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Jacobi, Columbia bring skills to Montenegro

For the past two summers, volunteer doctors and nurses from Jacobi Medical Center and Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital have traveled to Montenegro to participate in a clinical exchange of knowledge and skills.

Volunteers are sent over in pairs, for two to four weeks during the summer, with a specific plan for what they wish to teach and accomplish, passing along valuable skills and techniques for treatment to their overseas counterparts.

Last year doctors and nurses visited the Health House in Ulcinj, presenting courses in trauma and emergency care.

“Ulcinj was chosen because many of our patients at Jacobi and Columbia-Presbyterian go over there for the summer or vacation,” said Evia Nano, MD, associate director of the Illyria Family Practice Center.

Nano remarked that her colleagues felt working in Montenegro helped them cope with difficult situations and emergency care, especially during the summer months when the town population significantly increases from tourism.

A conference entitled The Illyria Partnership: A Vital Clinical Exchange was held at 1400 Pelham Parkway South, in the Jacobi Conference Center, on Tuesday, March 3, from 6 to 8 p.m., with discussions regarding past experiences, as well as planning for the upcoming trip.

Next year, the goals include educating those in Montenegro on how to safely and efficiently transfer patients, a common occurrence for patients from Ulcinj that are transferred to a larger hospital in Bar.

Nano explained another goal for the summer is to teach courses on handling major emergencies. “Doctors get specific training for urgent disasters. We want to begin an initiative for disaster management like they teach in courses all over the world and in this country.”

According to Doctor Alan Ross, attending in pediatric emergency medicine at the Children’s Hospital of NY, Columbia-Presbyterian, patients receive great benefits because it helps physicians to know the origin of the person they are treating.

“At Columbia we see large numbers of Dominican patients and I encourage doctors to visit that island,” said Ross. “You learn more about the patients’ background and can better treat them.”

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