My love for teaching and international healthcare continued during my otolaryngology residency, but I also came to realize that I wanted to accomplish more meaningful and long-lasting contributions than I could achieve with just a few-month stay in an international setting. After searching through various options, I flew to Mekelle in Ethiopia during my fellowship for a whirlwind visit. I met with the otolaryngology group, including a fresh cadre of residents, at Ayder Comprehensive Referral Hospital and Mekelle University.
It was love at first sight for me. The welcome was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and everyone seemed excited for the opportunity, especially the new residents. I knew that I wanted to invest at least a year of my early career in helping this wonderful group develop a high-quality otolaryngology training experience. It was a way to create a self-sustainable and efficient educational environment to improve the health of a population. After all, the opportunity to provide healthcare to those who need it is why most of us become doctors in the first place.
Every day I am pushed out of my comfort zone, and every day I learn something new. —Josh Wiedermann, MD