International physicians learning  at Wolfson Children’s Hospital

Neurosurgeons from Indonesia, China, Brazil and Italy take part.

  • By
  • | 5:10 a.m. October 16, 2019
  • News
  • Share

Dr. Philipp Aldana, founder of the Jacksonville-based Neurosurgery Outreach Foundation, is using his organization and the medical expertise at Wolfson Children’s Hospital on the Downtown Southbank to increase accessibility to pediatric neurosurgery worldwide. 

Last year, Dr. Astri Avianti, who received a grant from Aldana’s organization in 2012 to attend a conference in Singapore, contacted Aldana to see if she could observe pediatric neurosurgery procedures at Wolfson in Jacksonville. 

Aldana helped her secure a grant through the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and in August she began her month at Wolfson, which is part of the Baptist Health system.

She observed procedures, specifically neuroendoscopy, craniofacial surgery, that are not typically used in Indonesia. She also learned techniques in treating hydrocephalus, brain tumors and strokes. 

Aldana said starting next year his foundation would provide grants for two international neurosurgeons annually to study at Wolfson to further address the lack of access to specialized pediatric surgery in developing countries.

“This is a huge problem throughout the world, and the work that our foundation is doing and that Wolfson is doing to educate surgeons from other countries helps in a small way to meet that need,” said Aldana, who is co-medical director of the Stys Neuroscience Institute at Wolfson and a neurosurgeon at UF Health Jacksonville. 

Avianti isn’t the only international neurosurgeon at Baptist this year. Seven neurosurgeons from China, Brazil and Italy are or have been at the hospital since March. The last doctor in that group will wrap up in January.

Those seven came to Wolfson through grants from their hospitals or paid their own way and are receiving similar training to Avianti’s.

“There’s an exchange of ideas with regard to the way diseases are managed in other countries,” Aldana said. “Also it helps with making other countries aware of the care that’s available for kids with neurosurgery problems at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.”