Despite tremendous strides in its public health sector, the country of Rwanda does not have a single trained pediatric oncologist. In the article, "Harvard Professors Partner in Unique Approach," the Harvard Gazette explores a new program initiated by PIH's Sara Stulac to bring together or “twin” Rwanda physicians with Boston-based pediatric oncologists.
The strategy has cured at least five of 10 children at a Rwinkwavu Hospital in Eastern Rwanda which PIH operates in conjunction with the country’s Ministry of Health. The article goes on to explain that the program has been further developed and formalized through a partnership with several other Boston-based specialists, including pediatric oncologist Leslie Lehmann, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of pediatrics.
In the article, published December 13, 2011, Dr. Lehmann addresses how the “twinning” approach utilizes and strengthens in-country resources by adding long-distance supervision and treatment-planning. “We show that we can safely deliver care using this model — an American-trained pediatrician supervising a Rwandan-trained generalist — who are together supervised through phone calls from a U.S-based pediatric oncologist,” says Lehmann, who is clinical director of the pediatric stem cell transplant program at Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center.
Lehmann is expected to present the project's results at the American Society of Hematology’s 2011 annual meeting in San Diego.