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John Tarpley, M.D., center, talks with attendees of the Global Burden of Surgical Disease Working Group meeting in the Godchaux Hall living room at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. (photo by Joe Howell)

Meeting shines light on global impact of surgical diseases


3/19/2010 - Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for young men around the world, and many of these deaths could be prevented if adequate surgical and anesthetic care were available in developing countries.

“It is an epidemic of trauma, coupled with deficient infrastructure,” said John Tarpley, M.D., professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who with his wife, Margaret Tarpley, senior associate in Surgery, has provided medical and educational services in Nigeria for many years.

Tarpley was among several Vanderbilt faculty members who participated in the third annual meeting of the Global Burden of Surgical Disease Working Group at Vanderbilt last week.

Founded in 2007, and with more than 300 international members, the group is “strategizing about how to bring surgical conditions and needs for building capacity in developing countries to a higher place on the radar screen of global health,” said Douglas Heimburger, M.D., professor of Medicine and associate director for Education and Training at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

Other speakers included Mark Newton, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and director of Vanderbilt International Anesthesia; Andy Norman, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt; and Kelly McQueen, M.D., MPH, fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and adjunct clinical professor at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.

Charles Woodrow, M.D., an alumnus of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who has lived in Mozambique since 1990 and is establishing a surgical training center there, said he was “impressed …to see the

Charles Woodrow, M.D., spoke of his experiences in Mozambique. (photo by Joe Howell)

Charles Woodrow, M.D., spoke of his experiences in Mozambique. (photo by Joe Howell)

outstanding quality of the physicians (at the meeting) …turning their attention, interest and intellectual powers to solve the world's health problems.”

Also last week, the meeting's keynote speaker, former U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., was appointed to the board of directors of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, established by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to raise money for Haiti relief and provide policy guidance after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Frist, University Distinguished Professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, chairs the non-profit health care organization Hope Through Healing Hands.

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