RECOVER Initiative Returns To Their Annual Shipments to Sierra Leone

After over a yearlong hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency efforts supporting Ukraine, the RECOVER Initiative has resumed its normal annual shipments of medical supplies to Sierra Leone. After countless hours of collecting, sorting, and packing, we shipped 15 bags of medical supplies on June 17, totaling 478.5 pounds of medical equipment that would have otherwise been disposed. Included in this shipment were 43 tourniquets, purchased with a grant from the Stop the Bleed program, to encourage the practice and education of the community in bleeding control of severely injured people. The $750 to ship the 15 bags was covered through fundraising efforts organized by the RECOVER Initiative executive board. In Sierra Leone, Dr. Samba Jalloh will receive and redistribute the supplies. With medical resources limited in Sierra Leone, the supplies we send are vital for the physicians of Sierra Leone to continue the mission all healthcare professionals strive for: to provide the best possible medical care we can to our patients. RECOVER Initiative will continue providing international medical aid and help other physicians in trying to achieve our common mission.











NJMS RECOVER Initiative Giveback Session for OR Staff

The RECOVER Initiative executive board had a wonderful time hosting a breakfast and lunch session to thank UH's Operating Room team for all their hard work, dedication, and support in helping our organization's mission possible. In addition to expressing our greatest appreciation, we also presented some of the impressive results of their contribution, such as the amount of supplies collected from the OR that would be diverted from becoming waste and donated to places in need. While we collected over 633 lbs in the 4 months between April and July, we collected well over 1,000 lbs over the course of the entire year! Additionally, we got to share with the OR team where these donations ended up. Between our 10 donations throughout the year, the medical supplies reached everywhere from our own NJMS student-run clinic in Newark all the way to war-stricken Ukraine. We are excited to continue into the next academic year with the amazing support of the UH OR team.












ISHI Club - Suture and Knot Tying Workshop

The ISHI Club held a successful suture and knot-tying workshop on April 20, 2022 with turnout from first and second year medical students. Provided with supplies thanks to the efforts of trauma nurse Katy Morello and Dr. Sifri, the ISHI Club was able to host general surgery resident Dr. Fatima Elgammal. Dr. Elgammal motivated students to improve their basic surgical skills before embarking on their third-year rotations.



Students practiced instrument knot tying and some were even able to progress to using model hernia repair kits. At the end of the session, students were able to take home hemostats, suture, needle drivers, and other materials to continue honing their surgical skills, and even left donations to raise money for shipping medical equipment to Ukraine.









Ongoing Humanitarian Efforts To Ukraine

The CGS is collaborating with variousUkrainian organizations and establishing supply chain routes, to provide much needed surgical supplies to support the ongoing humanitarian effortsin Ukraine.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, we have sorted and packed 1000s of items that were donated to us. Supplies from the ER, ICU, OR and from the Recover NJMS Team .So far, wehave shipped 65 boxes with hundreds ofmedical supplies and equipmentto Ukraine.  

These medical supplies (such as first aid material, wound care supplies tourniquets etc.) have been selected based on a local needs assessment and by requests from Ukrainian teams and hospitals on the ground. These medical supplies help the injured patients (mostly trauma patients) and those in need because of the war .

We continue to receive donation of supplies as well as feedback from teams on the ground on a regular basis. The feedback is critical to adjust our donations to make sure the right supplies are sent to the right people and at the right time. We hope to send more items in the future as long as the need is there.

This initiative is a joint effort (including but not limited to) NJMS ReCOVER Initiative, the Ukrainian Association Community Center, the Eric Munoz Trauma Center and ISHI.


We are so thankful for the many individual volunteers that have generously provided their time and effort with this initiative to help the injured in Ukraine.

As all signs indicate that the crisis in Ukraine will continue, we will persevere to bring together Rutgers Newark and the broader community to help provide medical aid. Lastly, we welcome any involvement from the NJMS community everyone can help!










Rutgers Fifth Annual Global Health and Surgery Research Symposium

On December 10th, 2020, Rutgers held its fifth annual Global Health and Surgery Research Symposium, centered on the topic of telemedicine. The symposium featured keynote presentations by Dr. Amanda Gosman (President, Founder, and Director of ConnectMed International) and Dr. Arash Hakhamian (Co-Founder and CEO of Dental Telehealth Initiative). Drs. Gosman and Hakhamian discussed their experiences with telemedicine and remote teaching of surgical techniques. The symposium also featured 12 research presentations by students and trainees from NJMS and other institutions.


