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YNHH and Yale School of Medicine Help Ukrainian Physicians Care for People in Crisis

ukrainian physicians
Six physicians from Ukraine: Artem Chernov, MD, PhD, ob/gyn; Daria Bazylenko, MD, anesthesiology and intensive care; Yevheniia Polyakova, MD, ob/gyn; Alla Vash-Margita, Yale School of Medicine (YSM); Keith Churchwell, MD, YNHH; Thomas Balcezak, MD, chief clinical officer, Yale New Haven Health; Andrey Zinchuk, MD, YSM; Anna Masoodi, MD, anesthesiology and intensive care; Vitalii Ganiuk, MD, anesthesiology and intensive care; and Oleksii Boduliev, MD, anesthesiology and intensive care.

During surgeries, Anna Masoodi, MD, and her colleagues hear rockets outside their hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine, and wonder if they’ll be hit.

Daria Bazylenko, MD, and her fellow physicians at a Dnipro hospital remove foreign objects from the hearts and lungs of patients injured by landmines. 

Oleksii Boduliev, MD, formerly an assistant professor at a Ukraine medical school, now treats patients with blast wounds and other severe trauma at a Kharkiv military hospital less than five miles from the front lines of fighting between Ukranian and Russian soldiers. 

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of pain, with our patients and in our hearts,” he said at an April 20 press conference at Yale New Haven Hospital.

These physicians and three others from Ukraine – Artem Chernov, MD, PhD, Vitalii Ganiuk, MD, and Yevheniia Polyakova, MD – shared their experiences providing care during the Russia-Ukraine war.

Their April 1 - May 1 visit was part of the first Scholars at Risk – Ukraine program at YNHH, Yale School of Medicine (YSM) and Yale School of Public Health. The intensive program aims to upgrade the skills physicians need to care for people during the current crisis. The six physicians who spent time at YNHH were chosen from more than 200 program applicants. They focused on critical care, women’s and infants’ health and mental health, studying with and observing YNHH and YSM physicians throughout the hospital.

The Ukrainian physicians cited pain control, maternal-fetal medicine and infection control as some of the most valuable topics they studied here. They also learned more about kidney transplantation, since the war has made it extremely difficult to get supplies for dialysis. 

All of the Ukrainian physicians expressed their gratitude for the YNHH physicians and staff, who were eager to help. 

“You have done great work to support Ukrainian doctors, and through Ukrainian doctors, Ukrainian soldiers,” Dr. Chernov said.

YSM’s Alla Vash-Margita, associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and chief, Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, noted that “learning goes both ways.”

She and Andrey Zinchuk, MD, YSM assistant professor of Medicine (Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine), and director, Advanced Apnea Management Program, helped bring the Ukrainian physicians to YNHH, with assistance from the Yale MacMillan Center and other organizations. Dr. Vash-Margita and Dr. Zinchuk are originally from Ukraine and helped found Doctors United for Ukraine, along with YSM’s Irina Esterlis, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, and director, Molecular Imaging Program, NCPTSD, VA Connecticut Healthcare System.

In his remarks at the press conference, Keith Churchwell, MD, YNHH president, said that a large part of YNHH’s mission as the teaching hospital for YSM is to provide a training ground for the best and brightest minds to bring medical excellence and care to those who need it.

“That commitment to teaching the best and sharing our expertise so that others may benefit may never have more compelling application than in the faces of our visiting doctors from Ukraine,” he said.

Dr. Boduliev said he plans to share what he’s learned about managing acute and chronic pain, along with other knowledge, with his fellow physicians and medical students in Ukraine. 

“I appreciate the help from the medical teams here,” he said. “I appreciate all Americans who are taking part in our war.”