Dr. Stewart (center) with leaders of a Mundari cattle camp in Terekeka, South Sudan
Barclay T. Stewart, MD, MPH, PhD, a general surgery resident from Beaufort, SC, received the 2016 Surgical Resident Volunteerism Award for his myriad volunteer efforts to provide care to underserved domestic and international populations through clinical services, research, and advocacy.
While a medical student at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, Dr. Stewart and his colleagues organized the student-run Crisis Ministries Health Clinic for the homeless, which offered primary, basic antenatal care, and diabetic foot care; dental services; and legal assistance. The clinic continues to provide primary care.
In 2005, Dr. Stewart transitioned to global volunteerism, working at an International Rescue Committee hospital in Nepal during the nation’s civil war, assisting the surgeons and staff with burn care, outreach, and burn care education. The following year, he was in Malawi, where he co-created a referral system with condition-specific protocols to improve the timeliness of care for patients with life-threatening conditions, which resulted in a model for other rural areas.
After completing his master’s in public health, Dr. Stewart was in South Sudan, where he was asked to be the interim coordinator of a joint effort between the Malaria Consortium and the government of South Sudan. The program he ran was responsible for assessing the burden of neglected tropical diseases and delivering drug treatment to millions of people across the war-torn country.
In 2014, Dr. Stewart was awarded a two-year National Institutes of Health/Fogarty Global Health Program for Fellows and Scholars. For the first 18 months, he was in Ghana, where he collected data to integrate surgical, trauma, and burn care into the national health plan. He assessed barriers across the country, described the changing epidemiology of surgical emergencies, developed trauma care quality improvement programs, improved road safety initiatives, and created courses for district hospital staff to improve trauma care standards. He also served as a visiting chief resident in one of Ghana’s largest teaching hospitals, where more than 30,000 operations are performed annually. In addition, Dr. Stewart frequently volunteered with local surgical outreach missions and covered rural hospitals lacking a surgical care provider.
He now volunteers at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where he is helping to create a toolkit for other countries seeking to improve care for surgical patients.
Much of Dr. Stewart’s research is important in documenting the surgical needs of people who live in low- and middle-income countries to serve as an evidence base for advocacy. He has presented these findings at numerous conferences in the U.S. and globally; this work contributed to the community advocacy efforts that led to The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery and the World Health Assembly resolution 68.15 on strengthening emergency and essential surgical care as a part of universal health coverage.