RECOVER Initiative's donation to Sierra Leone

On December 4th, 2020, the RECOVER Initiative at NJMS donated 15 bags (192kg) of medical supplies to Sierra Leone. Unused and discarded medical supplies collected from University Hospital’s OR, SICU, and ER were sorted by RECOVER team members and packed into bags to be shipped overseas. The bags also included training materials for Stop the Bleed courses to be taught in Sierra Leone.

Pictured: RECOVER team volunteers with the shipping team on pickup day.





Donation of Medical Supplies for Armenian Trauma Victims

On November 4, 2020 the Center for Global Surgery and ISHI Global collaborated to collect, sort, and pack 220 kilograms of PPE and medical supplies to aid in treating trauma victims injured in the ongoing conflict in Armenia. Supplies were donated from University Hospital, Hackensack Hospital, and other nearby centers, and sorted by volunteers from Rutgers-NJMS, including students in the ISHI Club and RECOVER Initiative.CGScollaborated with Operation HOPE and aid groups including AAHPO, AAMS, and AMIC to help get the supplies in the hands of those who need them most.

Pictured: ISHI volunteer (center) and Armenian team with shipment of donated medical supplies and PPE.




ISHI Club students kicked off their first meeting of the year on September 29, 2020, by gathering to hear from the president of ISHI Global, Dr. Ziad Sifri. Dr. Sifri gave a lecture on his journey to global surgery, the origins of ISHI, and the evolution of ISHI missions. ISHI Club leaders Elina Salter and Dina Saba also provided an overview of ISHI Club activities and engagement opportunities for students.

Global Surgery and Health Equity Course Reborn Virtually

Third year medical students at NJMS enjoy the benefits of an educational session on global surgery and dimensions of access to healthcare, given during their surgical clerkship. In the era of COVID, this session has been adapted to the virtual setting, with Webex lecture and discussion portions and online interactive polling features given in a small-group setting.


Research Fellow for Center for Global Surgery

Giovanna Mele is a third-year medical student at Rutgers-NJMS and current medical student research fellow at the Center for Global Surgery. She received her bachelor’s degree in cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers University and went on to complete her master’s degree in biomedical sciences with a concentration in pharmacological sciences at the Rutgers Graduate School of Biological Sciences in Newark, NJ. During her scholarly year which started in September of 2020 Giovanna is interested in learning more about global surgery and the obstacles some countries may have in delivering surgical care to their community.




Beirut Half Ton Challenge

After the August 4th, 2020 explosion which devastated Beirut, Lebanon, the CGS team received an urgent call from the Lebanese Ministry of Health for donations of medical and surgical supplies and PPE. Our team made a commitment to collecting and packing a half ton of supplies to send to Beirut, and thus the #BeirutHalfTonChallenge was born. Beginning on August 17, 2020, our volunteers have sorted through thousands of donated supplies from multiple sources, packing 31 boxes full and collecting 538 kilograms of supplies in the span of just 3 weeks. We were also able to surpass our fundraising goal of $2000, raising $3125 to cover shipping costs and to supplement our supply donations.

Special thanks to our valued partners for this project, including: ISHI Global, AFYA Foundation, staff and donors from multiple hospitals (University Hospital, Hackensack Hospital, JFK Hospital), multiple student groups at NJMS (ISHI Club, RECOVER Initiative at NJMS, COVID PPE Team), our excellent cadre of volunteers, and our many generous donors on Gofundme who all contributed to making this effort a success.



Dr. Mario Figuroa and Dr. Sifri discuss COVID-19 medical care and lessons learned with Dr Lopez and her team of doctors in Trujillo 

On May 26, 2020 Drs. Sifri and Figuroa discuss COVID-19 medical care and lessons learned. Peru has been hit hard with by the Pandemic with over 120,000 COVID-19 cases with over 3,00 deaths. The 90-minute PowerPoint presentation in Spanish was followed by an excellent 30 minute discussion and more Q&A. We wish our colleagues in Peru the best of luck and to remain safe and vigilant. A special thank you for Dr Figuroa for helping with the slides, the presentation and answering questions.

Center for Global Surgery Presents: Covid-19 Pandemic Preparation & Strategies in Freetown, SL

On May 20, 2020 the CGS was happy to have Dr. Samba Jalloh discuss his active plans and management of COVID-19 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. We hosted him in a discussion and Q&A session where he covered an overview of strategic planning, activation of solutions, and ongoing COVID-19 impacts, including surgeries averted. The solutions proposed were interesting and thought-provoking. Dr. Jalloh is the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association and is an active house officer completing his training in Sierra Leone. He is pictured here with the current president of Sierra Leone, Mr. Julius Maada Bio.

