Editor’s note: This article is part one of a two-part series on Dr. Yalamanchali’s medical service trip to India. Part two, which will publish in ENTtoday’s June issue, and will focus on her work with mobile hearing tests.
Explore this issue:May 2018
At the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center in Kansas City, a partnership with a premier academic institution in India was developed through the dedication of Mani M. Mani, MD, a professor emeritus in the KU Department of Plastic Surgery. Over the years, he has opened the avenue for international educational experiences and collaborations with his alma mater Christian Medical College (CMC), located in the city of Vellore in a rural area of South India.
Founded in the early 1900s by American medical missionary Ida Scudder, MD, CMC has been ranked for decades as one of the top institutions for healthcare in India. Over the course of a day, the CMC main campus sees more than 8,000 outpatients while caring for approximately 2,133 inpatients. Patients travel thousands of miles from all over India and neighboring countries to seek care at CMC. Often, families spend days, even weeks, in Vellore receiving comprehensive care, treatment, and follow-up for multiple family members at once.
Most patients do not have health insurance and must save money for months, and even years, to be able to afford their care. CMC also has multiple local urban and rural outreach sites with limited capabilities. These outreach sites cater to local villagers who often cannot travel to the main hospital for care and have to rely on local resources and incoming providers for their care.
The University of Kansas Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery built upon this existing relationship by creating a four-week resident research block to foster a collaborative research endeavor with the CMC Department of Otolaryngology. For the four-week experience, I traveled to Vellore with the goal of conducting hearing evaluations using mobile technology while seeking to validate the methodology for the CMC population.
As a current resident in training, my global health experience was a reminder of the true humanitarian focus of our field and our capacity to create change —Sreeya Yalamanchali, MD
A Vastly Different Medical System
A majority of my family still lives in India and, over the years, I have spent countless summer and winter vacations in India. The opportunity to combine my heritage and my career motivated me to pursue a global health research project. Yet, no previous visit actually prepared me for the Indian healthcare system, as it is so vastly different from the United States system. Each day at CMC, hundreds of people wait patiently in the otolaryngology clinic spaces for hours to receive their care.