Feedback from Dr. David Pettersson

I recently concluded two weeks of teaching and learning Neuroradiology in Addis Ababa, as part of the Anne G. Osborn ASNR International Outreach Professor Program. It was a life-affirming experience and an honor to have been selected for this. It changed my perspectives on healthcare and humanity, and left me with a renewed sense of purpose. To the Neuroradiologist out there contemplating this program in Ethiopia, apply today!

My typical workday was 8a-4p at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital. It included giving an hour of didactics to the NR fellows, an hour of didactics to the DR residents, and 1-2 hours of giving unknown cases to either the residents or fellows. The day also included a morning coffee break in the radiologist lounge where I chatted with engaging radiology faculty and fellows on the topics of life, religion, healthcare, politics, food and everything in between. Each day I was treated to lunch, as well. Either faculty or fellows would take me out for lunch or we would eat homemade injera and shiro in the lounge. The company and food never disappointed. Each day also included an hour-long read-out session where the fellow would staff-out the day’s clinical cases with the residents. The days were rounded out with the occasional multidisciplinary conference and with the NR fellows sharing their interesting and difficult cases with me. The workdays were full but rewarding.

My favorite part of the whole experience was the people I met. Dr. Tewodros, Dr. Abebe, Dr. Amal, Dr. Tesfaye, and Dr. Asfaw were my gracious faculty hosts who ensured that my stay was productive, safe and seamless. Dr. Etse, Dr. Ilili and Dr. Metti are the NR fellows who blew me away with their knowledge and skill, kindly coordinated my day-to-day schedule, and kept me well fed and caffeinated. Dr. Yodit is the chief resident who coordinated my activities with the residents and wowed me with her kindness and capability. Dr. Nati and Dr. Zerihun are two sharp residents who generously sacrificed one of their weekends to show me around Addis, taught me all things Ethiopian and took me on a deep dive into American politics. I also spent a day with Dr. Alex who showed me around another hospital in town (St. Paul’s), took me to an outpatient private practice diagnostic imaging center, and kindly invited me to his home to meet his lovely family. I also had the pleasure of sharing lunches and coffee breaks with Dr. Daniel (pediatric radiologist) who left me with enough book recommendations to keep me reading for a year.

If you have the good fortune of participating in this program, don’t be fooled into thinking it is mostly about teaching.  Yes, you will spend many hours each day teaching and the trainees will likely be grateful for all the teaching you might provide, as they were for me. But the amount you will learn as a visitor – about healthcare, culture, economies, governments, resources, climates etc. that may be different than your own – is immense.  This mutual enrichment is one of the most valuable aspects of global health. Thank you to Anne Osborne and the ASNR for making this program possible, and to my many wonderful hosts in Addis Ababa.

David Pettersson, MD
Oregon Health & Science University