Past Lectures

Lunch Talk with Dr. JaBaris Swain, MD, MPH

June 6th, 2022

Dr. Swain is a cardiothoracic transplant surgeon-scientist and global health scholar who works in humanitarian cardiac surgery, cardiology education, and global public health. His global health projects focus on augmenting access to clinical education and care delivery for cardiovascular diseases in countries such as Rwanda and Haiti. For this lunch talk, Dr. Swain presented on "The Quest for Equitable Care." 

Dr. Swain gives a lunch talk to first year Penn medical students

Lunch Talk with Dr. Jordan Swanson MD

May 9th, 2022

Dr. Swanson is an attending surgeon in the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Oral Surgery at CHOP with a clinical interest in cleft, craniofacial, and pediatric plastic surgery. In the global health sphere, Dr. Swanson has worked extensively in Nicaragua - collaborating with Operation Smile and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to build a joint Comprehensive Cleft and Craniofacial program. His research specifically focuses on how clinical devices, locally driven leadership, and team capability strengthening can be used to improve surgical care for children in low-resource settings.

Lunch Talk with Dr. Aseem R. Shukla MD, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery in the Division of Urology at CHOP

March 1st, 2022

Dr. Shukla's work in global health and surgery centers on creating lasting change in communities abroad. In 2009, Dr. Shukla initiated a surgical workshop at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, India. This workshop has become an international model of academic surgical collaboration, bringing together respected pediatric urological surgeons from both America and India. 

During this lunch talk, Dr. Shukla spoke with first-year Penn medical students his global work in pediatric urological surgery. He described rare congenital urologic malformations, which can be especially debilitating for children and families in developing countries if not properly treated.  He discussed the importance of global partnerships and workshops in training local surgeons to treat these issues.

Orthopaedic Care in the Developing World: A New Paradigm - Lunch Talk with Dr. Neil Sheth, MD

February 10th, 2022

Dr. Sheth is the Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital and is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. His global health interests are centered on creating sustainable solutions to the delivery of musculoskeletal care in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this lunch talk, Dr. Sheth delivered a presentation on “Orthopaedic Care in the Developing World: A New Paradigm.”

Dr. Sheth spoke with first year Penn medical students about his path to becoming involved in global surgery as a orthopaedic resident. Students learned about the obstacles and difficulties of providing orthopedics care in developing countries, and particularly challenges around establishing and providing sustainable care and follow-up in these areas. He also discussed the Global Orthopedics collaboration he founded between Penn Medicine, a variety of international orthopedic institutions, and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania.

Dr. Neil Sheth speaks to Penn medical students.

Dr. Neil Sheth speaks with Penn medical students.

Ethical Issues in Global Surgery: A Virtual Lunch Talk with Dr. Jordan Swanson, MD, MSc

October 26th, 2020

Global Surgery and Capacity-Building: A Virtual Lunch Talk with Dr. David A Spiegel

May 7th, 2020

The Penn Global Surgery Group and the Leo Leung Orthopedic Surgery Society hosted a virtual lunch talk with Dr. Spiegel on May 7th. Dr. David Spiegel is a renowned pediatric orthopedic surgeon at CHOP, who kindly took the time to discuss his career dedicated to advocacy, healthcare-system development, and volunteer work.

Dr. Spiegel has developed a long lasting partnership with the Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children in Banepa, Nepal were he served as an Honorary Consultant in Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation for over 20 years. He is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq. He holds many committee positions with the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) and has served as a consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Mongolia and Somalia where he joined the steering committee for the WHO’s Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care.

Jordan W. Swanson, MD, MSc: Global Disparities and Surgical Justice

April 14th, 2020

For its first virtual lunch talk in the spring of 2020, the PGSG welcomed Dr. Jordan Swanson. Dr. Swanson is a pediatric plastic surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and a faculty advisor for the Global Surgery group. Prior to practicing at CHOP, Dr. Swanson lived and worked in Nicaragua, collaborating with Operation Smile and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to build a joint Comprehensive Cleft and Craniofacial program. He also served as Director of Surgical Innovation at Operation Smile, in which he co-led development of clinical training programs, surgical research, and clinical program design specific to lower-resource settings. As this lecture was hosted against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Swanson emphasized the need to build healthcare systems that are resilient enough to respond to public health emergencies. Dr. Swanson also noted that across the world, tens of millions of children still lack access to surgeries that could dramatically improve quality of life, and encouraged students to work for "surgical justice."

