Sharing Knowledge Overseas

Northwestern Medicine
News April 24, 2015
When Kim Flood volunteered to visit the Middle East to share her mammography expertise at a conference, she hoped she would be able to make an impact on the healthcare workers there. What she didn't realize was how much the visit would impact her.

"It altered everything — the way I look at my life, the way I look at people, the way I look at patients, the way I look at Northwestern Medicine," says Flood, RT, women's imaging resource coordinator in Northwestern Medicine’s North Region. "We are so blessed here. We've got the best of the best."
 
Kim Flood with people in the Middle EastFlood was invited to present at the Breast Cancer in the Arab World* conference in Amman, Jordan in March, which was attended by more than 150 radiologists from around the world. The annual event is part of a regional effort to raise breast cancer awareness and encourage preventative care by inviting experts and caregivers from around the world to share their knowledge. At the conference, Flood learned about cultural and technological barriers to women in the Middle East. "The life expectancy of women was terrible because they would not get mammograms until they already had Stage III or IV breast cancer," she says.

"It altered everything — the way I look at my life, the way I look at people, the way I look at patients, the way I look at Northwestern Medicine," says Flood, RT, women's imaging resource coordinator in Northwestern Medicine’s North Region. "We are so blessed here. We've got the best of the best."
 
Flood was invited to present at the Breast Cancer in the Arab World conference in Amman, Jordan in March, which was attended by more than 150 radiologists from around the world. The annual event is part of a regional effort to raise breast cancer awareness and encourage preventative care by inviting experts and caregivers from around the world to share their knowledge. At the conference, Flood learned about cultural and technological barriers to women in the Middle East. "The life expectancy of women was terrible because they would not get mammograms until they already had Stage III or IV breast cancer," she says.

At the conference, which Flood made a presentation about mammography positioning and quality control to about 50 caregivers from around the region, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai. "For them, this was a big privilege," Flood says. "They had no formal training, other than 'see one, do one.' They had so many questions. I've never seen women so hungry to learn. It was so touching."
 
The next day, she took 20 of the women to a local clinic to see patients and perform a hands-on tutorial in how to get the best possible mammogram results. "They could see the results and how much better they were than what they were doing before. They were so excited," Flood says.
 
Positioning a patient properly requires skill, and recent research into the subject is being implemented across the Northwestern Medicine health system. "You are fighting breast cancers that much sooner, so your outcome is huge compared to if it was missed and it grew for two years and metastasized," Flood says. "Breast positioning is the No. 1 place to start saving lives."
 
The trip to Jordan fueled her interest for sharing knowledge and training others, and she's already contemplating another trip to the Middle East. "Northwestern Medicine is my No. 1 priority, but I'd like to be able to combine the two passions in some way — teaching and my job here," she says.

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