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This doctor is changing healthcare on the other side of the world

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Sometimes you need to challenge the norm to affect real change. Just ask Dr. Dilan Ellegala, MD, the founding surgeon of Sonospine—a company that gives patients an ultrasonic option to avoid spinal fusion. While he was on sabbatical in a remote village in Tanzania, he discovered a way to address an oft-overlooked health crisis—the global shortage of surgeons.

Dr. Ellegala, a Harvard trained gifted neurosurgeon, went to Tanzania after finishing his training, to clear his mind and take a break. What he encountered was a country with only three neurosurgeons and 43 million people. Clearly more people needed care than were getting it, and Dr. Ellegala had an idea to fix that.

He determined he needed to share his expertise with the local community in a way that would have a lasting effect even after he returned to the United States. And so, he taught a non MD, an Assistant Medical Officer, Emmanuel Mayegga, to perform brain and spine surgery. Mayegga then taught another local clinician these skills, who in turn taught a third.

Many of today’s medical missions focus only on treating those in need of care instead Dr. Ellegala believes in building long-term partnerships with countries that will focus on training new surgeons and skilled health care officials, for a wider and more long-lasting impact.

As a young neurosurgeon, Dilan discovered a revolutionary way to make a difference in global health. He has continued to be a pioneer in the field through his work treating acute and chronic back pain. He desired to offer a better, safer, and more effective alternative to invasive spinal fusion surgery, and so developed Sonospine.

Sonospine uses ultrasound technology for precise nerve decompression, achieving improved resolution of pain, faster recovery, and fewer complications than more invasive spinal fusion surgeries.

To read more about this transformative work, check out his new biography, A Surgeon in the Village, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Tony Bartelme.

Don't miss Dr. Ellegala's interview with BBC on December 25, 2018 at 8 a.m. PST and 10 a.m PST. Listen online by clicking here.

To learn more about Sonospine, visit their website.

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