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Stories of Impact

Imagine the world where people get the help they need, when they need it the most. We strive to achieve that vision every day.

Making an Impact Through Collaborations – Your Support at Work

The email from Lawney Snyder, the CEO of the Eye & Ear Foundation, mentioned Dr. Eugene Myers and Dr. Jose Zevallos, the founding and current Chairs of Otolaryngology at UPMC respectively, wanting to visit BBF to discuss a potential program to get more surgical equipment to countries in need. Lawney said Dr. Myers was a big fan of BBF and it became readily apparent that in addition to being a long-time BBF volunteer and donor, he was a much-vaunted leader in the field of otolaryngology. Similarly, Dr. Zevallos’ own standing and expertise would undoubtedly lend itself to the success of any program.

It took me a while to even consistently pronounce the word properly, but more importantly, what exactly was otolaryngology?

Simply put, according to Wikipedia:

Otorhinolaryngology abbreviated ORL and also known as otolaryngology, otolaryngology – head and neck surgery (ORL–H&N or OHNS), or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) is a surgical subspeciality within medicine that deals with the surgical and medical management of conditions of the head and neck.

Doctors who specialize in this area are called otorhinolaryngologists, otolaryngologists, head and neck surgeons, or ENT surgeons or physicians. Patients seek treatment from an otorhinolaryngologist for diseases of the earnosethroatbase of the skull, head, and neck. These commonly include functional diseases that affect the senses and activities of eating, drinking, speaking, breathing, swallowing, and hearing. In addition, ENT surgery encompasses the surgical management of cancers and benign tumors and reconstruction of the head and neck as well as plastic surgery of the face, scalp, and neck.

Extensive follow up discussions after our first meeting led to not only the Pittsburgh to Peru initiative, but to also exploring potential programs to similarly assist patients in need in Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique. Our ultimate goal is to expand the program to all areas of need around the world.

The reformulated excerpt below is from an article by Drs. Myers, Zevallos, and Craig Smith of the Eye & Ear Foundation in a publication of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS).

Pittsburgh to Peru: Otolaryngology Excellence on an International Stage

The University of Pittsburgh and the Eye & Ear Foundation are collaborating with Brother’s Brother Foundation to positively impact otolaryngology-head and neck surgery patients in Peru.

Dr. Eugene “Gene” Myers has been a leader in training and mentoring physicians from around the world. Recently, AAO-HNS has established the Eugene N. Myers Global Education Fund, which provides funding for otolaryngologists from resource poor countries to visit the United States and improve their knowledge base to enhance the care they provide their patients in their home countries.

Born in Lima himself, according to Dr. Zevallos, a major priority of the Pittsburgh to Peru initiative is to train Peruvian surgeons in the latest advances in a way that can be translated to the realities of caring for complex patients in a developing nation.  “Not only does this lack of resources limit care that can be delivered today, but it also hampers the ability to train future otolaryngologists as well,” added Dr. Zevallos.

Phase 1 of this project entails the acquisition and donation of instruments and equipment in partnership with Brother’s Brother Foundation, which will be sent to hospitals in Peru. The University of Pittsburgh will also provide virtual educational programs for residents in Peruvian cancer programs.

Phase 2 intends to provide Pitt medical school residents with rotations in Peru, surgery fellowships for Peruvian doctors to train in Pittsburgh, as well as establishing a global health track and service projects to address the needs of patients in underserved communities.

Fundraising efforts for this project are already underway and are being led by BBF and the Eye & Ear Foundation. With the help of Dr. Myers and Dr. Zevallos, Mr. Samad sees this as the start of a successful and replicable program to help patients around the world.

“BBF is thrilled to collaborate with UPMC, and Dr. Myers and Dr. Zevallos in particular, on the Peru program. It is an initiative that directly addresses our focus on working with in-country partners to help improve patient wellbeing in underserved communities, while also providing educational opportunities for medical practitioners.”

Three generations of Pitt OTO Chairmen
L to R: Dr. José Zevallos, Dr. Jonas Johnson, Dr. Eugene Myers
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