The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.1 The CSA Committee on Global Health serves to explore opportunities for positive impact on the care of patients, inform CSA members of opportunities, and coordinate efforts related to global health and access to safe anesthesia care. The committee also works for facilitate CSA member’s participation and highlight their volunteerism and philanthropy. This committee would like to take this opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of Genevieve D’Souza, MD, a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Stanford University.
An Interview with Dr. D’Souza
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Cosmopolitan city of Mumbai. I spent the first 25 years of my life there and went to Medical School and did part of my Anesthesia Residency there.
Do you think your upbringing influenced you becoming involved in GH? If so, how?
I moved prior to completing the residency there and then reentered residency in the United States after completing my USMLE and surgical internship. I saw first-hand the disparity in availability of medical equipment, access to care, and the inequity in healthcare in different populations across continents. We would never leave oxygen running as we left the room to transport the patient as it is a precious commodity. We were taught to conserve our resources. This made me think and act more as a global citizen and advocate for Global Health.
How do you define Global Health (GH)?
Global health is bringing health equality across different communities through research, education, and engagement across various populations.
What are recent examples of your GH engagement?
Recently, I gave lectures on Pediatric Anesthesia Clinic and the Perioperative Surgical Home in Turkey where there are no fellowship trained Pediatric anesthesiologists. I also spoke on Pediatric Spine Surgery Pain Management in Thailand and Malaysia at the Asian Society of Pediatric Anesthesiologists to educate and expand these providers’ knowledge of current practice.
What GH initiative or project are you most proud of accomplishing?
Advocating for improved perioperative pain management in pediatric patients.
What do you consider as your first Global Health experience?
My first global health experience would be as a medical student where we went to give immunizations in the slums in a different state in India. We met children living in tents in mines. The children had very poor hygiene. We provided health assessments, immunizations and well-child checks. It was an eye-opening experience to see even the difference between urban and rural settings.
How can Global Health evolve over an Anesthesiologists' career from residency to retirement?
When we are residents, global health experiences teach us how to be flexible and learn between different situations while using minimal resources to optimize results and offer pain free anesthesia. Residents also interact with other residents at a similar training level but practicing in very different settings. Residents are able to teach each other techniques to improve care in their local hospitals. As more experienced senior anesthesiologists, we are given the opportunity to educate and disseminate the knowledge that we have to enable the next generation, especially in these low-resource areas.
What has been your most challenging or surprising lesson learned in Global Health?
Despite adversities in their situations, doctors in low-income countries are resourceful and make the best of very situation. They are incredibly innovative and we have much to learn from those facing resource-constraints.
What would you like to share with others regarding the value of Global Health engagement?
It’s an honor and privilege to be able to educate, spread knowledge and provide your wealth of information to arm future colleagues from countries with low healthcare resources.