CGS Manuscript Writing 101 Class

On May 8, 2020, we hosted a quick, hour-long fundamentals of manuscript writing class tailored to interested students and residents. It's important to understand the nuts and bolts and even tips and tricks to a long, often difficult process! Stay tuned for other how-to classes in the future and please email us if you'd like a copy of the recorded session.

Center of Global Surgery Start/Begins Monthly Research Meetings

As of March 2020 our CGS meetings are now virtual, please join us for our monthly research meetings! Meetings are typically the final Thursday of every month over lunch. We have an open door policy. Students, residents, and faculty engaged in global health and global surgery projects are welcome to discuss ongoing work, practice upcoming presentations, and present data for evaluation. We welcomed Dr. Samba Jalloh to speak briefly on his COVID preparations in Sierra Leone. We discussed ongoing student projects including our ongoing study of trainee participation in humanitarian settings.


Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School Department of Surgery 6th Annual Regional Research Symposium

On February 20, 2020, the Center for Global Surgery participated in the Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Surgery 6th Annual Regional Research Symposium. The following students presented their research:

  • Gary Hoffman MS2
  • Danielle Nogoy MS3
  • Julia Riccardi MS4











Congratulations to Julia Riccardi for receiving 3rd place in the poster competition! Her poster was awarded by a panel of judges reviewing over 40 research posters. Strong work, Julia!






Grand Rounds Delivered by Former NJMS Global Surgery Research Fellow

On February 14, 2020, Peter Johnston, MD, prior Benjamin F. Rush Global Surgery Fellow (and current administrative chief resident) presented his grand rounds, “Good Intentions and Unintended Harm: The Ethical Minefield of ‘Global Surgery,” which provoked an engaging conversation about the ethics of international surgical work. We are proud of Dr. Johnston’s insightful and nuanced oration of a sensitive topic.







15th Annual Academic Surgical Congress

On February 4, 2020 the team attended the 15th Annual Academic Surgical Congress in Orlando, Florida, which was a great opportunity to reconnect with surgeons and resident and student trainees from other institutions. The team gave two oral presentations that are the culmination of research projects initiated in the summer. “Closing the Gender Gap: Global Surgery at the Academic Surgical Congress” addresses gender inequity in academic surgery, studying the nascent field of global surgery to uncover any special trends. The second project, “Contributions of Socioeconomic and Health System Metrics to Scholarly Activity of West African Surgeons” was a collaborative effort with the West African College of Surgeons.





Dr. Samba Jalloh Elected General Secretary of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association

We are proud to share that our friend and collaborator, Dr. Samba Jalloh, was elected as General Secretary of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association in November 2019. His work ethic and leadership skills have earned him this position in the national executive board of the country’s medical organization. Congratulations and best of luck, Dr. Jalloh!




American College of Surgeons’ Clinical Congress

October 27, 2019, the team convened in San Francisco, California for an exciting, educational and productive ACS meeting. Umaru Barrie MS4, who is our student collaborator, presented his poster entitled, “Burden of Traumatic Injuries in Rural Sierra Leone after Road Paving,” which was well-received by the audience. Vennila Padmanaban, MD received a scholarship through ACS Operation Giving Back to attend “Global Health Competencies for Surgeons: Cognitive and System Skills Course,” an interesting day-long seminar on a variety of pressing topics in humanitarian global surgery. She presented the team’s research in oral talks entitled, “Establishment of a Novel Community-Based Protocol to Increase Post-Operative Follow-Up in Rural Sierra Leone” and the “The Surgical Clerkship: An Opportunity to Integrate Global Surgery to the Medical School Curriculum.” Additionally, she and Ziad Sifri, MD enjoyed hosting and participating in table talks at the RAS-ACS Global Surgery Workgroup “Students and Trainees in Global Surgery: The Future of the OR.”



