Burn care experts from a medical school and hospital in Norfolk, Va., are coming together to teach healthcare providers in the Philippines how to provide better care to their patients. From Feb. 29 to March 5, a team of four healthcare providers from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Eastern Virginia Medical School will be in Manila, working alongside a team of professionals at Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
“Burn injuries are closely tied to poverty, and in underserved regions, someone suffers a traumatic burn every five seconds,” said Brig. Gen. Ron Sconyers (USAF, Ret.), president and CEO of Physicians for Peace. “Our team will deliver targeted training to immediately improve burn care, and they’ll lay the groundwork for long-term collaboration between professionals in Virginia and the Philippines.”
Sentara Norfolk General is the Level I trauma center for Hampton Roads (Va.) and operates the region's only burn/trauma unit, making the expert team uniquely suited for the training mission. The World Health Organization estimates that between 4,000 and 5,000 people die from burn-related injuries in the Philippines every year; two-thirds of these victims are under the age of 10. PGH maintains one of only four burn units in the country. The hospital is an important partner for Physicians for Peace and the group’s efforts to reach more patients with better care.
“We want to provide the most evidence-based research available to the PGH team, while adapting to their available resources,” said Jessica Sherman, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Sentara Norfolk General. “We will also assess their current barriers and needs, in order to provide further education, material and tools to meet their future needs.”
Joining Sherman on the mission are Jay Collins, MD, a surgeon and associate professor at EVMS, along with Margaret Waite, RN, BSN, and Lacey Watford, MS OTR/L, a nurse and occupational therapist with Sentara Norfolk General. In addition to working one-on-one with PGH patients and providers on the training mission, the Physicians for Peace team will present lectures and workshops at the hospital’s first Burn Care and Rehabilitation Conference.
“This mission will allows us to think ‘outside of the box’ while working in another country with patients and team members,” Watford said. “We’ll be able to share our experiences and education with the Philippines and grow within our own professions.”
The training mission represents a significant step forward in the collaboration among Physicians for Peace, PGH, Sentara Norfolk General and EVMS. Last September, healthcare providers from the Philippines visited with burn unit colleagues at Sentara Norfolk General to discuss the challenges of burn care, and to pinpoint opportunities to build the groups’ relationship and enhance Filipino providers’ skills. This new mission is a direct result of that exchange.