Working in Malawi, a country with no adult neurologists, was incredibly challenging and rewarding. It was very humbling to care for patients in the clinics who had heard there was a neurologist visiting and had traveled for hours, usually on foot, to see me. I learned so much from local physicians, who are master clinicians. I saw patients with neurological manifestations of parasitic infections including malaria, cysticercosis and schistosomiasis as well as tuberculosis and end stage AIDS, none of which I had much exposure to prior to this experience. I was able to hone my diagnostic skills as imaging and other tests were limited or unavailable.
Laura Donovan, MD (Chief Resident, Adult Neurology Program) on her clinical elective rotation in Malawi, Africa.
Our Community and Global Neurology Program provides our residents with the opportunity to learn and incorporate principles of community health as they care for patients in Washington Heights and abroad. Our local community, Washington Heights, is the most ethnically diverse in New York, home to the largest population of individuals from the Dominican Republic outside of the country. Community health topics including health literacy and patient-centered care are incorporated into the residency noon conference curriculum. Senior residents have the opportunity to do clinical electives internationally in the Dominican Republic and Malawi. These rotations not only expose residents to unique clinical cases including tropical neurology and hone their diagnostic skills, but also foster personal and professional growth through exchange of knowledge and complement on-campus experiences.
Residents work closely with our faculty who reflect the diversity of our surrounding community and are dedicated to improving the care of patients that come to our Institute from the surrounding areas. Residents have the opportunity to work on research projects studying neurological conditions including stroke (NOMAS) and dementia (WHICAP) in our diverse Northern Manhattan population, as well as study the burden of neurological conditions in the global context.