The Co-Pilot Project: March 2018

The Co-Pilot Project continues its mission to improve neurosurgical care by supplementing the training of young neurosurgeons throughout Ukraine.


The Co-Pilot Project (CPP) continues its journey of increasing the amount of quality neurosurgical training in Ukraine. The first trip to Ukraine in 2018 successfully took place in early March. This time the CPP’s team included two neurosurgeons, Dr. Michael Cohen and Dr. Luke Tomycz, and the project manager and the current Razom’s President, Mariya Soroka. Within 14 days the CPP covered more Ukrainian territory than it did in 2017 by including Lutsk and Stryi, in addition to Kyiv and Lviv.

The project’s first stop was Kyiv. The Co-Pilot team is happy to report that during the very first two-day clinic marathon Dr. Michael Cohen and Dr. Luke Tomycz along with Dr. Igor Kurilets from International Neurosurgery Center in Kyiv consulted 71 patients – 36 adults and 35 children. Further, the Co-Pilot team spent three days in Lutsk consulting and working with pediatric neurosurgeon Mykhailo Lovga and his team at Volyn Children’s Regional Hospital. Later, the CPP team was welcomed to Lviv by Taras Mykytyn and Ihor Homenyuk for the CPP’s second visit to the Lviv Children Clinic Hospital. As noted by the CPP team, “It is always a pleasure to work with such dedicated doctors in Ukraine”.

In the course of two weeks, the CPP team performed 12 craniotomies for brain tumors with partners in Kyiv, Lutsk, and Lviv. This trip served as a tremendous learning opportunity not only for the Ukrainian partners, but for the Co-Pilot team as well. Since it was the project’s intention to guide the Ukrainian neurosurgeons through as much of the cases as they safely could, both CPP surgeons scrubbed in for every case and were involved in teaching and demonstrating various microsurgical techniques in the process of resecting these complex brain tumors.  Dr. Tomycz and Dr. Cohen also remained closely involved in the postoperative care of the patients they treated.

While in Kyiv, Michael Cohen also talked to medical students and young doctors about residency, learning, and evidence-based medicine. It was an outstanding event with great participation from the audience. The CPP team is grateful to Ivanka Nebor and the whole INgenius team for introducing the Co-Pilot Project to dedicated and knowledge-hungry medical students and young doctors in Ukraine. We are looking forward to doing more great things together in the future.

The CPP’s two weeks in Ukraine demonstrates Ukrainian surgeons’ high motivation to receive practical learning and improve their skills. It is clear from our work that young Ukrainian medical students are hungry for knowledge and have a keen interest in examining diverse perspectives. All that these Ukrainian doctors need to flourish is a source that will provide the teaching and mentorship which they so eagerly seek. We hope that you will help make these mission trips in support of Ukrainian doctors possible by donating to the Razom Co-Pilot Project.

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Photos by Ihor Zinchuk

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