University of Maryland RAD-AID Chapter
In late 2013, Garshasb (Gary) Soroosh encouraged radiology residents Hammed Ninalowo and Andy Hutchens and faculty at the University of Maryland to found a RAD-AID Chapter with the purpose of developing and implementing projects intended to address the radiologic service and educational needs of underserved international populations. Dr. Bertrand Janne d’Othee served as a founding member and the first faculty advisor for the University of Maryland Chapter. In August of 2014, Dr. Jean Jeudy, a thoracic radiologist, took over the role and continues to serve as faculty advisor.
Nigeria was our chapter’s first country for radiologic outreach. In January 2015, the University of Maryland chapter established a collaborative relationship with the teaching faculty at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in Lagos Nigeria. Lagos is the most populous city in the African subcontinent with an estimated population of 21 million. The University of Maryland Chapter completed the country report on Nigeria, detailing the radiologic readiness of the country, including assessments of the local culture, national and local politics, current healthcare delivery system, and, specifically, the delivery of radiologic services in Nigeria.
Our Chapter worked together with faculty at LUTH to assess and identify specific areas of radiologic technical and educational need to best direct our outreach. Our chapter focused on educational outreach primarily in Nigeria by supplying books and other educational material to enhance the library for the residents training at LUTH. Attending subspecialty faculty at University of Maryland offer expert consultations to the faculty at LUTH on particularly challenging cases. Hammed Ninalowo, who started the project in Nigeria continues the efforts for outreach to Nigeria along with the assistance of the Temple chapter.
The prospect of expanding the scope, utility and ease of access to basic, and, often times vital, radiologic services in underserved areas where services are not equal between the public and private sectors becomes increasingly exciting as our chapter embarks on it’s most recent project in South Africa. In February 2016, Drs. Jean Jeudy, Babak Saboury, and Michael Morris who began the initiative in South Africa at the University of Maryland traveled to the Western Cape to learn about the differences in the public and private healthcare systems in South Africa.
Upon returning from South Africa and unpacking the observations of the journey, a plan was proposed to the local healthcare institutional leaders and the local government of the Western Cape that could increase the availability of reports on plain radiography studies (which are the most common performed in the country) through the use of teleradiology services. Skilled reporting of radiographs, particularly of chest radiographs for TB, could have an enormous impact as TB the primary healthcare burden of the public sector who often suffer from co-infection with HIV.
The University of Maryland is forming academic partnerships with local universities to learn more about the imaging resources available in the public sector throughout the country. In the future, we hope to share educational materials, particularly fellowship training materials and increase collaboration and exchange between our countries. The key focus of the project in South Africa is to develop a plan to address inequality of access to radiology services between the private and public sectors. We believe that success in South Africa could provide a roadmap to improve inequalities in other countries as well.