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Critical Care Training in NYC, as COVID-19 Doctor and Patient

By Dr. Omesh Toolsie

Clinical training in America’s most populous city is known for being vigorous. If you’ve done any residency or fellowship training in New York City, you know that there is little downtime—chances are you’re busy year-round! The patient population here is perhaps the most diverse in the world and that fact is reflected in the rich clinical exposure; training in NYC is a qualification in itself. My wife and I, both physicians, moved from Trinidad and Tobago in June 2014 to pursue residency training in internal medicine at the BronxCare Health System. After completing residency, I completed a fellowship in pulmonary diseases at the same institution before moving to Montefiore Medical Center for training in critical care medicine. After almost six years in NYC, I found myself feeling comfortable managing very sick patients in almost any clinical context, but I was soon to be put out of my comfort zone.

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Uniting as Doctors in NYC During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Dr. Jinendra Satiya

December 2019, the month a mysterious viral outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, will be forever remembered as an important moment in history. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our lives, and strained the healthcare system and economy like never before. At the heart of the pandemic in New York City, we faced the worst. Originally from Mumbai, India and a Grant Medical College alumni, I moved to New York City for chief residency after completing my Internal Medicine Residency from JFK Medical Center, University of Miami. In this blog I describe my experience as an Internal Medicine Chief Resident working in New York City, sharing the difficulties encountered and the lessons learned.

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The Nigeria Pediatric ICU (PICU) Project

By Dr. Odiraa Nwankwor

I am a pediatric intensivist, and I am from Nigeria. As an intensivist in the US, I offer multi-disciplinary care to children who are critically ill, in an ICU environment. Our team offers various forms of support for any organ-system failure ranging from tracheal intubation/mechanical ventilation to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). However, in Nigeria and most other low and middle income (LMIC) countries, children who are critically ill are not cared for in an ICU environment. Most of the hospitals in these resource-limited settings lack the capacity and resources to intubate and mechanically ventilate children who are in respiratory failure from varied causes. As you read this blog, if a child goes to any of the major tertiary pediatric institutions in these regions, in respiratory failure or has any major organ-systems dysfunction, the fate of that child is grim. There are millions of such children, even at this moment.

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A Home Away from Home: A Saudi Arabian Alumni Story

By Dr. Mazin Alhamdani

My Name is Mazin Alhamdani. I am a native of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ever since I was in medical school, I dreamt about pursuing post graduate medical training in the United States. I wanted this not only for the outstanding medical training, but also for the integrated training structure, and emphasis on ethics and professionalism. I studied for my USMLE exams while working as a resident in Saudi Arabia. I obtained good scores and began applying to residency programs. I was lucky enough to be accepted at a pediatric residency program in New York City, the “Big Apple.”

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Once a J-1 Exchange Student, Now a TPL: My Unique Perspective

By Ekaterine Piccola
Training Program Liaison, Mount Sinai Health System

I first planted my tired feet on US soil in August, 2003. After 12 hours in the air, when I breathed in the humid and intriguingly unfamiliar air outside of Washington Dulles International Airport, I knew that I was in for an adventure of a lifetime. My country, Georgia, was far behind me.

I started out as a new J-1 exchange student at New York University (NYU) in September, 2003. I experienced a multitude of emotions – I simultaneously felt happy, privileged, overwhelmed, and anxious. I realized that I was on my own and for the first time, I had only myself to rely on. The first few weeks were a whirlwind as I was eagerly trying to find a place to live in New York City, navigate through the subway system (mainly figuring out the difference between uptown or downtown, and trying to hear announcements against the noise of a rapidly passing express train), register for all the correct classes for my graduate program, and comply with the J-1 visa requirements. Along the way, I made some new friends who are now friends for life. Also, the support I received from the international office was crucial to my survival and future success.

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