Dr. Kolkman to undertake surgical rotation in India

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public relations | September 11, 2009

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Paul Kolkman, M.D.
It's been a memorable year for Paul Kolkman, M.D., and it promises to become even more so.

Last month, he married Marcy Deaver, a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at The Nebraska Medical Center.

This month, the Kolkmans head to India to spend up to six months in a country they've never visited before.

Rotation to have clinical and research facets

A fourth-year resident physician in general surgery, Dr. Kolkman will leave for India to undertake an international surgical rotation composed of clinical work and research.

He will perform health disparities research under the guidance of Chandra Are, M.D., associate program director of the general surgery program and the lead architect in the establishment of a partnership between UNMC and India.

Dr. Are said the rotation will be part of the broader memorandum of understanding signed between UNMC and India to allow for the exchange of medical students, residents and faculty.

Dr. Kolkman to examine international health disparities

Dr. Kolkman's research mission will be to investigate the health disparities that exist between resource-rich and resource-poor countries across the world.

Some of his research will include studies to determine the different treatment approaches and outcomes for patients with surgical conditions such as cancer, trauma and various benign diseases.

Dr. Kolkman also will perform research to analyze the increasing global burden related to surgical disease as detailed by the World Health Organization.

Rotation offers unusual opportunities

Traditionally, the research track for surgical residents has focused on basic science, said Jon Thompson, M.D., resident program director for general surgery. The international research year offers a rare combination of clinical experience and clinical research, he said.

Dr. Kolkman's enthusiasm for global health coupled with Dr. Are's efforts and expertise in this area have created this exciting opportunity, Dr. Thompson said.

"Marcy and I will be gathering data on surgical patients," Dr. Kolkman said. "We will be addressing the disparities in surgical care between developing nations and the first world. I'm excited to be a part of the process. I'm hopeful that we can eventually level the playing field on an international scale."

Better care remains the goal

Ultimately, the goal is to address how to give effective and affordable surgical care, he said.

"There are differences in disease presentation and type, investigations performed, surgical techniques and post-operative care between the United States and India," he said. "By exchanging students, residents and faculty, it will be a tremendous learning experience for both institutions."

When he returns from India, Dr. Kolkman hopes to publish his research findings.