Through a unique partnership, HUG, GMKA, and the Harvard Scholars-at-Risk (SAR) program have established an innovative initiative, the Harvard-HUG Medical SAR program, to sponsor medical practitioners from Ukrainian academic institutions who develop transferrable medical skills via observerships at Harvard-affiliated hospitals and disseminate this learning with colleagues upon return to Ukraine.
Invited scholars study at hospitals with committed mentors and supervisors of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s network for 1-3 months developing the knowledge and skills necessary to advance the capacity for improved medical care and services in their country. The overarching aim of this initiative is to foster regeneration and reform for medical infrastructure and care in Ukraine, addressing both acute and long-term needs for the country’s health care system.
In November, the Harvard-HUG inaugural SAR Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) was established in effort to ensure this initiative addresses the most crucial needs of the Ukrainian health care system through monthly discussions of objectives and outcomes to enhance health care and delivery for Ukraine.
So far seven Ukrainian doctors from seven different specialities have participated in the program.
The HUG-SAR team looks forward to supporting observerships for the next round of clinicians in the fall, which includes a cardiac surgeon, cardiac anesthesiologist, two transplant surgeons, hematologist, burn specialist, a team of plastic surgeons, and a team of obstetricians and gynecologists. Thank you to our partners and the many philanthropists that help to support this program.
Please see below individual highlights on the clinical scholars who participated in the program.
Dr. Dariia Simchuk is an anesthesiologist and she came to Boston primarily to study regional anesthetic blocks used for orthopedic operations, a skill that can greatly contribute to the positive management of war wounds in Ukraine. As the co-founder of the medical educational platform “Progress” that she founded with a classmate in university, Dr. Simchuk organizes educational events for Ukrainian doctors, which includes seminars, conferences, and master classes. Through the platform, she also shares evidence-based information on medicine, such as translations of American and European medical guidelines. Dr. Simchukis actively implementing what she learned during her observership back in Ukraine and as an educator, especially through her platform, is in a position to disseminate the skills and observerships she made in Boston with a number of Ukrainian medical clinicians, including her colleagues and trainees.
Dr. Veronika Patsko is a medical oncologist from Ukraine who came to Boston to study Gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies. She observed pre- and post-treatment management for cancer patients and learned additional evidence-based practices toward establishing solutions for complications of oncological care exacerbated by the war. In addition, seeing how patients in Boston asked informed questions that accelerated medical intervention and garnered earlier treatment, Dr. Patsko became interested in the concept of patient education. She feels certain that this model and approach will benefit patients in Ukraine, fostering an understanding, for example, about why early diagnosis is important and of what symptoms to be aware. Now, back in Ukraine, Dr. Patsko is supporting an upcoming conference in Kyiv with educational lectures from Doctors from abroad for patients to better understand their medical condition and best habits to promote improved health.
Dr. Vadym Vus is a rural family doctor that leads the FOCUS POCUS ultrasound team in disseminating the broader application of ultrasound techniques known as POCUS – Point of Care Ultrasound. This method of ultrasound, which is used for rapid diagnosis especially in emergency situations, allows for much more immediate initiation of proper treatment. His time and studies in Boston granted him further research in the use of POCUS and advanced ultrasonographic techniques. He also deepened his understanding of the work of primary healthcare (PHC), emergency room (ER) medicine, mobile medical care, nurses and team collaboration, and wound care in the United States (U.S.) to potentially reproduce observed experiences back in Ukraine.
Dr. Sofiya Hrechukh is a psychiatrist from Ukraine with experience working in both inpatient psychiatric hospitals, correctional facilities, and outpatient settings. Since the invasion of Ukraine and resulting war, the civilian hospitals must manage both civilian and military populations and care for physical and emotional trauma in numbers not previously experienced. This has led to a recognition of need for an integrated consult-liaison (CL) model, where a psychiatrist proficient in this area serves as an advisor and participant to patient care in a medical/surgical hospital. Dr. Hrechukh studied this model in Boston and now as the newly appointed Director of the Psychiatry Department in Lviv, can build a first of its kind CL program in Ukraine.