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

Student Support

Inspired by Service

“I went, and it really just changed my world.”

Military

A Duty to Make a Difference

Carolina focuses on serving those who served in several ways that include offering veterans educational opportunities and scholarships to attend Carolina. 

Research

Combating Concussions

There are a thousand ways service members can receive mild traumatic brain injuries during training and active duty. Ten years ago, basic concussion testing protocols didn’t account for the intense activities required of this population. UNC researcher Karen McCulloch has worked to change that

Donor

Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative: Every Dollar Matters

“This program literally saved [my daughter’s] life.”

Health

Going Where The Need Is Greatest

“I know that I want to do family medicine, and I know that I want to do rural. Everything I need is up here.”

Global Impact

Making Childbirth Safer for Mothers Worldwide

“In many parts of the world, the days surrounding childbirth are the riskiest period a mother and her newborn will ever face.”