TRAVERSE CITY — Some 7,800 miles separate Munson Medical Center and a private hospital in Chogoria, Kenya.
A new international option in Munson’s family practice residency training program aims to bridge that distance.
The first team of three doctors — a supervising faculty member and two residents — left for Chogoria PCEA Hospital in mid-February and returned in late March. The plan is to send medical teams two or three times a year on six-week trips to work side by side with Chogoria medical staff, said Dr. David Klee, a faculty member in Munson Healthcare’s Family Practice Residency program.
“There are just five family practitioners in all of Kenya,” said Klee, a lead physician in developing Munson’s new international option.
Funding for Munson’s program comes from the Northwest Michigan Osteopathic Endowment Fund, Michigan State University and Rotary International. The Munson program builds off a similar physician rotation program created a few years ago by Munson cardiologist David MacIntosh for the foundation and MSU, Klee said.
Chogoria lies 145 miles north of Nairobi near the base of Mount Kenya. Founded by a Scottish missionary in 1922, it is now a private hospital with 312 beds located in a gated compound. It has an occupancy rate of 50 to 80 percent.The two hospitals are about the same size in terms of bed numbers, Klee said.
Physically, Munson is much larger and has more doctors — about 100. Chogoria has 12.
Chogoria hospital staff members have created their own residency program, which starts in 2014. Munson doctors were not involved in that project, but will help guide the curriculum, Klee said.
Chogoria physician Nelson Lolos spent a month at Munson last year. Anthony Tata, another Chogoria doctor, will spend a month later this year at Munson.
Munson’s three-year residency program provides training to 18 resident physicians — six each in first-, second- and third-year classes. Residency is a stage of graduate medical training.