The Global Health Fellowship offers extended training for up to 2 years to gain specific experience in five global health core competencies. These competencies include health disparities, maternal morbidity and mortality in resource-poor settings, surgery in resource-poor settings, public health, and HIV/AIDS. The program works closely with the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health which strives to immerse trainees in an intensive field experience.

Global Health Obstetrics and Gynecology Fellowship

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A Personal Perspective by David Goodman, MD (Global Women's Health Fellow '17)


Why did you decide to come to Duke for your Global Health Fellowship

Coming to Duke for the Global Women’s Health Fellowship as part of the Global Health Pathway with the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health was precisely the right step for me and my family after residency. I chose to come to Duke because they provided us with both flexibility and support. I wanted to explore how I could use the unique skill of research to bless people living in some of the world’s most difficult circumstances.

What did you enjoy most about your Fellowship at Duke?

My favorite part of my Fellowship experience was teaching the residents in Tanzania. I was sent there to be a researcher, but I became an integral part of the department attending rounds, giving lectures, and providing clinical instruction. I was able to relate deeply with the residents and hopefully influence their lives and practice for the better.

Is there a moment in your Fellowship that was more difficult than you anticipated?

I underestimated how awkward it was going to be to carry out my fetal monitoring project. Imagine yourself as a male in a room of women with no pain control laboring alone, crying out in a different language and crying from a life of experiences that you don’t really understand. I realized quickly that my goal was not to finish this research project. It was to love these women and to be a good doctor for them. I learned how to say what I needed for my part of the research project in Swahili. I would go and find the moms after their delivery and celebrate their baby with them in Swahili and thank them for being part of my project. It taught me a lot about keeping people, not productivity, at the center of our research.

How did this life-changing experience impact you?

It is interesting, when we were leaving we felt like our previous 10 years of medical training and residency had prepared us for the fellowship, but upon returning we can see that the fellowship prepared us for the next 10 years. It has affected the job that I chose in the United States. It has taught me a lot about what I need to be happy in life. Our time in Tanzania has changed everything from the food we eat to how we spend our money.

Who is this “we” that you keep referring to?

You may have noticed that I use the pronoun “we” a lot. That is because my wife and I are a team. I didn’t do medical school, residency, fellowship, etc.—“we” did. She is as much a part of this as I am. She is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and she excelled in Tanzania. She was the primary instructor for two courses in the nursing school and rounded on a regular basis with the Pediatrics residents. We have a son, Deacon, that loved living in Tanzania. Global Health for us is as much about serving and growing as a family as it is reaching out and helping other people.

How did you first become interested in Ob/Gyn?

I never thought I would be an Ob/Gyn. I had spent time in Ghana as a medical student and knew that I wanted to be a surgeon, but didn’t know what type. When I was third year student on my OB rotation we did two emergency c-sections in rapid sequence, and I was hooked. Around the same time I attended a lecture where a professor taught about the suffering of women around the world, and I began to see clearly how a future as a women’s health provider could be used to help alleviate that suffering

Why is global health so important to you?

From an early age, my faith has motivated me to love people in need. Engaging globally is important to me, honestly because it breaks my heart. I believe wholeheartedly that the world was not meant to be full of such suffering. As I think about my wife and her delivery in a well-resourced hospital, and compare it to the reality that the majority of women face around the world I can’t ignore that disparity. When I hold my son and see myself in his eyes, I am motivated to continue improve the safety of labor for women and babies so that other moms and dads can have that same opportunity.

What passions or hobbies do you have?

The first things that come to mind are Clemson football and tennis. I was able to watch Clemson games in Tanzania, usually at 4 AM on Sunday mornings using a spotty internet connection. There is a fun tennis community in Moshi, Tanzania thanks to a tennis court at the school nearby. I climbed Kilimanjaro while I was in Tanzania and loved getting to visit the safari parks.

Where will you be next year?

I will be working at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, FL. We will be starting a global health track for their residents that will include a four-year mentored research opportunity supported by monthly didactics and a yearly 6-week rotation in an academic center in a low-resource country with whom we have a long-term educational partnership. The goal is build a career educating and supporting international Ob/Gyns to improve health outcomes in their communities.