Through the ARCF International Fellowship Program, non U.S. health care professionals visit the U.S. to observe respiratory care. We recently connected with ARCF Fellow Alfred Aidoo from Ghana, one of this year’s Fellows, to learn about his visit and participation in the program.
Aidoo traveled to Kansas City, KS, Ogden, UT, and Indianapolis, IN to visit different hospitals, universities and the AARC Congress 2017 as part of the Fellowship.
Aidoo’s first host city was Kansas City, Kansas where he had the chance to reunite with Dr. Karen Schell, DHSc, RRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT. Aidoo had met Schell previously when she visited Ghana.
“My visit at Kansas University Medical Center was very thrilling and informative,” Aidoo said. He toured simulation centers and had the chance to meet with staff members and students.
For Aidoo, one memorable stop along his Kansas City tour was a visit to Via Christi Hospital, where he met with RTs involved in transitional and community care of patients.
“It was very important for me to understand this concept and how this helped to reduce acute exacerbation of respiratory illness and ease the burden on the hospital,” Aidoo said. “I felt this was a great thing to adopt once we had our practice commencing in my hospital.”
“Our visit with Dr. Alfred Aidoo from Kumasi Ghana at KUMC in Kansas was wonderful,” said Schell. “He spent the week here in Kansas learning about our campus, our school, and our faculty.”
Schell also took Aidoo out to her family farm in northeast Kansas where, according to Schell, “he had the opportunity to see how farming was done in Kansas.” Aidoo also attended a KC Royals baseball game and had a road trip to Wichita to visit an RT who manages an outpatient transitional care team.
Schell organized a special surprise for Aidoo by connecting him with Katie Stakolich, whose mother was taken care of by Aidoo until she passed away in Ghana after a tragic car accident.
“The events surrounding her care at the hospital and my involvement, especially as Katie couldn’t make it to Ghana to be with her mother, drew us together in the most amazing way and it meant everything for us to meet in person,” Aidoo said. “This was the first time I shed tears in a long while. I will never forget this.”
Learn More About This Surprise Visit
Next on Aidoo’s travel destination stops was Ogden, UT where he reunited with Lisa Trujillo, DHSc, RRT. Trujillo had joined Schell in their earlier visit to Ghana where they first met Aidoo.
In Utah, Aidoo met with Chuck Wight, the president of Weber State Univeristy.
“We had met in Ghana and it was so good to see him again and to discuss collaborative programs to spur us on to establish respiratory therapy as a profession in my city,” Aidoo said.
Wight also invited Aidoo to join him on a flight in his Cessna, which Aidoo found to be a “thrilling experience.”
“For the first time I had the experience of being in a cockpit,” Aidoo said. “Yes it wasn’t a C -130 or Jumbo Jet cockpit, but a cockpit nonetheless. It was here I had my first opportunity to pilot a plane under the close watch of Pres Chuck. I nearly headed the plane off to Ghana.”
After his flight experience, Aidoo jokingly told Trujillo that he would “recommend piloting as one of the courses to take in respiratory therapy.”
Aidoo then visited the University of Utah Hospital.
“It was here I understood well how the respiratory therapist fits into the work relay in the hospital,” Aidoo said.
He continued to explain that this understanding was important to him because it directly relates to questions some of his medical colleagues have had regarding where exactly the respiratory therapist fits within the scheme of work at the hospital.
“Words fail me to express how incredibly my time here was spent,” Aidoo said. “Mostly I was silent and taking all the excitement in as though I were receiving urgent blood transfusion to infuse much needed energy to continue my efforts to help establish respiratory therapy in my city.”
According to Aidoo, this is where he was “privileged to meet the greats in the profession, all in one place.”
He enjoyed meeting colleagues and building friendships around the world. AARC Congress and the ARCF Fellowship program inspires and encourages Aidoo to do more to help the profession in Ghana.
Back in Ghana
“My visit was greatly impactful and emboldened me to fight even harder to help establish the RT as a profession in Ghana,” Aidoo said.
He’s already met with colleagues to spread the word on the need for RT. In fact, Aidoo met with the CEO of his hospital who was “welcoming and pledged his support for establishment of RT.”
Aidoo is grateful to everyone who helped make this a memorable experience for him. From hosting to offering support and guidance, many people helped make this program possible for Aidoo.
Furthering respiratory care
The ARCF is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting respiratory health through the support of research, education, and patient-focused philanthropic activities in respiratory care. In addition to the International Fellowship Program, the ARCF offers a variety of grants and awards to assist individuals in these endeavors. Awards and grants include: Undergraduate Student Awards, Postgraduate Student Awards, Research Fellowships / Abstract Awards, Achievement Awards, Literary Awards, and Research Grants. In fact, in 2017, 17 awards were presented at the AARC Congress.
If you or someone you know is interested in the International Fellowship Program, visit the program website to learn more. Fellows help their country learn and advance in respiratory care.
Interested in applying for an award? Learn more at the ARCF awards page.
These programs, awards and grants are only possible through contributions and donations.
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