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Voices of MEPI Junior Faculty fellows: Dr Mubuuke Gonzaga

March / April 2021 | Volume 20 Number 2

Dr. Mubuuke Gonzaga holds up and examines an x-ray. 

 

Dr. Mubuuke Gonzaga

Breast imaging specialist and lecturer
Makerere University, Uganda

As told to Susan Scutti

Two of my relatives passed away as a result of breast cancer, so I became interested in radiology and specialized in breast imaging. We don’t have a national breast cancer screening program in Uganda so many women end up dying. Mammography is the gold standard but it is very expensive, while ultrasound is more widely available and relatively cheap.

My fellowship project examined whether there’s enough evidence to use ultrasound as an initial evaluation tool and discovered the sensitivity of ultrasound in a small cohort of women was around 58%, which was only slightly below that of mammography. This was encouraging because it means we might at least use it to identify patients with highly suspicious masses in need of immediate biopsies. People were excited by the findings and we have published two papers and received funding for a larger follow-up study. This will help us acquire more evidence to inform policy.

The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Junior Faculty Research Training program taught me how to design a scientific investigation and analyze the findings. This fellowship was quite an enriching experience - I improved my research skills, expanded my network and collaborated on a few successful grant applications. I’ve grown as a faculty member and now help vet research submissions by students and faculty here at Makerere. I also work as a consultant, facilitating academic workshops and as an external examiner. In addition, I sit on editorial boards and work as an associate editor and reviewer.

This fellowship has been a great journey and I’ve advanced immensely in my career. Through this program, we have built a critical mass of people who are transferring their skills to colleagues. As we improve training, eventually we will see better health outcomes in our communities.

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