Jesse Raiten, MD: Delivery of Critical Care Services in Developing Countries across Asia and Africa

May 3rd, 2018

Dr. Jesse Raiten is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Penn. His research and clinical interests have focused on the delivery of critical care services in developing countries across Asia and Africa. He has worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to improve critical care services in Rwanda. Dr. Raiten led an international team which developed and implemented a critical care educational program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and he is currently working with the Shahid Gangalal Heart Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, to develop an improved format and structure for their training of cardiac critical care physicians. He advised medical students: "Every specialty in the United States has potential for being used in a global setting."

Elizabeth Drum, MD: The role of anesthesia in global surgery, and challenges to anesthetic care in low-resource settings

April 19th, 2018

Dr. Elizabeth Drum is an attending anesthesiologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She has gone on 32 medical mission trips in 8 countries. She discussed the importance of incorporating anesthesiology into the global surgery movement, and how there is a great need for both providers and resources. As she eloquently phrased it, "Surgery may be the neglected stepchild of global health, but anesthesia is his invisible friend." 

Stephen Sammut, MBA: Surgical Care for Low Income Rural Populations 

April 3rd, 2018

Stephen Sammut, lecturer at Wharton in Emerging Markets, led a unique case discussion on how surgical care can be provided for low-income, rural populations by using Jan Swasthya Sahyong in India as a model. Jan Swasthya Sahyong is a community-based healthcare system that was founded in 1996 in the rural village of Ganiyari, 20km away from the nearest city. It provides an example of how a group of like-minded health professionals were able to develop a low-cost, high-quality infrastructure to serve the local community. It consists of both outpatient and inpatient services, three operating rooms, a diagnostic laboratory and a low-cost pharmacy. Learn more at 

Phuong Nguyen, MD: Craniomaxillofacial mission trips to Vietnam, and Central and South America

March 29th, 2018

Phuong NguyenDr. Phuong D. Nguyen shared his story with us, entitled: "Road to Home: From Refugee to Rittenhouse." He discussed his family's flee from communist Vietnam and their subsequent immigration to the US. He currently works at the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as a pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgeon. His talk focused on his interest in global health, which was particularly stimulated when, as a medical student,  he joined a non-profit medical mission group named Project Vietnam to return to rural Vietnam to assist with delivering surgical care and assessing local public health needs.  This was an extraordinary personal and professional turning point, as the opportunities and relative privilege of growing up in the U.S. were thrown in stark contrast to the very real needs and limitations of a country recovering from decades of war; in particular, a country he otherwise would have grown up in.  As such, since 2004, Dr. Nguyen has continued his global outreach and participated on surgical missions to Nepal, India, Guatemala, Peru, and the Philippines in addition to Vietnam with several groups including Operation Smile and Medical Missions for Children.  

David Spiegel, MD: Implementing a Clubfoot Treatment Program in Nepal 

February 22, 2018

Dr. Spiegel, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at CHOP, discussed his work treating clubfoot in Nepal for the past 20 years as a consultant at the Hospital & Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children in Banepa, Nepal. Specifically, he shared his experience on adapting a more the Ponseti Method, which does not require invasive surgery, in this low-income setting. The Ponseti method is a manipulative technique which involves correcting clubfoot by gradually reducing the deformity using serial casting. This method has involved the training of healthcare workers to perform this casting in satellite clinics in the region, in order to improve follow-up. To learn more about the method, check out this article, first-authored by co-founder of the Penn Global Surgery Group, Rachel Johnson. 

Dr. Spiegel specializes in neuromuscular diseases, trauma, and scoliosis and is an associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has dedicated considerable energy to volunteer work in low and middle-income countries, most frequently Nepal and Iraq. He has served as an Honorary Consultant in Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children in Banepa, Nepal, for nearly 20 years and is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Basrah in Iraq. He has served on the Committee on Children’s Orthopaedics in Underdeveloped Regions of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) for more than 10 years, and was Chairman for three years. He has also served as Chairman of the Bone and Joint Decade committee and the Global Courses Committee of POSNA.

