From the moment she arrived for a surgical rotation in Ethiopia as part of the Ohio State Department of Surgery Global Surgery program, Melissa Hornor, MD, felt incredibly welcomed. The culture was intriguing and the country was unlike any she had ever visited. But her motivation was greater than that of a tourist; Dr. Hornor hoped to learn about healthcare in an impoverished nation by immersing herself in the day-to-day issues surgeons face when they must deal with a persistent lack of resources. “The poverty and scarce surgical supplies were pretty shocking,” she explained. “Yet even with 1/1000th the resources as Ohio State, the surgeons in Ethiopia were able to provide lifesaving surgical care for many people.” Hornor, who described every day at the hospital as an adventure, learned practical ways to work around barriers to care and is now determined to create a trauma care model that can be replicated in Ethiopia or other low-income countries.
“There is no organized trauma system in Ethiopia, and that highly increases the chance of poor outcomes for injured patients,” she said. “Because of what I saw firsthand, I hope I can help change that using what I learned in training here at Ohio State.”