Cambodia 2017

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Neurology Outreach Program Cambodia

I’ve had the extremely fortunate experience of traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia every summer for the past 3 years (2015-2017) to help build a postgraduate neurology residency training program at the University of Health Sciences in Cambodia. While there are currently no dedicated neurology residents in Cambodia, we have been working with neurosurgical, internal medicine, and psychiatry residents these past 3 summers with didactics, bedside teaching, and have given resources/tools to help with neurological care.

Dr. Soma Sahai and Dr. Simon Liu, Teaching the neurological examination…without electricity… during one of the city’s rolling brownouts.

This year, we had the privilege of working with pediatric residents since we brought along pediatric neurologist to teach dedicated residents core didactics in pediatric neurology, incorporated Facebook as a learning platform, and conducted pre and post assessments to measure the impact of our program in the participant’s’ clinical knowledge and confidence.

We also had the honor of having the Director of Neurocritical Care at LAC+USC teach a brief introduction to Emergency Neurological Life Support. As the demand for enhanced neurocritical care increases with increased incidence of TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Lessons Learned:

Dr. Brian Wong, teaching residents the lumbar puncture for pediatric patients.

Students here are hungry to learn. Despite the fact that they have to pay for residency training and find means of supporting themselves outside their training. They show up each day wanting to incorporate what they have learned/clarified into their clinical practices. The Facebook group has grown to more than 100 members and the SIGN Cambodia Page has grown to 300+ likes. The challenges over the next year will include the amount residents may retain, thus we wanted to incorporate regular contact via medium which is widely used by the residents there: Facebook.

The Future:


My attending that I work with will most likely be returning next year with other neurologists to Cambodia to build on pediatric neurology, neurocritical care, vascular neurology, and EMG/EEG use in June 2018.

As for me, I am not so sure of what I’ll be doing “my last summer” of medical school. I am an open book when it comes to what specialty I’ll choose, so depending on what I gravitate toward may influence if I want to do research in that chosen field next summer. But then again, it’s really hard to say no to help make an impact in a place you call a second home.

Dear Cambodia:

Thank you USC Neurology for allowing me to be part of this team.

Thank you UHS Faculty and Staff for accommodating our needs to facilitate this program.

Thank you Residents for being hungry to learn and make an impact in your patients’ lives.

Thank you my cousins for allowing me to have a room in your home, and be just like another member of your household.

Thank you Cambodia, for being so resilient, so strong, and so resourceful despite the fact there is so little to work with on a day to day basis. I can’t imagine the tenacity it takes to thrive in Cambodia. There is much hope for today and the future.


Love always,


I’m pretty sure I ate 3-4 pieces per day X 5 days per week X 6 weeks of Cambodia…so 90-120 pieces thus far. #Carbs #Carbodia #GrandUncleDurian

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