UAB Surgery seeks to provide each resident with a robust training experience. For some, that may include spending time training outside the U.S. UAB Surgery has developed key relationships and partnerships with institutions across the world who are equipped with mentors and resources to provide excellent experience for a surgical trainee, particularly in Africa and Australia. The department continues to foster new relationships with new surgical training institutions in additional countries to offer new experiences in the future.

Africa

Quince Gibson, M.D.

Gibson Malawai TripDuring the PGY 4 year, I had the opportunity to travel to Malawi and train at the Malamulo Seventh-Day Adventist Hospital, a rural teaching hospital. Under the direction of Dr. Gillian Seton and Dr. Moses Kasumba and in conjunction with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), I had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of surgeries. I had the opportunity to perform C-sections, an esophagectomy, small bowel resections, open hernia repairs, repair of orthopedic injuries, urological procedures to include prostatectomies, orchiectomies and a penectomy. This was a life-changing experience for me. I was privileged to have my family travel along for this experience. Gibson Malawai Trip 2The learning opportunity was not limited to the medical knowledge and surgical abilities I was able to attain under the excellent leadership and training of Dr. Seton and Dr. Kasumba. Learning how to keep calm when the lights suddenly go out during a procedure, or continuing to treat patients when the entire community and hospital is without running water or electricity for more than 24 hours has given me a greater appreciation for the blessings that are afforded to us in the United States and prepared me for facing adverse and challenging situations in the future. I am grateful to UAB’s Department of Surgery, Loma Linda University- who assisted in funding for my family- and their Deferred Mission Appointee Program, as well as the kind and brave individuals at Malamulo who continue to provide amazing care for the beautiful people of Malawi.

— Quince Gibson, M.D.

Laura Hickman, M.D.

General surgery resident Dr. Laura Hickman meets a cheetah while training in South Africa.For my PGY4 elective, I completed a rotation at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The rotation was coordinated by Elmi Muller, M.D., and included time on both the transplant and the trauma services. I participated in organ procurements, kidney/liver transplants, general surgery and operative trauma cases. The best part of the experience was the multicultural aspect of the city and hospital, and I still keep in contact with the friends I made there. When I wasn't at work, I was able to visit the Cape of Good Hope, go on a safari, tour South African wine country and coordinate a fundraiser for the Cape Town Child Welfare Society. My trip was a unique, wonderful experience that I highly recommend to other residents.

— Laura Hickman, M.D.

Australia

Margaux Mustian, M.D.

MustianI worked at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia, in their transplant division, a rotation graciously coordinated by Westmead general surgeon Richard Hanney, M.D. During my time abroad, I helped with organ procurements, kidney transplants and dialysis access cases. I also met with members of the Standardized Outcomes in Nephrology initiative who are working to develop a core outcome set for research trials in kidney transplantation. Outside of the hospital, I was able to make time for sightseeing as well, exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbor, the Blue Mountains and the gorgeous Bondi-to-Coogee coastal walk.

— Margaux Mustian, M.D.

Matt Giglia, M.D.

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The time I spent at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia was a great experience, both personally and professionally. Not only is having a chance to operate in another system and country a privilege, the autonomy that is provided by the surgeons there is wonderful and truly allows you to really take ownership of the patient to a whole new level. The surgery department at Westmead created a personalized experience that allowed me experience in the field I am interested in pursuing as a career — colorectal surgery. Also, the fact that I was able to bring my wife and young son on the trip definitely made it a highlight of residency. We were able to experience so many wonderful places and meet amazing people on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Having my family there to, not only share these experiences, but completely immerse ourselves and live in another country for five weeks was amazing. I would recommend this rotation to anyone interested in going and would highly encourage every resident to pursue this incredible opportunity if possible!

— Matt Giglia, M.D.

Ashley Davis, M.D.

IMG 1588During the PGY 4 year, I completed an away elective rotation at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. My motivations for seizing this opportunity consisted of two general points: autonomy and travel! The elective rotation exposed me to basic bread and butter general surgery, but at a level of independence in the operating room which allowed for a great deal of personal operative growth in skills as well as comfort level with that independence. The faculty at The Alfred were all incredibly friendly and provided me the freedom to scrub and/or watch any cases available including colorectal, minimally invasive as well as trauma. Secondly, with the above medical exposures, you can’t ignore the opportunity to travel the world, meet new people and see how another country’s medical system operates. It was an invaluable experience, and I still maintain contact with my co-workers from “Down Under”.

— Ashley Davis, M.D.