The University of Wisconsin and Nicaplast
The University of Wisconsin, Division of Plastic Surgery and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua, UNAN-Leon have partnered in plastic surgery training for 24 years. This collaboration was designed to provide educational opportunities for professional development and to provide surgical care to under served areas of Nicaragua particularly in the field of cleft lip and palate, and pediatric plastic surgery.
Nicaragua is a beautiful country, both in the landscape with active volcanoes, beautiful beaches and exotic jungle habitats and its cultural traditions. Because of the great diversity of terrain, travel for many families is prohibitive and some rely on visiting medical groups to assist with treatment of specialized medical needs. Our mission is two-fold: 1) to provide assistance with plastic surgical treatment within Nicaraguan health care system and; 2) to stimulate an educational exchange of ideas between multilingual and multicultural health systems, within the specialty of plastic surgery.
These goals are met with support of educational resources i.e., textbooks, journals and computer-based learning technology and more importantly, twice yearly faculty and resident exchanges, between Nicaragua and UW. This interaction provides residents opportunities for “hands on” learning from professors of plastic surgery in both programs. Residents also gain experience with alternative health care systems and procedural expertise and limitations within these systems. Finally, exposure to multicultural cooperative education is designed to stimulate a life-long interest in international and local community service in under served populations with plastic surgery needs.