BackTable / ENT / Podcast / Episode #76
Medical Missions in ENT: Spotlight on Project Ear
with Dr. Edward Dodson
In this episode of BackTable ENT, Dr. Varun Varadarajan interviews Dr. Edward Dodson, President of Project Ear and a neurotologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, about his humanitarian efforts in the Dominican Republic.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2022, November 8). Ep. 76 – Medical Missions in ENT: Spotlight on Project Ear [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Dr. Edward Dodson
Dr. Edward Dodson is a neurotologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the president of Project Ear.
Dr. Varun Varadarajan
Dr. Varun Varadarajan is a neurotologist and skull base surgeon practicing in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Dodson was first introduced to Project Ear when he joined his mentor and Project Ear founder, Dr. Paul Lambert, on a mission trip to Dominican Republic in 1995 to perform ear surgeries. Although they could only operate on 12 patients, seeing hundreds of patients waiting in line for medical care was eye-opening for him.
Dr. Dodson then shares about preparations needed for the Project Ear medical mission trips. He emphasizes the importance of their local neurotologist liaison, Dr. Roberto Batista, who helped Project Ear by performing preoperative and postoperative care for patients in exchange for equipment. In the first years of the organization, the doctors had to learn which supplies to bring and how to store them as well as how to organize staff and supplies in order to pass through customs. Dr. Dodson notes that he used to sterilize wasted equipment from American ORs during their first trips. Later, Project Ear was able to partner with Ohio State University and could give credit to residents who participated on the trips and negotiate time for employees to travel. Because the mission hospital they worked with allowed trainees, he was allowed to take senior level American residents to the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, Dr. Dodson also sought out to teach DR residents independently at another hospital and brought them new medical equipment. This initiative led DR residents to be granted permission to participate in Project Ear surgeries as well as rotate at Ohio State. Currently, multiple ENT subspecialties, besides neurotology, and audiology are now represented within Project Ear.
Next, Dr. Dodson speaks about Dominican Republic-related topics. He explains that the most common ear conditions he sees are chronic draining ears, perforation, cholesteatomas, congenital atresia, stapedectomy, and otosclerosis. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he and his Project Ear colleagues started teaching via Zoom through giving lectures and Grand Rounds talks to Dominican Republic residents. Dr. Dodson and Dr. Varadarajan also reflect on the open-mindedness and creativity required to operate in a resource-limited environment. Dr. Dodson also explains about how he navigated relationships with local ENT doctors in the area.
Finally, he shares advice and resources for doctors looking to start their own medical mission trips. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the time it takes to plan and lead a trip as well as determining that your medical services are actually wanted in the country.
Coalition for Global Hearing Health
AAO-HNSF Humanitarian Efforts List
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