The new (and first ever in the country) EM residency program at the Guatemalan Institute of Social Security (IGSS) is affiliated with San Carlos University, the only public medical school in Guatemala. Primarily based in the Juan José Arévalo (JJA) hospital in Guatemala City, the program started in January 2019 with a full class of 4 residents, aiming to expand to 8 per year in 2020 and 12 per year in 2021. The program is 4 years in duration, including 1 year of “Supervised Professional Practice” in a regional hospital.
The program is led by Dr. Cinthia Juárez, a pediatric intensivist with a keen interest in emergency medicine and a passion for teaching. Assistant directors include Dr. Talé (surgeon), Dr. Alvarado (OB-GYN), and Dr. Ávila (medical intensivist). Dr. Anthony J. Dean (University of Pennsylvania) and Dr. Daniel Ridelman (Wayne State University) have been involved in the design, approval, and execution of the program, supported by a Fulbright grant that allowed Dr. Dean to live in Guatemala for an entire year in 2017. Although not without some growing pains, the program has succeded in recruiting a strong first class of residents (Drs. Arriaza, Jimenez, Lopez, and Martínez), brave pioneers who are quickly picking up the gist of the EM specialty amidst great adversity. Recent news includes a partnership with the new UCLA/EM:RAP Innovation+Access in Medical Education fellowship program, led by Drs. Sara Crager and Ryan Ernst, and recent grants to attend the Conceptos conference in Costa Rica (thanks to EM:RAP) and to participate in an online EM course provided by Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica.
Although the JJA hospital constantly hosts rotating medical students and residents, the EM program will be the first to be primarily based there. The program has compensated for the relative lack of trauma cases at this site by arranging an external rotation at the IGSS trauma hospital, a national reference center where residents will partake in patient care in the ED, ICU, and burn unit.
Both clinical and educational resources are extremely limited in Guatemala. Access to Rosh Review will positively impact resident education, both as a study material and as a question bank.