Fostering Global Health Leadership Through the SEA-HVO Fellowship Fund

HVO volunteer and leader Lena Dohlman, MD, MPH, is a self-described “reluctant fundraiser.” Although she has helped to secure funding for the Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA)-HVO Traveling Fellowship for senior anesthesia residents each year since the award’s inception, she admits: “I  feel more comfortable asking people for donations when I lead the way with my own contributions.”

In years past, she has done this by co-sponsoring one of the SEA-HVO scholarships with fellow HVO volunteer Jo Davies, MBBS, FRCA. This year, she has taken her support a step further: she is matching every gift made to the SEA-HVO Fellowship Fund during the month of April two-to-one. This means for every $1 donated, Dr. Dohlman will give $2 to support senior anesthesia residents interested in teaching and mentoring their counterparts in resource-scarce countries.

Dr. Dohlman’s generosity was inspired, in part, by her late colleagues—Drs. Ronald L. Katz and Harry Zutz. Like Dr. Dohlman, Drs. Katz and Zutz were anesthesiologists who believed passionately in the importance of investing in young people interested in global health. Both were long-time supporters of HVO and the SEA-HVO Traveling Fellowship. In fact, the fellowship was originally called the “Dr. Ronald L. Katz Scholarship”, as he single-handedly funded the first three fellows after Dr. Dohlman came up with the idea to create a scholarship to enable senior anesthesia residents to volunteer overseas with HVO.

Dr. Dohlman sees her matching gift as an opportunity to honor the legacies of Drs. Katz and Zutz. It is also a chance to reinforce the efforts of other long-time supporters, including Dr. Davies and Gary Loyd, MD, MMM, Chris and Rebecca Dobson, Lisa Feintech and many generous SEA members.

Over the course of her many HVO assignments, and her tenure as project director for HVO’s anesthesia project in partnership with Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Hue, Vietnam, Dr. Dohlman has seen the impact of the SEA-HVO Fellowship first-hand. During a recent phone conversation, she described the special bond that forms between SEA-HVO Fellows and the overseas anesthesia residents and medical students they encounter while on assignment:

“I see the residents from the United States inspiring the students overseas with their enthusiasm for anesthesia as a career. The SEA-HVO Fellows become mentors and advocates for anesthesia while also learning a great deal from their international counterparts about practicing medicine overseas.”

She added that the Fellows have inspired many medical students to consider careers in anesthesia and have promoted interest in evidence-based practice. Of course, the benefits experienced are mutual. Dr. Dohlman pointed out that many former SEA-HVO Fellows remain involved in global health, and several have started their own global health programs at the institutions where they now work.

“Many have mentioned that the SEA-HVO Traveling Fellowship was the most rewarding rotation of their residency” she reported.

Dr. Dohlman reflected that the true impact of the SEA-HVO Traveling Fellowship extends well beyond the experience of any one individual. In the years since the fellowship first started, Dr. Dohlman has seen a surge of interest in global health within the anesthesiology profession.

“Having been involved with HVO and international education for a long time, I have seen really big changes in terms of global health,” she stated. “When the fellowship first began, it was all about encouraging residents to get involved in global health because there was little interest. Now it seems that global health programs exist in most of the bigger academic hospitals and a large number of medical students and residents want to get involved.

With this surge of interest in global health, the purpose of the SEA-HVO Fellowship has changed as well.

“The SEA-HVO Fellowship has transitioned  into a scholarship that we hope will encourage people to take on leadership positions in global health,” said Dr. Dohlman.  “We look for leadership potential in applicants and hope that by providing this unique experience overseas we might produce more global health leaders for the future.”

Are you ready to support the next generation of leaders in the global practice of anesthesiology? When you give to support the SEA-HVO Fellowship Fund now through the end of April, Dr. Dohlman will match your gift two-to-one.

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