Africa We Want


In mid-February, the Department of Surgery was excited to host three Rwandan visitors as part of our Rwanda Travel Scholar Program. Dr. Jennifer Rickard, associate professor in the Division of Critical Care/Acute Care Surgery, played a significant role in their time here on the Twin Cities campus. By Paxton Alto, Communications Specialist

Dr. Rickard has worked in Rwanda for over a decade, where she has been teaching and training Rwandan students and residents. While there, she has mentored several trainees in research skills. However, there are limited opportunities for Rwandans to showcase their research, which led to the inception of the Rwanda Travel Scholar Program.

The program provides an opportunity for Rwandans to present their research at the Academic Surgical Congress (ASC) and then spend a week at the University of Minnesota observing surgeons. Over the past eight years, the program has supported travel for ten different Rwandan students and residents to ASC and Minnesota. The program also supports the costs of flights, housing, and conference registration.

This year’s three visitors and their research presentation titles are listed below:

- Thierry Cyuzuzo is a plastic surgery resident at the University of Rwanda who presented research on Hospital Acquired Infections in Patients with Surgical Infections at a Tertiary Hospital in Rwanda and observed with faculty in the plastic surgery department.

- Jean D’Amour Umuhire is an orthopedic surgery resident at the University of Rwanda who presented research on Factors Influencing Rural and Remote Health Care Outcomes: A Systematic Literature Review and observed with faculty in the orthopedic surgery department.

- Jeand de Dieu Hategekimana is a Masters in Epidemiology student at the University of Rwanda School of Public Health. He presented research on Urologic Complications Following Obstetrics/Gynecologic Surgery at a Tertiary Hospital of Rwanda. He is interested in pursuing Ophthalmology training and observed with faculty in the department of Ophthalmology.

This trip consists of a few firsts for some of our visitors. For most, this is their first visit to the United States, and for some, this is their first flight! Additionally, as the ASC occurs in winter, this is usually everyone’s first time encountering winter and snow.

"This year, we visited the Mall of America, and they had the opportunity to see roller coasters. We also watched the Super Bowl at Dr. Tuttle’s house,” said Dr. Rickard. “Overall, the Rwandan visitors were very enthusiastic about their experiences.”

Author: MANZI


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