Profile Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, Department of
Dr. Alagappan is a graduate of Einstein ('82) and an Emergency Medicine physician at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He is currently the program Director of the International Program at North Shore-LIJ. Over the past decade Dr. Alagappan has placed over 150 residents and medical students on EM electives in several Emergency Departments throughout India. Dr. Alagappan has chaired the international committees of the American Academy of EM, the Society of Academic EM and is currently the chair of the International Section of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Through these organizations Dr. Alagappan has developed numerous contacts throughout the globe. Residents and students, who want to participate on EM electives, collaborate with Emergency physicians on projects and research from other countries can contact Dr. Alagappan.
Einstein Sponsored Educational Projects
Medical Foundation, Chennai, India: Medicine in an emerging economy (MS IV)
It comes as a surprise to most outsiders that India is the world's most highly privatized healthcare economy. About 80% of all healthcare expenses come out of pocket; the government spends a mere 0.9% of the GDP on healthcare. This places healthcare delivery in India under the unique constraint of having to offer the most for the least amount of money. Indian healthcare centers do it well. Herein lies the unique educational value of this program, over and above the obvious immediate benefit of a bird's-eye view of the existing situation: an exposure to the practice of good quality Medicine under severe monetary constraints.
The program would be anchored by the Sundaram Medical Foundation, Chennai, a 160-bed, full facility, not-for-profit, postgraduate teaching hospital that has a widely acknowledged reputation for an ethos of high quality, cost-conscious medical care. In a fairly informal manner, through the efforts of Dr Kumar Alagappan of Einstein, over 50 individuals (mostly residents) have over the last decade spent 2 to 6 week periods at the Emergency Department of the hospital.This elective broadens the experience offered to senior (MS IV) medical students.
Clinical exposure can be centered in any or all of the following areas:
1. Acute medicine: The ED at SMF would be the point of activity. This 24/7, 12-bed unit receives about 15,000 patients a year spread across a complete spectrum of acute illnesses and conditions, including trauma. In recognition of its uniqueness, the ED has been designated as the pilot center for an ongoing epidemiological study of ED visits in India; a study that is being carried out by Columbia University. The department is backed by a group of trained professionals and support staff.
2. Chronic diseases: Although communicable diseases are portrayed as the leading health care problem, India is in the cusp of a demographic change and an epidemiological transition that is seeing the emergence of a large population of patients with non-communicable disease, most notably, diabetes, ischemic heart disease and the metabolic syndrome. Students with special interests in the surgical disciplines can likewise be accommodated. The clinics and wards at SMF would offer a rich exposure to a medical student.
3. Rural health: About 75% of India lives in villages and struggles along at earnings of less than 2 dollars a day. The challenges of meeting the healthcare needs of this majority are overwhelming, yet groups of concerned individuals are making inroads in unique and inspiring ways. Two rural health centers that are affiliated with SMF would serve as excellent jump-off points.