Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
In September 2019, Ochsner signed an affiliation agreement for an exchange observation program for graduate medical students with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, and Universidad CES in Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia.
In 2022, Yvens Laborde, MD, Medical Director of Global Health Education and Public Health along with a special team from Ochsner Health travelled to Colombia to explore the possibilities for Global Health rotations for learners in GME and UQ, OCS.
The trip included:
In 2016, Canada-Uganda Sport and Exercise Medicine (CUSEM) performed their first medical outreach trip to Uganda, in order to support the development of sports medicine. After a 2 year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CUSEM returned to Uganda in May 2022, and I am very fortunate and appreciative that I was allowed to accompany this group. Alongside Dr. Blake Boggess from Duke University, and Dr. Rob Olson from the University of Southern California, I was one of 3 U.S. based physicians that traveled with the team. The team also consisted of 3 sports medicine physical therapists and 1 exercise scientist.
Armed with ultra-portable hand-held ultrasound units, we started the trip by giving a presentation to orthopedic surgery and anesthesiology residents and medical students at CoRSU Hospital in Kololo, Uganda on Ultrasound of Peripheral Nerves. We were also able to demonstrate peripheral nerve blocks on some of their patients in the operating room.
The next day we held a comprehensive musculoskeletal ultrasound course for the Orthopedic Society of Uganda and Uganda Association of Radiologists in Kampala, Uganda. This was attended by approximately 40 Ugandan physicians and consisted of didactic lectures followed by hands on ultrasound scanning by the participants. MRI is especially difficult to arrange in Uganda due to poor access and financial constraints, making ultrasound a much more practical solution to help those physicians both diagnose and treat their patients in a timely and effective manner. The feedback from the course was exceedingly positive and we were also able to help arrange for special pricing from the local representatives from GE Ultrasound to help improve the financial feasibility of integrating ultrasound into their local practices.
We then traveled to Mbarara, Uganda and gave more musculoskeletal ultrasound education to the physical therapy students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. The following week, we set up a clinic inside Mandela National Stadium and were able to treat over 90 athletes from the Ugandan national track and field, basketball, and volleyball teams. We also gave lectures to the Ugandan national coaches and medical care teams on topics such as heat illness, strength and conditioning, and sport specific warmups.
I'm very proud to mention the local support that I received from those here in Louisiana in regards to this medical outreach trip. Brian Moore from Ponchartrain Orthotics and Prosthetics donated multiple boxes of various durable medical equipment such as knee and ankle braces and athletic tape. Our team at Ochsner also graciously donated extensive medical supplies that enabled us to provide the same level of care that we offer here in the U.S. The response from the Ugandan people was that of extreme gratitude, and for that, the trip was extremely rewarding.
In November 2021, Ochsner Hospital For Children and New Orleans City Park teamed up to host a kids 5-11 vaccine event and it was a super success! From engaging STEM activities like designing your own DNA bracelet to getting creative by coloring a community art mural, these superheroes certainly know how to have a great time. What’s more, they’re protecting themselves and their community from COVID-19 by getting their vaccines.
Superhero Cecilia said, “My superhero name is COVID Begone!” Cecilia and her cousin Luca were proud to show off their superhero capes and masks in the fight to stop COVID-19.
Keith, pictured with his father, was the first child to get his vaccine at the event! His father, a physician, said, “I’ve taken care of a lot of COVID patients, so I am really excited my son has received his vaccine.”
On Sunday, October. 17,2021, the Ochsner Baton Rouge chapter of Hispanics at Ochsner Leading & Advocating (HOLA) sponsored a vaccine event at the Hispanic Apostolate of Baton Rouge.
In a nod to the upbeat spirit for which the New Orleans area is famous, Ochsner Health ended March 2021 with Vax Fest, a 24-hour COVID-19 mass vaccination drive-through event in Metarie featuring live music, great local food, and a festival flair. The health system announced that nearly 5,000 people received a dose of Moderna Inc.’s investigational COVID-19 vaccine during the event, which started at 10 a.m. March 29 and continued until the next morning. It was billed as the biggest COVID-19 vaccination event in the state. “People were getting out of cars and dancing,” said Thomas, who worked two shifts as pharmacy lead for the event. “When there wasn’t live music, there was a D.J. ... The staff were dancing and having a good time, and that was a lot of fun.”
