The Center for Global Health Equity (CGHE) welcomed its first international exchange students since the 2020 pandemic halted global health programs worldwide. David Muhunzi and Stella Kaihula arrived in Hanover last August as part of the DarDar bilateral exchange program between Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Dartmouth College. The partnership, established in 2001, started as a TB and HIV research collaboration that expanded into bilateral medical exchanges, training and capacity building, and healthcare delivery for students and faculty. MUHAS medical students travel to Hanover to engage in patient care at Dartmouth-
Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), and vice versa, Geisel medical students travel to Dar es Salaam to work in the outpatient clinics and inpatient wards at Muhimbili National Hospital, participating in patient care and learning about healthcare delivery. The CGHE Director, Dr. Lisa V. Adams MED'90, who oversees DarDar and travels each year to MUHAS as Principal Investigator (PI) of an NIH grant-funded HIV research training program was delighted to welcome the Tanzanian medical students to Dartmouth after the pandemic interrupted global travel. "I recognize how important reciprocity is to our global health educational mission - hosting David and Stella at Dartmouth for clinical training marked a critical juncture in our return to post-COVID-19 programming," says Dr. Adams.
Stella and David spent six weeks at DHMC, completing clinical elective rotations in the Infectious Diseases and Emergency Medicine departments. Their days were spent alongside Geisel medical students, rounding with clinical staff, and learning about the parallels and differences between American and Tanzanian healthcare systems. David, a self-described digital health enthusiast committed to improving healthcare in resource-limited settings, called the experience transformative. In his narrative for Medium, a digital publishing platform for professionals and novices alike, David extensively details his time at DHMC in "The Marvels Diary: A Tanzanian Medical Odyssey at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center." He shares his positive impressions of the DHMC electronic health records management system, integrated with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered transcription devices to streamline documentation. Stella, who is highly interested in
emergency medicine, surgery, and obstetrics & gynecology, was thrilled to participate in the clinical rotations, "I was able to observe and work with amazing doctors providing compassionate patient care - the various patient cases we encountered challenged me to apply and expand my knowledge, fostering clinical and interpersonal skills," says Stella. In his digital narrative, David goes on to highlight some of the most notable conditions he and Stella encountered, like infective endocarditis from injection drug use, Lyme disease, and prosthetic joint infections - a deviation from conditions like HIV, bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, and malaria they encounter at Muhimbili National Hospital.
After traveling back to Tanzania, the students graduated from MUHAS this past December, and now, as graduate medical doctors, they are preparing and awaiting their pre-internship examination with the prospect of starting their yearlong medical internship in May, a requirement they must complete before being eligible to practice medicine in Tanzania. In the interim, David has assumed the role of Project Officer at the Tanzania Startup Association – a membership-based association that advocates for a conducive environment for startups in the country. He collaborates with hubs and other innovation support organizations to support tech startups in areas of business development and regulatory compliance. David is also the team lead of Saratani AI, a health tech startup that uses AI to digitize cancer screening and diagnostics in resource-limited settings. Specifically, he leads the team in developing a decision-support AI algorithm for Pap smear image analysis to complement the shortage of cytopathologists he describes in the country. Stella is a research assistant at Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute in Muhimbili while she awaits the internship. The Center for Global Health Equity looks forward to following Stella and David's careers and hearing about their future medical endeavors and vital contributions to humanity.
"We are particularly grateful to our extended Dartmouth family of colleagues and students who went out of their way to make David and Stella feel at home in Hanover," expresses Dr. Adams.