I am very excited to share with you the opportunity I have to join a group of students from around the world to work in Rwanda this summer. The program is through an organization called Engineering World Health, as a part of a collaboration between Duke University and Texas A & M that is new this year. The overall vision of EWH is to work in solidarity with local doctors and technicians in hospitals in the developing world to improve the quality of healthcare and to mobilize the biomedical engineering community to improve the quality of healthcare in the developing world.
Medical equipment in the developing world is often provided by corporations, faith-based institutions, medical companies, etc., with the hope of saving lives and improving health. Unfortunately, about 50% or more remains out of service. As a result, equipment is often discarded or stored in the back of hospitals. This problem is rooted in inappropriate design for developing hospitals, lack of consumable supplies and reliable power, and limited or no staff training. In these countries, newborns have some of the highest mortality rates in the world, poverty is rampant, and per capita income barely covers the necessities of life. Power supplies may be unreliable and a simple blown fuse can affect life-saving surgical procedures. The Summer Institute provides students in science and engineering the opportunity to be immersed in these settings. The goal of this summer's Rwanda cohort is to build on EWH's successful program and expand to include engineering research, innovation of medical products, and assessment/translation of those devices using local manufacturing capabilities. I am excited for the opportunity to deepen my understanding and broaden my perspective of global healthcare, as well as to collaborate with medical staff and technicians in Rwanda. I believe that the knowledge, perspective, and relationship gained will be invaluable as I continue toward a career in this field.
Any financial support you would like to donate would be an incredible blessing. We are each responsible for raising our tuition, airfare, and some meals out-of-pocket. My goal is to raise an additional $8000 to cover the remaining cost of supplies, tuition, and airfare to and from Rwanda.
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