Our global health is local health theme was quoted by DHS Mayorkis during his visit to New Orleans where Ochsner made vaccines available to travelers at the Airport
“We will not be indifferent to the suffering of our fellow human beings”- It is this simple principle which is at the core of our CEO Warner Thomas', Chief Academic Officer Leonardo Seoane's and the Medical Director of Global Health Education's belief that "Global Health is Local Health”. We believe that diseases and disasters do not respect borders and that we must prioritize improving health and achieving health equity for all.
It is this visionary approach that allowed us to better understand very early on the critical importance of ensuring the equitable distribution and access to the vaccines would be critical to our ability to effectively curtail the epidemic.
Our Vaccine Task force did an incredible work in devising innovate and non traditional ways to connect with our vulnerable communities through trusted community leaders and partnerships to drive vaccinations in all our diverse communities.
This commitment to “not be indifferent to the suffering of our fellow human beings” was again in full evidence when at 8:30am Saturday August 14, 2021, when we got two frantic and panicked phone calls from our FONDYLSHAHH Ochsner Partners in Aux Cayes and Jeremie, Haiti that they were experiencing another severe earthquake in Western Part of the Island in Haiti where we have previously intervened after Hurricane Mathew in October 2016.
When I approached our CEO and President Warner Thomas and our Chief Academic Officer with this disastrous news and the devastating death toll and damage that was to follow, their response was ”how can we help?”
This response is even more amazing given the fact that we at Ochsner Health were engulfed in a devastating 4th surge of COVID 19 that was overwhelming our health care system and our resources.
Our team of health care heroes quickly mobilized and in short order working with Regine Sylvain, Dawn Pevey, Debbie Simonson, Maida Glover, Michael Guillot, Mark Dupuis with guidance from our FONDYLSAHH partners on the ground in Haiti to initiate a relief mission to the victims of the disaster.
When the Ochsner Health system decided to partner with the University of Queensland in Australia, one of the leading medical schools in the world, to create the UQ Clinical School it was with the vision that physicians and health care professionals of the future would need to have a more global view of health in order to effectively face the many health related challenges of the 21st century.
This global perspective has allowed us to have a better understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps that we needed to take very early on in order to better manage and mitigate its propagation.
With the support of Leonardo Seoane our Chief Academic Officer we were able to very quickly use our experience from previous interventions to put a mission in place with a focus on getting medical supplies and medicines to the areas that were in greatest in need. Our relationships with the ministry of health and local relationships allowed us to transport the medications.
We were able to travel to port au prince Haiti on Tuesday August 17th to port au prince Haiti and then met with our contacts on the ground to ensure security for travel and also met with an elite Colombian Urban Rescue Team for a debrief and planning.
We traveled to Aux Cayes on Wednesday morning and met with the team at Aux Cayes General Hospital where we distributed medications and supplies and worked with the team to assist with triage and logistics for the Aux Cayes Hospital.
We were able to establish nutritional and financial support program for family members of patients in the hospital who had virtually lost everything in the earthquake.
Worked in the ED triage and medicine ward with Haitian phyisican partners
Mobile clinic with FONDYSAHH partners on the ground with Amiva at Camp Gambion
Met with Former First Lady and President Marthelly during work at Hospital
Met with Dr. Geder-The hospsital director to discuss further plans for future collaboration and need for more effective COVID 19 protocols and vaccination program for the facility.
Food distribution and financial support directly to victims of the quake at hospital general and ofatma
Meeting with MSSP director at OFATMA
Flew Back to Port au Prince met with director at vaccine administration site and reviewed protocols and procedures and provided some guidance and expertise
Met with Dr. Jean Hughues Henrys’ The President of the Haitian Medical Association and Advisor to the Prime Minister and Minister of Health
Returned to New Orleans early Saturday morning on the last flight to become part of Team A to support our efforts to care for our patients and staff during Hurricane Ida.
Ochsner Health continues to be committed to its mission to serve, heal, lead, educate and innovate to improving health and achieving health equity for all people locally and globally.
