News that Victoria Mui, M.D., was recently selected to receive a 2013 Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Postgraduate Award was a proud moment for the a PGY3 resident in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. But the announcement might be even better news for expectant mothers in rural Guatemala. For Mui, having her application approved by the AΩA means the opportunity to pursue a project that she is extremely passionate about. “I’m incredibility grateful for the chance to carry out my research initiatives.”
Her project is titled “Implementation of a Teaching Program for Midwives in Rural Guatemala and Its Impact on Postgraduate Global Health Education,” and focuses on identifying Parteras, Spanish for untrained birth attendants or midwives, in the Guatemala town of Santiago Atitlan. Mui, who graduated from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Phiadlephia, Pa., is creating a formal training program that addresses three specific obstetrical emergencies: pre-eclampsia, infection, and postpartum hemorrhage.
Postgraduate awards support AΩA residents or fellows from programs or institutions with an active AΩA chapter to pursue a project that reflects one of the organization’s five mission statement component’s, including: research, service, teaching and education, leadership, and humanism and professionalism. Mui, whose project will focus on service, is one of nine applicants who received this honor and $2,000 to support their work.
In collaboration with the community, Mui will also create what she refers to as a “Midwive’s Toolkit,” which includes the necessary medications and tools to assist in the management of home birth emergencies. Lastly, the implementation of her project will be incorporated into the residency training program as a global health elective for her colleagues, who will continue this project in the coming years.
In the coming months, with the support of Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., Mui will travel to Santiago Atitlan, a little town in south-central Guatemala wedged between two volcanos along the bay of Lago Atitlan. There she will volunteer at El Hospitalito Atitlan for three weeks. “I will be working on call in a hospital-based clinic, covering labor and delivery,” Mui explained. During this time, Mui will be working on her AΩA project. “After I leave, two other GW PGY3 OB/GYN residents will take over and continue the project in the consecutive months,” she added.
As for the future, Mui plans to pursue a career in global health, working with organizations such as Medicin Sans Frontieres, an international medical and humanitarian aid organization, after she completes her residency. “I think this opportunity will be a great start to a lifetime of doing something I love,” she added. Mui’s final report on her project is due next fall.