Claudio Lucarelli, PhD: Comparative Healthcare Systems and Global Surgery

February 13, 2018 

Dr,Lucarelli lectureDr. Lucarelli discussed the structure of the healthcare system in Chile as it compares to the U.S. He spoke about the role of public health insurance, Fondo Nacional de Salud (FOANSA) and private insurers via Instituciones de Salud Previsonal (ISAPRE). Claudio Lucarelli is an Associate Professor of Healthcare Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the industrial organization of health care markets, with interests on international healthcare systems, providers’ incentives, and the provision of health in rural areas. 

Syrian American Medical Medical Society: Working Globally as a Medical Student and Resident

Photo: The Shadow Doctors, New Yorker 2016
The Shadow Doctors, New Yorker 2016

November 29th, 2017

This event hosted Dr. Fares Samra, a plastic surgery resident at Penn, and Hanna Elmongy, a current MS2. Dr. Samra has taken multiple trips with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) to refugee camps in Jordan and spoke about the recent political history of Syria as well as the state of the Syrian Crisis to date, including the killing of physicians as a weapon of war. Hanna spent the past summer serving as a medical interpreter for SAMS in Greece and spoke about her experiences working with full time residents of refugee camps, some of the unique health issues they face, and the importance of nuanced translation in a healthcare setting. 

Lecture with Dr. Geoff Tabin, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Himalayan Cataract Project

November 15th, 2017

Watch Tabin Lecture Here

Dr. Geoff Tabin speaks about the trials and successes of developing an affordable and mobile cataract surgical technique
Dr. Geoff Tabin speaks about the trials and successes of developing an affordable and mobile cataract surgical technique

Mountaineer, educator, medical pioneer, explorer, TED speaker, author, physician, Dr. Geoff Tabin has spent his career on a quest to cure unnecessary blindness. In 1995, Dr. Tabin and Nepalese eye surgeon, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, established the Himalayan Cataract Project with the ambitious goal to eliminate all preventable and treatable blindness from the Himalayan region in their lifetime. With the same perseverance Dr. Tabin uses to climb mountains, he has achieved the seemingly insurmountable goal and the Project has expanded to regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. His passion and dedication in this international endeavor resulted in Dr. Tabin being named the “Unsung Hero” by the Dalai Lama in 2009.

Dr. Tabin completed his undergraduate education at Yale University and subsequently earned an MA in Philosophy at Oxford University. In 1985, he graduated from Harvard Medical School and went on to complete his Ophthalmology residency at Brown University followed by a fellowship in corneal surgery in Melbourne, Australia. He has published extensively on his scientific and philanthropic work in Ophthalmology and has been featured on 60 Minutes. He and Dr. Sanduk Ruit are the subject of the New York Times Bestselling author David Oliver Relin’s book Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives. Additionally, Dr. Tabin is the fourth person in the world to have achieved the “Seven Summits” – having climbed to the highest peak on each of the seven continents.

Dr. Tabin Event Flyer titled Curing Blindness and the Himalayan Cataract Project

Jordan Swanson, MD, MSc: Building a Cleft and Craniofacial Surgical Program in Nicaragua

November 6th, 2017

Dr. Jordan Swanson is an attending surgeon in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with special clinical expertise in cleft, craniofacial, and pediatric plastic surgery. His innovation and research initiatives are focused principally on how surgical care can be better adapted to low-resource settings, through design of clinical devices and techniques, locally-driven leadership and team capability strengthening, and reorienting care pathways appropriate to local contexts and resources. In parallel, these initiatives are also generating insight into less-invasive, patient-directed advances for surgical care delivery in tertiary settings. He previously worked and lived in Nicaragua, collaborating with Operation Smile and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to build a joint Comprehensive Cleft and Craniofacial program, and is the primary investigator of the Cirugia Para el Pueblo pilot program to advance the access to and impact of rural surgical care in Nicaragua. He also serves as Director of Surgical Innovation at Operation Smile, in which he co-leads development of clinical training programs, surgical research, and clinical program design specific to lower-resource settings, and is a plastic surgeon at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.

