Medical Mission III to Rural Romania; March 28-April 6 2008


The Tulane Outreach to Romania (TOR) organization of Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA in conjunction with the Daniel Murariu Foundation will lead a specialty-oriented medical mission in three villages near Bacau County, northeastern Romania. The team will be composed of medical doctors and medical students from the United States and from Romania. The dates for the mission will be March 28 to April 6, 2008.

The members of the US team are:

  • Housea Doucet III, M.D., M.P.H- Pediatrics Residency Director
  • Tracy Conrad, D.O- Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Director
  • Mark Cassidy, M.D.- Cardiology Staff
  • Rachel Reitan, M.D.- Obstretics/Gynecology Staff
  • Yuri Simani, M.D.- Obstretics/Gynecology Chief Resident
  • Leslie Gonsette, M.D., M.P.H.- Medicine/Pediatrics Resident
  • Adrian Dobrescu, M.D.- Dermatology Resident
  • Sina Pourtaheri- Tulane Outreach to Romania President
  • Daniel Murariu- Tulane Outreach to Romania Honorary President
  • Eric Simms- Tulane Outreach to Romania Vice-President
  • Kimberly Smith- Tulane Outreach to Romania Secretary
  • Shuchin Shukla- Tulane Outreach to Romania Tresuarer
  • Radu Postelnicu- T1/T2 representative
  • Sara King
  • Jeannie Rhee
  • Emily Donaldson Fletcher
  • Kaveh Sadigh
  • Rachel Perline
  • Justin Sterett
  • Albert Ardon
  • Maya Dhanani

Members of the Romanian team are to be determined in the near future.

The medical mission to Romania will take place in and around the villages of Gioseni and Tamasi, Bacau County. We intend to set up three teams, drawn equally from both the American and Romanian members. The American physicians and students will work closely with the Romanian colleagues in establishing diagnoses and treatment plans, not only for legal reasons, but also to create closer ties.

The free clinics will be open to the local population. Due to the impoverishment in these areas and the high demand for medical attention, there will be a high patient volume. Our focus is specialty consultations in obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, and cardiology. The students will be highly involved in the process. As this is a hands-on learning experience, students will assist the physicians and perform technical tasks like Papanicolau tests, simple laboratory tests such as urinalyses, electrocardiograms, abdominal, pelvic and pregnancy ultrasounds, making this a unique experience.

We intend not only to have a direct and immediate impact on the health and lives of the patients we will examine, but also to make education and preventive medicine a top priority. Thus, we will make pamphlets (at the appropriate level of our target population) describing cardiovascular and gynecological health risks and preventive measures, as well as where they can access more information. These will be handed out in the waiting rooms while different topics relating to general health measures will be presented by the students.

We will also undertake screening for chronic diseases and cancers. A big focus will be on women’s health issues and conducting Papanicolau smear tests as they are unavailable and the incidence of uterine cancers is high.

Our local partners will be the primary care physicians and the US physicians will provide inservice training to the primary care physicians and students regarding topics within their specialty areas. This will lead to increased exchange of information between the physicians and provide the perfect medium of interaction and free discussion.

We will also collect demographic information of the patients seen, so we may draw some epidemiologic conclusions regarding the prevalence of diseases in the villages visited with the possibility of presenting the information at conferences or in journals. At the same time, we will translate the Assessment and Plans for each patient into Romanian and present them to the primary care physicians, so there will proper continuity of care.

Part of the last few days of the mission will be spent touring the Fundeni Institute, one of Romania’s biggest and best known hospitals. We hope to gain better insight into how typical Romanian hospitals are run.

Daily discussions, exchange of opinions and perceptions, as well as first hand experience within the health system of a developing country are all important parts of our aim to facilitate a greater understanding and exchange between the participating medical professionals. We truly wish for this to be an enriching and exciting project that will open the door to many more of its kind!

Tentative schedule for the 2008 Medical Mission III (March 28-April 7, 2008):

  • Friday:
    -US participants leave New Orleans
  • Saturday:
    -US participants arrive in Bucharest
  • -US and Romanian participants drive to Gioseni village

  • Sunday-Wed:
    -8 AM-12 PM- work in clinics in Gioseni, Tamasi and 3rd site (TBA)
    -12 PM and 1 PM break
    -1 PM-last patient- work
    -8-9 dinner
    -9-9.30 PM daily discussion
  • Thur:
    -leave at 7 AM for Bran Castle (4 hour drive), lunch in Brasov
    -afternoon arrive in Sighisoara (2 hours), see Dracula’s birthplace and the best preserved continuously inhabited medieval town in Europe
    -free evening
  • Fri:
    -8 AM leave for Sibiu (2007 European Cultural Capital of the Year) (1.5 hours drive)
    -lunch in Sibiu
    -return to Bucharest in afternoon (4hours drive)
  • Saturday:
    -9 AM- quick tour during day, visit to Fundeni Institute
    -last farewell dinner; night out
  • Sunday:
    -US participants leave for the US

Supplies (equipment and medicines) for this medical mission will come from New Orleans area hospitals and donors through the International Hospital for Children; many thanks to Dr. Heiman and his staff. The supplies will be transported to Romania by Fairhaven Ministries from Covington, LA. Kind thanks to Johnny Huffman and staff.

We are looking for monetary donations to help defray some of the costs related to this mission. If you are willing to donate please go to Donations from US sponsors are tax deductible, while from Romanian companies, they will can subtracted from the profit tax paid to the state.