Surgeons From War-Torn Ukraine Are Receiving Life-Saving Training in the U.S.

Razom’s Co-Pilot Project, in partnership with Oklahoma University Health and the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons, is bringing skilled surgeons from Ukraine to America for a one-month clinical observership.

Led by Dr. Mark Mims, OU Health’s Operation Ukraine program has sponsored its third cohort of surgeons, who practice in military hospitals in Lviv and Kyiv, tending to wounded soldiers daily.

The primary goal of the observership is to provide these surgeons with advanced training in microvascular and reconstructive techniques, addressing critical gaps in complex care in Ukraine. Before the full-scale invasion, the microvascular subspecialty was unavailable in Ukraine, but it has now become one of the most necessary specialties due to the prevalence of blast injuries. 


Through the Co-Pilot Program, Ukrainian surgeons have the opportunity to gain these critical skills. This is done with extensive training, including direct training by American surgeons during medical trips, an observership in America, and continuous mentorship upon their return to Ukraine.

The observership at OU Health is a pivotal component of their training, featuring hands-on experiences, cadaver lab sessions, virtual instruction, and active participation in surgeries with a temporary medical license in Oklahoma. Their training encompasses microsurgery, otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and oculoplastics. 


Dr. Panchenko shares, “This opportunity has completely changed my thinking – I now have the skills, experience, and confidence to perform complex microvascular reconstructive surgeries at home.”

Beyond the operating room, the recent cohort of surgeons participated in a grand rounds lecture, a breakfast gathering of local leaders, and a commemorative event in Washington, DC on February 24th, marking the two-year anniversary. Attended by the local Ukrainian community, government senators and representatives, OU community members, donors, doctors, and healthcare staff, these events fostered meaningful discussions, collaborative efforts, and mutual support. 


This approach underscores the profound impact of the Co-Pilot Project not only on surgical expertise but also on healthcare networks, partnerships, and advocacy, marking a significant milestone in global healthcare collaboration.

Learn more about and support the Co-Pilot Project and Razom Health.

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