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SERVICE: RUSM Student Helps Bring Medical Aid to South Sudan

November 11, 2015

 

A Teacher Decides to Become a Doctor

Daniel Crothers and his path to RUSM
Fifth-semester RUSM student Daniel Crothers (above, right), pictured here with his wife, Kate

Daniel Crothers, 31, a Portland, Maine resident originally from Canada, was a teacher a few years ago when he decided that he really wanted to become a doctor. Today he is a fifth-semester medical student at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Not only has he successfully made this tremendous transition in his career, but he has also achieved some amazing accomplishments along the way.

Medical Mission and Journal Article

In 2013 Crothers was instrumental in organizing and participating in a medical mission to South Sudan through the non-profit organization Maine-African Partnership for Social Justice. He co-founded MAPSJ with his father-in-law Charles Radis, D.O. in partnership with the local South Sudanese community in Maine. He is also a co-author of an article based on a research study about that experience. The article, Wilderness First Aid Training as a Tool for Improving Basic Medical Knowledge in South Sudan, was published in the current issue of the journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine dated December 2015.

“We worked with African-based educators with Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO) Schools to train 50 men and women in South Sudan in first aid, so that laypersons could be first responders in an ar, ea that is drastically underserved. The training focused on needs identified by the community, and it relied on incorporating everyday items into first aid tools,” he explained. “Several medical students from the University of New England (UNE) were invited to participate and we collaborated on a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.” They also identified who, of the 50, could be master trainers and receive more training.

Crothers said his job was “to coordinate and facilitate the execution of all aspects of the trip.” In addition, he said the group “ended up running two clinics a day, during lunch and after the training,” because word of their presence spread and people started coming. The patients came in suffering from “motor bike crashes, gangrene, chronic arthritis,” and other conditions, Crothers said.

The research study concluded that the training course, “significantly improved participants’ first aid knowledge and revealed an improvement for both males and females…Wilderness first aid training is particularly promising for rural communities with limited medical resources because it is designed to teach people how to use objects in nature to treat injuries.”

Working in a Conflict Zone

Politically, this region has long been an area of violent conflict. That is why Crothers was assigned the additional role of “managing extraction from the country” should that become necessary for members of the team during the trip. In fact, on one of the final days of the 10-day project, Crothers said, “we had a report of an outbreak of violence. We got word at midnight that we had to leave immediately.” While Crothers made the complex arrangements with the military police to get to a military base in the capital city and secure a flight, he said that, “the UNE research team heroically finished their research while in the process of being evacuated.”

Luckily for the group, the violence was not rampant, and turned out to be an isolated civilian matter. Unfortunately, several months later, in December, widespread violence did break out in South Sudan.

Why Choose RUSM for Medical School?

“The experience reinforced my feeling that medicine is what I’m passionate about and my confidence in my ability to be there for patients despite disparities in care or barriers to language and culture,” Crothers said. “I chose RUSM because I liked the rolling admissions process, and the chance to do the first and second years in an accelerated way, and not having summer breaks, because I’m just a little bit older than most. I have friends who’d been through RUSM and I knew it was going to be a better option because the curriculum and staff are exceedingly impressive.”

Crothers added that “without my wife Kate, none of this would have been possible.” They are expecting their first child.

 

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