BIDMC's Visiting Scholar Program

Adwoa Afrakoma Agyei, MD, a physician from Ghana , traveled to BIDMC this summer as part of the Visiting Scholar Exchange Program. Created in 2001 in collaboration with the Foundation for African Relief (FAR), the program is part of the AIDS Collaborative Project, which fosters teamwork between health professionals in Africa, their BIDMC counterparts and the Harvard medical community in a strategic fight against Africa 's HIV/AIDS epidemic. Agyei has played an important role helping to roll out Ghana 's national HIV/AIDS treatment program. 

Joyce Sackey, MD, internal medicine/Health Care Associates, is the program director for the Visiting Scholar's program, as well as the co-founder of FAR. She explained how the program has expanded to incorporate more medical disciplines in relation to treating HIV. After attending Harvard's continuing medical education (CME) HIV update course, Agyei spent time observing in the divisions of general medicine at HCA, and infectious diseases, gastroenterology, neurology, and dermatology at BIDMC. She also received hands-on training at the newly opened Simulation and Skills Center. 

At the culmination of her program, Agyei presented her project, “Evaluation of Alternative Methods of Cervical Cancer Screening Among People with HIV in Resource-Poor Setting” to the audience at the HCA HIV conference. “Women in the United States receive Pap tests every year to screen for cervical cancer. In Ghana , women are not tested at all, and we have seen higher rates of cancer in those with HIV,” explained Agyei. Upon her return, Agyei will work with the Ghana AIDS Commission and the government, which oversees the healthcare system, to develop a cost-effective way to screen for cervical cancer among this population. 

Agyei completed her clinical observation and research project with the help of BIDMC preceptors: Igor Koralnik, MD, HIV neurology; Ram Chuttani, MD, chief of interventional gastroenterology and director of endoscopy; Stanley Rosenberg, MD, g astroenterology; Jacqueline Wolf, MD, gastroenterology; Peter Lio, MD, dermatology; Leonor Fernandez, MD, internal medicine; Gila Kriegel, MD, internal medicine; John Doweiko, MD, hematology/oncology; Wendy Stead, MD, infectious disease/internal medicine; Camila Graham, MD, infectious disease; Howard Libman, MD, internal medicine, director of HIV service at HCA; and Joyce Sackey, MD, internal medicine.