Advocacy & Health Policy: If You Have, Give; If You Need, Seek

Dr. Chinula with mentor Dr. Diaz-Arrastia

There is a Malawian proverb that says, “If you have, give; if you need, seek.” ACOG’s most recent Global Health Scholar, Dr. Lameck Chinula, a junior faculty member from Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, is the personification of this philosophy.

When asked what he had gained from his four week Global Health Scholar experience, Dr. Chinula said that his U.S. experiences “…gave me a unique opportunity to reflect on my own personality, management style, and especially on my ability to communicate and advocate.”  Dr. Chinula plans to use this knowledge to shape his work at the hospital, his university responsibilities and his interactions with health officials in Llongwe. In addition to his duties as a physician and instructor, Dr. Chinula is the secretary for Malawi’s fledgling Ob-Gyn Association.

Dr. Chinula and GWH Staff at ACOG

The ACOG Global Health Scholars Program as envisioned by ACOG and our funder, Johnson & Johnson, is a bi-directional collaboration between an American university and a low-resource country ob-gyn department/residency program. The first exchange involved Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine and Kamuzu Central Hospital in Llongwe, Malawi. Dr. Bridget Kelly went to Malawi in January 2015 through this partnership. At the end of February 2015, Dr. Chinula traveled to the United States for one month to sharpen his leadership, advocacy, management, communication and team-building skills.

Dr. Chinula began his scholar experience at the ACOG Robert C. Cefalo National Leadership Institute in North Carolina. This intensive five-day program was crafted to give physicians instruction on advocacy, communication, media relations, teamwork, and executive leadership. 

Next on his itinerary was the annual meeting of the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology/Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (CREOG/APGO). This gathering of over 1,000 ob-gyn faculty from many settings, provided sessions on pre-service and in-service education, simulation as training methodology, and the overall structure of residency education.

Dr. Susan Raine from Baylor College of Medicine then accompanied Dr. Chinula at the Texas Children’s Hospital’s International Colloquium. This conference brings together, from across the world, individuals and programs that conduct HIV/AIDS research to share findings and best practices. 

Finally, towards the end of his itinerary, Dr. Chinula participated in in a one-week rotation with the head of cervical oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Chinula’s clinical observation period about cervical cancer will be one of the most relevant parts of his journey since Malawi has the highest rate of cervical cancer in Africa. 

Dr. Chinula with BCM mentors Drs. Raine and Sclafani

After this unique experience with several organizations and communities, Dr. Chinula,  junior faculty, researcher, gynecologic surgeon, obstetrician, secretary of the Malawi Ob-Gyn Association, husband and father, is well-positioned to share his experiences in leadership, as well as mentor other young ob-gyns and residents in the newly formed university residency training program, the young Ob-Gyn Association, as well as with faculty at Kamuzu Central Hospital. We look forward to an on-going relationship with Dr. Chinula and to hearing how he is sharing his knowledge with others, and working to help improve healthcare for the women of Malawi.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998