2019 in Jaipur, India. Post-op rounds on the pediatric ward after cleft lip repair.
2019 in Sokoto, Nigeria, with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders. Repairing a facial defect with Nigerian surgeon Dr Muhammad Abubakar as well as the Nigerian maxillofacial surgery resident.
2019 in Sokoto, Nigeria. Multi-disciplinary and multi-national team from Noma Children’s Hospital and MSF/Doctors Without Borders. From left: American anesthesiologist Wil van Cleve, Nigerian anesthesia trainee whose name I do not remember, Nigerian maxillofacial surgery registrar Alfred, me, Nigerian surgeon Muhammad Abubakar, Nigerian mental health worker Debo, Italian mental health worker Maria.
Our impact in the local community around Hospitalito Atitilan in Guatemala is growing exponentially and our reputation for excellence in eye care is spreading rapidly. In just two separate 1-week trips to Guatemala, we served a combined total of 900 patients in the clinics and performed a total of 164 eye surgeries! In addition, Dr. Pulin Shah had the privilege of continuing our partnership with Health in Sight Missions, by joining a surgical team serving patients in Roatan, Honduras. There are plans to build a new eye clinic on the island to better serve this population. We would like to share just one of the many touching stories we are privileged to experience on these journeys to deliver eye care. This lovely 4-year-old girl was brought to our clinic in Hospitalito Atitlan, Guatemala by her father in May because of infantile cataracts causing severely poor vision. Even at age 4, she didn’t walk independently due to her poor eye-sight and had to be carried by her parents. She didn’t interact with other children and was very isolated. We performed her first cataract surgery in the right eye in May 2019, and you can see from the photo that her right eye is clear and the left still had a white cataract in the pupil. Dr David Dance performed her second surgery in November 2019, and reported that even with just one eye seeing, she was a completely new kid. She bounced around the clinic and her father described that she now played with her friends and act-ed like a normal 4 year old! Her life changing story is just one example of how these missions are such a gift for everyone involved.
Jason D. Pou, MD, traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in March 2020 with the Global Smile Foundation (GSF) to provide comprehensive craniofacial care to the underserved local population while educating local healthcare teams for future care.
Dr. CJ Bui working together with a Vietnamese neurosurgeon on a pediatric neurosurgery patients.
Ochsner Neurosurgeons C.J. Bui and Roger Smith along with neurosurgery resident Sam Shasmnia with Vietnamese Pediatric Neurosurgery Chief Dr. Can at Children’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
Dr. Roger Smith and neurosurgery resident Dr. Juanita Garces assisting Dr. Khai Nguyen at Children’s Hospital in Vietnam.
Ochsner - Manipal Peds CME
2018 IAP Ochsner session
International student Hostel/Manipal
Nepal and Sikkim
MMMC (Melaka campus)
2018 in Ujjain, India. Repairing a cleft lip and instructing Indian medical students from R.D. Gardi Medical College.
2018 in Indore, India. Repairing a cleft palate with an Ochsner/Tulane otolaryngology resident (centre) and an Indian colleague, Dr Rahul Chhajlani.
In 2018, the Ochsner team, comprised of a primary care physician, urogynecologist, pelvic reconstruction surgeon, infectious disease physician, and 4 medical students went to Moron, Haiti. This small commune in Jeremie Arrondissement, in the Grand’Anse department of Haiti has a population of 250,000 people. With limited access to electricity, adequate plumbing, sanitary living conditions, clean drinking water, and food, most of the living infrastructure, agriculture sector, and health center was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Prior to the week trip to Haiti, the team collected basic medical supplies to be used in the clinic. On average, the team saw 90-100 patients a day in the clinic and were able to provide IM pain medication, anti-hypertensive, analgesics, and reflux medication. Unfortunately, lack of access to women’s health and STI prevention education was noticeably apparent with amount of STI’s. Although the team was able to treat many acute conditions, the biggest goal was to provide better quality care in the clinic beyond this one -week visit.
