Our Week in the National Center for Maternal and Child Health: Dr. Michael Gayle Reflects

We have been in Mongolia now for several days providing clinical care and teaching at the National Center for Maternal and Child Health in Ulaanbataar. My jet lag has improved and am finally feeling acclimated to my new time zone. Despite the language barrier I am feeling much more comfortable in the environment of the hospital and the city itself. I believe the warm and friendly nature of the Mongolian people has been a major factor. When Eric spoke with me about coming on this trip he told me It is likely the first time many of the people there will be seeing an African American. I am use to being the only minority in a room of people but not in a whole city.  I almost made it a week without seeing another African American but did ran into another AA in my hotel room. I was disappointed as I wanted to remain unique. I expected lots of staring and perhaps ensuing looks from the children at the hospital but so far the stares have been very minimal as I walk about the hospital.

I was very pleased to see that the 2 month old with the VSD and coarctation showing clinical improvement without surgery but I know he will have a poor prognosis without correction of this lesion. I continue to provide the PICU staff with daily teaching. They are very eager to learn and were ecstatic when I gave them a couple of critical care textbooks I brought for them. Despite their limited technology and equipment, they certainly do a very good job with what they have. The medical system here is modeled off the Russian medical system as all pediatric subspecialties are in Departments e.g Pediatric Intensive Care Department. This is quite different from our system in the USA and I believe the system here leads to fragmentation of care. I visited  their surgical pediatric intensive care unit which was staffed by pediatric anesthesiologist. After rounding on the unit I noted areas of care where multidisciplinary approach would serve the patients there better.

The mini symposium continues to be well attended. We have been very fortunate to have the assistance of several physicians acting as our translators and doing an excellent job at it. We have one more day of the symposium and expecting continued well attendance.



The evenings continue to provide great opportunities for bonding of our group. We got exposed to some Mongolian folklore when we had dinner at a restaurant with live performance. It was quite a memorable experience listening to this very unusual “throat” singing. Very cool!!!. As the week draws near, I am looking forward to going to the country to experience more Mongolian culture but also to see the “real” Mongolia. I am especially eager to see the Blue Sky and view the Milky Way from this part of the world.


-Dr. Michael Gayle

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  1. Terry Humphrey

     /  August 30, 2013

    Dr. Gayle I truly love your post because it is so raw as it captures your insight and the essence of you, an African American medical specialist. Be Blessed and may the blessimgs continue to spill into the hearts of the Mongolian children and caregivers. 🙏

  2. Grace

     /  August 31, 2013

    Very interesting. When I saw the picture of the PowerPoint presentation in English, I wondered what was going through the minds of the audience – perhaps it would be akin to us viewing a PP presentation in Mandarin. Thanks for sharing this piece.


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