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

2015 Resident Volunteer Award: Shilpa Shree Murthy

Shilpa Shree Murthy, MD, MPH, a PGY-4 general surgery resident at Indiana University, Bloomington, received the 2015 Surgical Resident Volunteerism Award for developing the Clinical Breast Exam Simulation Training Course to provide care and education in Rwanda, Africa.

While attending the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Dr. Murthy founded the Global Medical Relief Program in 2002, one of the first undergraduate global health programs at the university. This program raised funds that were used to send medical supplies to underdeveloped countries around the world. In three years, the organization grew to 100 students from six and is currently one of the largest and most active global health undergraduate groups on campus. In collaboration with Health in Action, a medical student group from the University of Michigan, Dr. Murthy led a group of undergraduate engineer, public health, and medical students to apply health education programs and discover innovative ways to develop a clean water system for several villages outside San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic. Dr. Murthy also co-founded a chapter of Unite for Sight, a not-for-profit organization that provides free vision screenings.

Before graduating from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, in 2010, Dr. Murthy traveled to Malawi, Africa, with the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation in 2007. There she trained local women to deliver a health survey to more than 450 households. The survey was designed to determine how people accessed water and how this contributed to sanitation habits and nutritional status. She also assisted in and advocated for the creation of the first Global Health Center at Penn State University, Hershey.

In Kigali, Rwanda, Dr. Murthy designed and implemented a clinical breast exam training course for surgical, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) residents and medical students at the University of Rwanda. She taught more than 230 students how to evaluate and examine patients presenting with a breast complaint. She used a low-fidelity breast simulation model created by a local women’s cooperative, Ineza, to provide care to impoverished women who survived the Rwanda genocide. Dr. Murthy also developed the curriculum and coordinated an ultrasound-guided breast core needle biopsy course for surgery and OB/GYN residents. In collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, Partners in Health, and the University of Rwanda, Dr. Murthy was a key leader in planning and executing Rwanda’s inaugural national breast cancer symposium. This program led to the creation of multidisciplinary tumor boards at university hospitals and further supported breast training programs throughout the country, and procurement of breast core needle biopsies.

Dr. Murthy plans to pursue an academic career where she can continue her work in medical education and improve access to quality surgical cancer care in the most disenfranchised patient populations.

See more photos on the Bulletin website.