Dr. CJ Bui giving a lecture on pediatric vascular malformations in Vietnam
Dr. Roger Smith giving a lecture to Vietnamese neurosurgeons
Drs. Roger Smith and Erin Biro operating on a pediatric brain tumor patient in Vietnam
Muhimbili National Hospital
Muhimbili University of Health & Allied Sciences
Muhimbili National Hospital
Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI)
JCKI Cath Lab
Cardiac Operating room
Cardiac surgery ICU
Jason Pou, MD also traveled to Matagalpa, Nicaragua in February 2017 with New Orleans Medial Mission Services to provide ENT care to the underserved population while also educating the local healthcare team.
Since education wasn’t equal in this patient population, pictures were used to help patients understand disease better.
Last years group established an electronic medical record (EMR) equipped with patient’s name, medical record number (MRN), and information from their visit. However, patients did not have MRN numbers given to them when leaving and a lot of patients did not know their birthday. So, the only way to look up patients was via their names, a difficult task because of language barriers. In order to overcome this inconsistency, Photo ID cards with MRN’s were given to each patient.
This year’s group was able to provide more continuity of care. The EMR system lacked information pertaining to patient’s history and physical exam findings for each visit, so we began to attach electronic scanned copy of the medical record to each patient’s chart, paving the way for true sustainable tool for continuity of care within the clinic in La Victoire, Haiti.
Each trip students build upon advancements made by previous trips. During this trip students were able to create Patient ID cards and pharmacy cards that could be scanned by the pharmacy in order to dispense medications. However, even this project had its limitations. Since camera’s were too expensive, pictures were not included. Also, since the clinics in Mayaya La Victoire, Haiti did not have continuous internet, the ID cards could not be constantly updated.
Students and faculty also participated in daily clinics. Dr. Obinna Nnedu, an infectious disease specialist, mostly saw patients with reflux, osteoarthritis, headaches, and fever. Dr. Leise Knoepp, an OBGYN physician, saw patients with vaginal discharge, pain, and amenorrhea. The medical students were also able to perform minor procedures such as: wound debridement, lipoma removal, and fracture splinting. Overall, the most common condition seen was Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), most likely because of the low caloric intake of the area resulting in an increase in acid secretion.
Images used on ID cards so patients can understand their medications based off of pictures
Starting 2014, 4th year Ochsner medical students and faculty went to Haiti during their Medicine in Society rotation. The main goal was to create an EMR database of every patient seen by the visiting medical team in the Fondylsahh clinic in the remote village of Mayaya La Victoire, Haiti. The group succeeded in creating a database that provided continuity of care, identified the main health issues in the population and treatment plans, and allowed future students and physicians to use this data to better prepare for future trips. Using the EMR, the top diagnoses were identified as: as musculoskeletal pain, vaginitis, Gastritis/GERD, UTI, and headache. This provided good insight into the health disparities of the population and how closely they are linked to their environment.
Students training with the i-STAT blood analyzer
After the government of Haiti and Ochsner Health System signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in late 2012, the first official inaugural mission was conducted. The aim of this program was to provide an elective experience for UQ students who were interested in international health. The goal is to educate students abroad and domestically so they can become better physicians. According to a Ross Hoffman, previous student, “The poverty I saw in Haiti pervaded many aspects of life, most notably health, the economy, and education. Any approach to serving Haiti’s future must address all three areas in combination. He also felt that “ Having the opportunity to see and interact with patients within the community, and in this particular setting, was certainly eye-opening”.
I took this photograph as our group was walking through the village on the second afternoon we were in Mombin. Taking this opportunity to fully immerse ourselves amongst the community, explore the town and interact with the local population in this manner was enchanting. - Emily Sineway
The Ochsner Neurosurgery Team joins the Vietnamese Neurosurgeons in an academic conference
Students and faculty participated in daily clinics. Dr. Obinna Nnedu, an infectious disease specialist, mostly saw patients with reflux, osteoarthritis, headaches, and fever. Dr. Leise Knoepp, an OBGYN physician, saw patients with vaginal discharge, pain, and amenorrhea. The medical students were also able to perform minor procedures such as: wound debridement, lipoma removal, and fracture splinting. Overall, the most common condition seen was Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), most likely because of the low caloric intake of the area resulting in an increase in acid secretion.