This month the InterSurgeon team spoke with Dr. Oritsejolomi Adetola Roberts, who contacted InterSurgeon to advertise an award opportunity last August. This posting was a call for faculty mentors and North American trainees to apply for the newly created Sanjiv Bhatia Global Pediatric Neurological surgery fellowship, sponsored by the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery and the NREF Sanjiv Bhatia Honor Your Mentor Fund.

Dr. Roberts is a paediatric neurosurgeon at the busy Children’s Hospital New Orleans, and trained with the late Dr. Sanjiv Bhatia, in whose honor the fund is named. Dr. Sanjiv Bhatia, a fellow neurosurgeon, passed away in 2018. During his career he was passionate about missionary work, and per the fund’s page, he volunteered and “frequently traveled to Haiti along with colleagues, trainees and family to perform neurosurgical procedures on hydrocephalic children at Bernard Mevs Hospital.” The aim of his fund is “to fund an international pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric epilepsy surgery traveling fellowship, a Bhatia lectureship and pediatric neurosurgery medical missions.

There are people in many different parts of the world that are doing amazing [things] and have the eye of the public upon them“ said Dr. Roberts during our interview. “The medical community stateside […] can learn a lot from them, not just about intriguing ways to take care of disease, but [also in] managing limited resources in doing so.”

The appointed fellows are funded for a short-term clinical and research opportunity in an LMIC with both LMIC- and US-based mentors from the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery. “It has been going really well so far,” said Dr. Roberts, of the 2 fellows who have been sponsored thus far. The inaugural fellow, Dr. Belinda Shao, spent 6 weeks at Philippines General Hospital in Manila, Philippines under the mentorship of Dr. Ronnie E. Baticulon, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. She engaged in paediatric neurosurgery in both a clinical observership and research capacity.

Dr. Shao shared her gratitude about her time “fully immersing as much as I could into resident life there… participating in patient care in an observer capacity, but also being able to, under supervision, scrub into surgeries.” She shared, “I learned so much about practising pediatric neurosurgery in a very different context, and different techniques that they employ within their healthcare landscape, [learning to adapt to] different kinds of surgical instruments and resources available.” Finally, Dr Shao shared that she is currently making efforts to set up a reciprocal opportunity to host LMIC trainees as observers:“returning the favor” of all they taught her.

If you are interested in creating your next global surgery collaborative – why not make an offer or request?

More information on the Sanjiv Bhatia Global Pediatric Neurological surgery fellowship.

Dr Shao shared a recording of a Grand Rounds she gave on the experience at her home institution here.

Coming soon: a spotlight on Dr Shao and some useful resources.