The 4th Annual Global Health & Global Surgery Symposium

On October 23rd, 2019, Rutgers - NJMS Global Health hosted our 4th annual Global Health and Surgery Research Symposium to generate conversation, showcase student humanitarian and academic work in global health and global surgery. This year was thematically focused on refugee health, and featured speakers Kevin Lyons, PhD and Craig Spencer, MD MPH. Dr. Spencer is the Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. In his capacity as a humanitarian physician, he coordinated the Doctors Without Borders national epidemiological response in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak. He is an advocate of forced migration and refugee health, working most recently on a medical search and rescue boat in the Meditarranean. He discussed his efforts and the plight of refugee populations in his talk on Wednesday evening. Dr. Lyons is the director of the Rutgers Business School Public Private Community Partnership Program based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is passionate about supply chain and medication and equipment logistics during disasters and emergencies. Dr. Lyons has worked extensively in Newark New Jersey, San Juan, Puerto Rico and sub-Saharan Africa and featured disaster supply chain concepts in his lecture. Following the well-attended speaker series, students presented research abstracts over dinner. Danielle Nogoy, NJMS medical student and student researcher at Rutgers - Global Surgery, was awarded 2nd place for the quality of her research by a panel of external judges. Congratulations, Danielle!

Finally, we would like to issue special heaps of thanks to our Program Coordinator, Marquiah Geiger, without whose strong effort, dedication, and skills this symposium would not be possible. Thank you, Ms. Geiger! You are the real MVP!




Rutgers - NJMS Center for Global Surgery AttendsAcademic International Medicine World Congress 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On July 27-28, 2019 the Rutgers - NJMS Center for Global Surgery team attended the Academic International Medicine World Congress 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is a hub of medical education in the United States. Over the past few weeks, our students David Wassef, MS3 and Aastha Chokshi, MS3 prepared and practiced their oral presentations, with the feedback of the friendly and critical audience of the Ben Rush Summer Medical Student Journal Club. David's talk was, "Pilot Survey of Perceptions of West African Healthcare Workers of Short-Term Surgical Missions," and he was able to field a number of questions from his engaged audience. Aastha's talk, "Antibiotic Resistance in Developing Countries: A Meta-Analysis of Surgical Site Infections," was extremely well-received in a community with growing concern about antibiotic resistance in LMIC settings.

The Global Surgery fellow, Vennila Padmanaban, shared two oral presentations concerning Bleeding Control "Train the Trainer" cascading educational effectsin six LMIC countries, as well as a study examining the one-month impact of teaching Bleeding Control to nurses in rural Sierra Leone. We also enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with collaborators. Dr. Padmanaban and Dr. Sifri were pleasantly surprised to receive awards, "Physician Abstract Award Winner for AIM 2019" and "Emerging Leader Award," respectively. Along with EM partner Dr. Harsh Sule, theyalso enjoyed the opportunity to discuss ongoing projects under the umbrella ofRutgers - New Jersey Medical School Global Health Institute alongside departments from other institutions around the country.


NJMS - Recover Shipment Arrives at Freetown, Sierra Leone

The photo depicting a woman opening white canvas bags was taken by Dr. Samba Jalloh in July 2019 as he distributes the most recent Rutgers NJMS - RECOVER shipment of surgical supplies including surgical gowns, drapes, blue towels, gloves, and disinfectant. Some of the supplies went to Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as well as the pediatric hospital on its compound. The supplies were well-received as they contained significant quantities of sterile surgical gloves, which the hospital had run out of several weeks prior. The remainder of the supplies will go to various hospitals in Freetown including the Police Hospital. We have debriefed with Dr. Jalloh and will continue to do so to ensure our shipments are tailored to the specific needs of the providers and patients in Freetown.





Enhanced Summer RECOVER Program - ESRP

On June 19, 2019, RECOVER program at NJMS welcomes undergraduates student who are interested in volunteering with the RECOVER initiative!





Peruvian trained instructors Dr. Lopez and Dr. Andrea train new Physicians and students on Bleeding Control Course

Dr. Lorena Lopez and Dr. Andrea are physicians that are local "Stop the Bleed" champions in Trujillo, Peru. On June 18, 2019 they taught a course for other physicians and medical students to teach basic bleeding control techniques. In May 2018, we taught Dr. Lopez the Bleeding Control course under the "train the trainer" methodology, whereby highly motivated local personnel with community involvement go on to provide targeted skills training that have the potential to save lives. We are also excited to see how many females are in this group and are now newly empowered by BCon training, as demonstrated by the certificates they are holding. We look forward to seeing how we can facilitate further skills training among our international partners and to see whether we can make any improvements to the course




Center for Global Surgery -- Ben Rush Summer Research Student Journal Club

On Friday, June 14, 2019, over lunch, we heard Andrew Abdelmalek MS1, and former US Army veteran, discuss a study out of JAMA Surgery, "Use of Combat Casualty Care Data to Assess the US Military Trauma System During the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts, 2001-2017." This study reviewed changes to trauma practices during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, which pertains to trauma surgical care in conflict zones, and demonstrated that increased use of tourniquets, blood transfusions, transport to surgery within 60 min lowered mortality by 44.2%. These findings have promising implications for Bleeding Control training in low-and-middleincome settings.This is our first medical student journal club of the summer and we hope it will kick off a successful and productive summer.