Fares Samra, MD: Syrian American Medical Society

May 30th, 2017

SAMS LogoThe Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), founded in 1998, provides a platform for connecting physicians and supporting humanitarian projects worldwide. The society has been especially active in Syria to promote medical relief efforts and medical education. Dr. Fares Samra, from the Division of Plastic Surgery, showcased highlights from his trip to Amman, Jordan with SAMS. 

Princy Thottathil, MD & Grace Hsu, MD: Ethics in Global Surgery

April 17th, 2017

Two attending anesthesiologists at CHOP, Dr. Princy Thottathil and Dr. Grace Hsu, gave a talk on Ethics in Global Surgery. They discussed the ethical challenges of delivering surgical care to pediatric patients in an austere environment, including ethical dilemmas of short-term medical missions, humanitarian aid, and blood donation. This event was co-host by the Penn Global Surgery Group, Penn Center for Global Health, and the Penn Bioethics Interest Group.

Scott Bartlett, MD: Children's Medical Foundation of Central and Eastern Europe

March 21st, 2017

Children's Medical Foundation of Central and Eastern EuropeDr. Scott Bartlett, the Director of Craniofacial Program and Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at CHOP. Dr. Bartlett gave a lecture about his experiences starting and managing a non-profit to treat craniofacial disease in Poland. 


Sergio Martínez-Siekavizza, MD: Guatemala-Penn Partnership

October 11th, 2016

Sergio Martínez-Siekavizza, MD
Sergio Martínez-Siekavizza, MD

Dr. Martínez-Siekavizza, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, gave a talk discussing his work with the Guatemala-Penn Partnership (GPP). The GPP is a 10-year-old initiative that is aimed at developing high quality science, education, and service in Guatemala, including NIH-funded research related to injury and trauma. He has also organized, held fundraising, and done surgical outreach for the under-served Mayan populations in Guatemala, taking teams of trainees with him to expose them to rural population healthcare. He serves as Guatemala's Country Delegate for Education with the AO Foundation, and as Advisory Board Member with the Penn Injury Center. Furthermore, Dr. Martínez-Siekavizza is a classically-trained pianist who has thrown annual benefit concerts for surgical outreach. This event was sponsored by the Penn Center for Global Health.

Cedric De Angelo: Technology Planning - Insider Knowledge, How to Build Hospitals

September 22nd, 2016

CJ De Angelo
Cedric "CJ" De Angelo

Cedric "CJ" De Angelo is a Senior Hospital Technology Planner with GE Healthcare, specializing in medical equipment planning and design evaluations for healthcare solutions in the Middle East. He has been with GE since 2011 and at the time of the event was based in Dubai, UAE. CJ has over 30 years of experience in the medical field, and has worked with major architectural design firms, project management companies, and hospital owners on more than 200 international hospital projects. This event was co-sponsored by PennHealthX and Penn Orthopaedics.

Lawrence Shulman, MD: Bringing Cancer Care to Rwanda - Lessons Learned

January 12th, 2016

Dr. Lawrence Shulman is a prominent figure in global health and Penn faculty member. He gave a Medical Grand Rounds on his efforts to bring cancer treatment to Rwanda at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Lawrence Shulman Jan 12 Event Flyer titled: "Bringing Cancer Care to Rwanda: Lessons Learned"

Stephanie Fuller, MD: Cardiothoracic Surgery in Low Resource Settings

December 14th, 2015

Dr. Stephanie Fuller is an internationally known cardiothoracic and congenital heart surgeon. She spoke on her interest in global surgery, the challenges of doing cardiothoracic surgery in resource-poor settings, the lessons learned, and what it is like to work in a largely male-dominated field. The event was co-sponsored by the Agnew Surgical Society, the Penn Global Health Interest Group, the Penn Cardiology Interest Group, and the Elizabeth Blackwell Society.

Stephanie Fuller, MD Speaker Event Flyer