Guyanese Doctors are Training in New York

Guyanese doctors on diagnostic training in Radiology in New York. From left: Dr. Richie Vyphuis, Dr. Vijai Persaud, Dr. Dolwin Rich, and Dr. Joel Joseph. Sitting are Nurse Subadra Singh from Northwell-LIJ with Dr. Angelita Sue.

The Power of an Idea!


It started innocently. Subadra Singh, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Hospital, was at a Conference in Washington D.C in March 2017. Subadra, a Guyanese, was interested in Radiology and one of the booths displayed literature on Radiology, Ultrasound and CT scans.

The literature spoke about the work of RAD-AID an organization that promotes the study and use of radiology in developing countries. What caught Subadra’s eyes was the word ‘Guyana’ in the literature. It stated that Guyana is one of the countries that could benefit from RAD-AID’s intervention.

The RAD-AID Guyana program began in 2013 in partnership with the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization. In 2016 RAD-AID donated two CT Scanners to hospitals in Bartica and New Amsterdam with support from the Philips Foundation. Another CT Scanner is earmarked for Georgetown Hospital.

Subadra left the Conference with one objective in mind: she was determined to help to get Guyanese doctors trained in Radiology and Ultrasound in the United States. Patricia Ducharme was the Project Manager for RAD-AID nursing and Subadra entered into correspondence with her to assist in the process.

Radiographers are scarce in Guyana and most of them are from abroad. It would be wonderful then if Guyanese could be trained to use CT Scanners and use their knowledge and skills in Guyana.

Dean Cummings from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Guyana was active in facilitating the mission of RAD-AID in Guyana. Meanwhile, Subadra contacted Dr. Dhanpaul Narine in New York and a meeting was arranged with Professor Ivelaw Griffith, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana. This meeting took place in September 2017 in New York.

Professor Griffith welcomed the idea of Guyanese being trained in New York and instructed his team to hasten the process. History was made on November 1, 2017 when five doctors from Guyana landed in New York and were assigned at the Northwell-LIJ Health systems. Subadra was there to receive them and to make sure that they were comfortable. Last Sunday, she took them to the Shri Trimurti Bhavan where they were received with loud applause. Here is a brief profile of the five doctors in training:

Dr. Richie Vyphuis studied at Dora Secondary School where he came under the influence of his headmaster Ashley Woolford. It was Mr. Woolford that advised the young Richie to pursue studies in science. He attended the Government Technical Institute and in 2006 Richie went to Cuba to study medicine.
Richie graduated with an MD in 2014 and was posted to Linden Hospital.

The Diagnostic Radiology Program in New York will provide him with hands-on skills that he hopes to use in Guyana. Dr. Joel Joseph is from North Riumveldt in Georgetown, Guyana. He attended Queens College in 2007 and became interested in science. But he says the best science is that of helping people.

Joel enrolled at the University of Guyana in 2008 and pursued his degree in Medicine. He subsequently graduated with his MD degree. He wants to make an impact and he feels that the Diagnostic Radiology program is a big boost for Guyana. Joel says that Northwell-LIJ has been very good to the doctors from Guyana.

Dr. Angelita Sue is originally from Bent Street in Georgetown. She attended St. Roses’ High School where she was attracted to the science stream. After her CXC exams she decided to pursue medical studies. She went to Cuba in 2009 and after a vigorous course in Spanish she was ready for her medical studies. She got married in 2010 to Rickford Sue and the couple has a child.

Vishnu Rampersaud, left, Director of Nursing at Jamaica Hospital, and Nurse Etwaroo, extreme right, pose with the doctors at the Shri Trimurti Bhavan.

Angelita comes from a medical family. Her dad is Dr. Youdha Narine who studied at the University of Guyana. Her mom Shamwatie is a nurse at Georgetown Hospital. Angelita was always interested in radiology. She spent a year in the Radiology Department at Georgetown hospital where she worked with two Cuban doctors. Angelita says, ‘it’s sad we don’t have a Guyanese Radiologist. We have to depend on foreign doctors. The training by RAD-AID will prove invaluable.’

Dr. Vijai Persaud is from Affiance on the Essequibo Coast. He attended President’s College and did well enough to win a scholarship to study medicine in Cuba. Vijai’s mom is Indroutie Persaud and his dad is Dhrue. He left in 2006 for Pinar Del Rio in Cuba and in 2010 he went to Havana. Vijai graduated with his MD in 2013 and was posted at Linden after which he was sent to Kamarang Hospital.
Vijai has toured the Mazaruni area and has combined medicine with outreach to the children. He is looking forward to the radiology training in New York. Dr. Dolwin Ritch is from New Amsterdam. His mom is Ruth and his dad is Lionel Howell. Dolwin went to Rose Hall Primary and Bishop’s High School and President’s College. He was in the science stream in all his classes.

Dolwin went to Cuba in 2002 and studied in Santiago. He graduated with his MD and he also has a Diploma in Ultrasound Diagnosis. He is the Ultrasound doctor at New Amsterdam Hospital. Dolwin finds the course in New York to be most valuable. One of the CT machines is at New Amsterdam Hospital which is a boon to that community.

The team of doctors from Guyana is grateful to RAD-AID and particularly Ms. Patricia Ducharme for her organizational skills. Thanks are also expressed to the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Guyana and Subadra Singh. The doctors say that Subadra has been fussing over them like Mother Hen to make sure that they are comfortable. This is the diaspora in action!

At the end of the six months training in New York the doctors will return to Guyana. They will share their knowledge with the community and what is amazing is that another six doctors will take their place for training in New York. In this way more Guyanese will be trained in Radiology and more people will be served. This is the power of knowledge and the benefits of international cooperation and teamwork.