Global Impact

Training A Nation

“There’s an African saying: ‘When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.’”

Dr. Anthony Charles, an associate professor of surgery with the UNC School of Medicine, is photographed on May 9, 2017, in Chapel Hill. He is also an adjunct associate professor of Public Health in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Charles leads the Malawian Surgical Initiative, a partnership between the UNC Department of Surgery, Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, and the Malawi College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

“There’s an African saying: ‘When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.’”

“There’s an African saying: ‘When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,’ and so my job has always been to make sure that the program doesn’t suffer. I always have to be thinking ahead.”

By formal training, Anthony Charles ’09 (M.P.H.) is a trauma surgeon. By experience, he’s a diplomat, convincing Malawian government officials of the need for experienced surgeons. For the past eight years, Charles has built the Malawian Surgical Initiative—a partnership between the UNC Department of Surgery, Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi and the Malawi College of Medicine—which trains Malawian surgeons to care for the country’s 15 million people. In December 2015, six surgeons graduated from the five-year program’s first class, bringing the total number of surgeons in Malawi to 20.

Read the complete Carolina Story from UNC Health Care…Opens in new window

This is story number 17 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

It costs $15,000 per year to train a surgeon through the Malawian Surgical Initiative. Funded through public, private and corporate philanthropy, the Initiative covers half of the expenses for students, including a stipend, books and other learning materials, and funding for travel to academic conferences. The rest is covered by the Malawian government.

 

UNC Medicine Funding Priorities

Explore More Stories

Carolina 225

Educating the Next Generation of Doctors

Carolina is a leader in medical education, and with a new building this standard will continue to flourish.

Health

Five Decades in the Air

A group of pilots helps UNC medical experts meet with patients anywhere in the state.

Health

Building community health with PAWS

Carolina puts the adage "a dog is a man's best friend" into practice.

Health

Taking the long road

"I loved the idea of discovering something that no one had ever seen before."

Health

The Heart Of A Researcher

Growing up on a farm, Wanda O’Neal never dreamed she’d be a scientist.

Community

A commitment to the health of North Carolina

There is nothing more important for the citizens of North Carolina...