Nursing faculty and students participate in a Rutgers - NJMS Bleeding Control Training Course

On April 13, 2019 ten nursing faculty and students within Rutgers - Global Health participated in a Rutgers - NJMS Bleeding Control training course ahead of their departure toXiamen, China, where they will be participating in global health outreach and educational activities under the leadership of Dr. Sue Willard, associate dean of Global Health and a core faculty member at the Rutgers Global Health Institute. The team quickly mastered BCon tenets and hemorrhage control techniques. Five of the nursing professionals and faculty members received additional support towards becoming course instructors, and expressed interest in teaching BCon courses in China and in their future visits to Tanzania, East Africa. China is the world's most populous country, with road traffic accidents as a leading cause of death among young people. BCon techniques have the potential to empower bystanders to intervene in bleeding events to help avert lives lost from injury.


Addressing Barriers to Surgical Care in Rural Ghana

Funded in part by a seed grant from Rutgers Global Health Institute, institute core faculty members and New Jersey Medical School Associate Professors Ziad Sifri and Harsh Sule are developing a distance education program to bridge the 5,000 miles between New Jersey and Ghana. Click the link for more details:




Global Surgery Fellow Discusses Ethical Case Scenarios Impacting Global Surgery Trainees at CUGH

On March 8, 2019 Vennila Padmanaban, our current fellow, was a panelist at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health - Global Surgery Satellite Session at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. The session was entitled, "Impacting the Ecosystem of Global Surgery:Implementing Translatable Changes through Collaboration," and featured a panel of challenging ethical case scenarios.

Her clinical case was of a pediatric trauma requiring emergent operative intervention in rural Kabala, Sierra Leone. The panel provoked an engaging debate about challenges that providers face in the context of limited surgical capacity, concerns about standards of care, skills competencies with the absence of sub-specialists, and cultural sensitivity. The general consensus was that providers are obligated to weigh risks and benefits before electing to render care in austere settings, that they should be deeply mindful of the cultural environment, and that their foremosttenet should be "primum non nocere," or first, do no harm.



Dr. Samba Jalloh nominated by Rutgers NJMS Center for Global Surgery wins the Drs. Anvar and Pari Velji Young African Leader award

Dr. Samba Jalloh, of Freetown, Sierra Leone and Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School Global Surgery partner is the recipient of the 2019 Drs. Anvar and Pari Velji Young African Leader Award.

Dr. Samba Jalloh was awarded the Drs. Anvar and Pari Velji Young African Leader award on March 9th, 2019 in Chicago at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health for his service towards global health activities in Sierra Leone. The award includes a monetary stipend to support his travel to the United States and to apply towards ongoing global health activities in Kabala.

Dr. Samba Jalloh is a young West African physician who completed his medical training in Sierra Leone, a country emerged from an Ebola crisis that decimated its physician population. He was nominated by Rutgers NJMS Center for Global Surgery and is the awardee of the national 2019 Drs. Anvar and Pari Velji Young African Leader Award for global health excellence. He exemplified the criteria for award recipients as a devoted champion of improving healthcare outcomes in individuals in low-income settings through service, advocacy, education and research.

He holds a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery degree from the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, and a Bachelor of Science in pure and applied sciences/biological sciences from Fourah Bay College.

Dr. Jalloh has a mentee relationship with Dr. Sifri and Dr. Livingston, both trauma surgeons and faculty at Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School. He also has a close collaborative relationship with the surgical residents at Rutgers - NJMS. In particular, over the past several years, there has been continued knowledge exchange and longstanding communication over the RECOVER collaboration and in the capacity of field research in Freetown (urban capital of SL) and Kabala (rural, remote SL).

In addition, he has been an active participant in free surgical missions organized by the International Surgical Health Initiative and Saving Life Initiatives. Moreover, he is the founder and CEO of GS HEAD (Global Summit for Health Environment Agriculture and Development), which aims to boost socioeconomic status for young people; and he is a director/international liaison officer of a charity organization – PIN (Patient in Need).