for knowledge and zeal for life that we have."

    Dr. Paulson was one of three doctors who traveled to Brazil as part of RSNA's International Visiting Professor (IVP) Program, which annually sends teams of North American professors to lecture at national radiology society meetings and meet with radiology residency training programs at selected host institutions in developing nations. The trip was hosted by the Brazilian College of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging.

    The Amazon excursion was the last stop on the two-week trip devoted to educating Brazilian radiologists and assessing the state of healthcare in a country facing challenges much different than the U.S.

    "Infectious diseases such as TB and the waterborne infection schistosomiasis are common in Brazil," Dr. Paulson said. "There's a different spectrum of diseases than we're accustomed to seeing in the U.S."  

    One-on-One Time is Valuable

    The trip began at the Brazilian Congress of Radiology National Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, where each team member gave several lectures. Translators were provided for the Brazilian audience.

    "The highlight of our time in Rio was a tour of the city, which included all of its famous sites and was delightful," Dr. Paulson said.

    Next, the team traveled to Clinica da Imagem de Goiania in central Brazil, where the physicians presented lectures and case conferences to a group of residents and attending radiologists from the area.

    Along with the chance to meet colleagues from other institutions, the experience offered a wonderful opportunity to present MR cases to radiology staff at the clinic, which are not widely available, according to team member Donna Blankenbaker, M.D., an associate professor of musculoskeletal imaging in the Department of Radiology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

    "The best part was getting to know the residents and spending time on a personal level and discussing radiology training," Dr. Blankenbaker said.  

    Discrepancy in Care Revealed

    The team's tour of government and public hospitals in Goiania revealed a huge discrepancy in the quality of care for the insured versus the non-insured. Staffed primarily by radiology residents, the public hospital was significantly underfunded compared to the private facility, according to team members.

    "The private clinics generally have imaging equipment very similar to that in the U.S., while government hospitals have considerably fewer resources," according to team member Robert Hurst, M.D., director of interventional neuroradiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

    For example, there is no public health system for managing chronic disease in Brazil, he said. In terms of radiology, Brazil's public hospitals offer general radiology and limited access to CT scanners but not MR imaging, which is done in private hospitals, Dr. Blankenbaker said.

    "The technology offered in private imaging hospitals is great—similar to what we have in the U.S.," Dr. Blankenbaker said. "They are right up to date."

    The last stop was Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River, where the team visited a private imaging clinic, Clinica Lobo, where team members conducted two days of talks for trainees and practicing radiologists and visited Belam's government hospital, assessing the facility's resources.

    "We were able to fly over the area around Belem in a small plane piloted by a local radiologist to get an idea of the geography and some of the challenges involved with providing medical care to areas outside of cities that make up the majority of the country but are quite isolated," Dr. Hurst said. 

    Cultural, Educational Exchange a Success

    Despite the exotic locale, team members agree the highlight of the trip was interacting with radiology residents and attending physicians in Goiania and Belem.

    "The Brazilians were hungry for our teaching material and were interested in all aspects of American radiology and culture," Dr. Paulson said. "Likewise, we were very interested in Brazilian practice patterns, expectations and culture. The trip was extremely successful as a cultural and educational exchange."

    The programs and lectures were "very well received at each location we visited," according to Dr. Hurst, adding, "I would be happy to return to Brazil or other countries with similar programs."

    "I would definitely go back if I ever had the opportunity," Dr. Blankenbaker concurred.

    In addition to Brazil, 2010 IVP teams traveled to Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand. In 2011, IVP teams will travel to Lithuania, Malaysia, Myanmar and Mexico. Other recent trips have included Estonia, China, Nigeria and Vietnam. 

    Learn More

    For more information on the RSNA International Visiting Professor Program, go to RSNA.org/international/CIRE/ivpp.cfm.
     

    brazilian_residents_1
    2010 IVP team members met with radiology residents during the trip hosted by the Brazilian College of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging. Team member Erik K. Paulson, M.D., (center), is flanked by a group of radiology residents. Dr. Paulson and team members flew to Belam, at the mouth of the Amazon River, in a small plane piloted by a local radiologist.
    pilot_1
    Brazil_1
    The Brazilian Congress of Radiology National Meeting and a small clinic at the mouth of the Amazon were two stops on the agenda for participants in RSNA's International Visiting Professor (IVP) Program during a two-week trip to Brazil. From left: Erik K. Paulson, M.D., Donna Blankenbaker, M.D., and Robert Hurst, M.D.
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Discounted Dues: Eligible North American Countries 
Belize
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Grenada
Guatamala
Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Netherlands Antilles
Nicaragua
Panama
St.Lucia
St. Vincent & Grenadines
Country    Country    Country 
Afghanistan   Grenada   Pakistan
Albania   Guatemala   Papua New Guinea
Algeria   Guinea   Paraguay
Angola   Guinea-Bissau   Peru
Armenia   Guyana   Phillippines
Azerbaijan   Haiti   Rwanda
Bangladesh   Honduras   Samoa
Belarus   India   Sao Tome & Principe
Belize   Indonesia   Senegal
Benin   Iran   Serbia
Bhutan   Iraq   Sierra Leone
Bolivia   Jordan   Solomon Islands
Bosnia & Herzegovina   Jamaica   Somalia
Botswana   Kenya   South Africa
Bulgaria   Kiribati   South Sudan
Burkina Faso   Korea, Dem Rep (North)   Sri Lanka
Burundi   Kosovo   St Lucia
Cambodia   Kyrgyzstan   St Vincent & Grenadines
Cameroon   Laos\Lao PDR   Sudan
Cape Verde   Lesotho   Swaziland
Central African Republic   Liberia   Syria
Chad   Macedonia   Tajikistan
China   Madagascar   Tanzania
Colombia   Malawi   Thailand
Comoros   Maldives   Timor-Leste
Congo, Dem. Rep.   Mali   Togo
Congo, Republic of   Marshall Islands   Tonga
Cote d'Ivoire   Mauritania   Tunisia
Djibouti   Micronesia, Fed. Sts.   Turkmenistan
Dominica   Moldova   Tuvalu
Domicican Republic   Mongolia   Uganda
Ecuador   Montenegro   Ukraine
Egypt   Morocco   Uzbekistan
El Salvador   Mozambique   Vanuatu
Eritrea   Myanmar   Vietnam
Ethiopia   Namibia   West Bank & Gaza
Fiji   Nepal   Yemen
Gambia, The   Nicaragua   Zambia
Georgia   Niger   Zimbabwe
Ghana   Nigeria    

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Tier 1

  • Bed count: 1-400
  • Associate College: Community, Technical, Further Education (UK), Tribal College
  • Community Public Library (small scale): general reference public library, museum, non-profit administration office

Tier 2

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  • Medical School: research universities with medical school, including medical centers

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