The 1998 top class graduate of Putnam County High School (PCHS) Dr. Jabaris Swain based in the United States of America will spend a year in Kigali-Rwanda, to screen and provide cardiac surgery care to Rwandans suffering from complicated rheumatic heart disease.
Swain, who will be working with a group called Team Heart, is currently in his second fellowship program studying cardiac critical care at BWH through a program with Harvard Medical School.
He is a clinical resident in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, working towards a master’s degree at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Rwanda is a country with high cases in of rheumatic heart disease, but is short of heart specialists.
Swain and a colleague, Dr. Alexi Matousek, will be the first students in a new residency track in academic global surgery.
The two-year Global Health Equity residency is designed to train academic surgeons in the science and practice of surgical care delivery in austere settings.
Dr. Swain first visited Rwanda in 2011.
In Rwanda, Swain said, “I will be working closely with the minister of health of Rwanda and a group called Team Heart based in Boston, to assist with a country-wide screening program and to assist in providing cardiac surgical intervention in the way of open heart surgery to those with critical rheumatic heart disease.
Swain said: “I was invited as a surgical resident to assist with care of the postoperative cardiac surgery patients who had undergone valve replacements as a consequence of critical rheumatic heart disease.”
“The Rwandan patients were very grateful, and it was a fulfilling experience to know that we were able to provide care to a group who would otherwise not have access or a means.”
“It was this experience that nurtured my interest in global health. I had participated in prior trips to other countries in Central and South America, but none were as stimulating as my time in Rwanda,” Swain explained.
“I was then encouraged to integrate my Rwanda experience with my clinical work when I was named a recipient of the Arthur Tracy Cabot Fellowship and named a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellow.”
“I will also assist in efforts to build the first self-sustaining cardiology curriculum and cardiac surgery program in Rwanda” furthered the expert.
After returning to Boston in 2014, Swain said he expects to complete his fellowship training in cardiothoracic surgery at Harvard Medical School.
He said he then plans to seek a position in academic cardiac surgery.