American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2017 Resident Volunteer Award: Yihan Lin

Yihan Lin, MD

Yihan Lin, MD, a fourth-year general surgery resident at the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver, received the Surgical Resident Volunteerism Award for her efforts to provide, establish, and improve medical and surgical care to underserved populations around the world.

Dr. Lin has been active in surgical volunteerism since she was a medical student. She was the student director for the Stout Street Clinic for the homeless in Denver in 2009–2010, running weekly health clinics. From there, Dr. Lin started to work in an international capacity. In 2009, she offered workshops to educate women in Quito, Ecuador, about birth control. That same year, she spent a month in Uganda providing care to patients in ORs, wards, and clinics; performing needs assessments for equipment; and compiling a dictionary of common conversational and medical phrases of the local dialect, Rukiga. She was in Leogane, Haiti, in 2013 assisting local surgeons and assessing patients in pre- and postoperative clinics and in the emergency ward.

In 2015, Dr. Lin was accepted as a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellow in the Harvard Medical School Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Boston, MA. Since she began the fellowship, she has been involved in developing surgical capacity, infrastructure, and research capability in Zambia and Rwanda.

In Zambia, Dr. Lin has been one of the research fellows leading the effort to create a national surgical plan to increase surgical access, capacity, and equity for the population. To that end, she engaged with key stakeholders in the Zambian Ministry of Health and surgical care providers to understand their priorities, led several research assistants in performing a comprehensive review of all data on Zambia’s surgical systems, and then facilitated weekly committee meeting workshops in the Ministry of Health to draft the plan. She also has been working with local stakeholders to create solutions in service delivery, the workforce, information management, and financing. The plan recently was signed into law, and Dr. Lin, her colleagues, and the Zambian government are now designing an implementation strategy.

Dr. Lin also has been working with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to create a national surgical plan in that country. In addition, she has been working to build local research capacity in Rwanda using the Operational Research Training program. In the course of one year, she was a research mentor and worked with seven providers in the Rwandan health care system, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, statisticians, and financing personnel, to design and implement research projects. Topics covered in the course included developing a research protocol, data collection and analysis, and manuscript preparation.

Beyond her work in Africa, Dr. Lin has recently been working with the World Health Organization on a variety of projects, including developing a manual on strengthening surgical systems, and leading a research project at Harvard to create a surgical hospital assessment tool for low- and middle-income countries.

Yihan Lin, MD

Yihan Lin, MD
Yihan Lin, MD
Yihan Lin, MD