Sunset Park

NYU Lutheran doctors take healing touch abroad

January 5, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dr. Stephanie Sterling, an infectious diseases physician at NYU Lutheran Medical Center, assists the village mayor in Guatemala, where her mission group, Global Penicilligirl, has traveled for the five years. Photo courtesy of NYU Lutheran
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Doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care practitioners from NYU Lutheran Medical Center have taken their act on the road several times in recent years.

Medical professionals from the Sunset Park-based hospital have traveled far afield to Central America, the Caribbean and other places to bring their valuable expertise to poverty-stricken local residents, according to hospital officials.

Dr. Stephanie Sterling, the new attending physician for infectious diseases at NYU Lutheran, makes it a point to visit a remote village in Guatemala with her mission group, Global Penicillingirl, each year.

“In the week we’re there, there are thousands of visits by about 200 patients a day. It’s amazing how much you can do with a highly motivated group of providers,” said Sterling, who noted that a single patient will usually be seen by several doctors and dentists in the course of a day.

The medical professionals who travel to remote areas of the world are often the only health care providers the people in those countries will ever see.

Dr. Fabienne Ulysse, director of nursing oncology at the NYU Lutheran Infusion Center, has traveled to Haiti each summer for the past five years to deliver health care to children and adults in remote parts of that island nation.

Ulysse’s mission group, Compassionate Health Ministries, includes doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

In addition to providing dressing changes, medication and clothing, Ulysse said the group also seeks to teach medical professionals in Haiti about oncology care. 

“In Haiti, if you have cancer you are often set aside to die,” Ulysse said. “I’m trying to expose more nurses to the benefits of oncology care and let them know there are treatment options.” 

For eight years, NYU Lutheran surgeon Dr. Rama Mohan Kilaru led a medical mission to Honduras with a group of medical practitioners through the Honduran American Association. But since political turmoil erupted in the country, the mission has come to a halt.

Kilaru’s desire to help hasn’t waned, however, and he has organized a private group of NYU Lutheran doctors, nurses and technicians to travel to Jamaica to perform a range of surgeries. The group plans to head there in April.

Traveling long distances to remote areas often means living without basic utilities like electricity and plumbing, but the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are willing to make the temporary sacrifice, hospital officials said.


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