At home, I can learn about new procedures and technology through books and the internet. Here, I can see and experience those things. I saw a mitral clip procedure for the first time which was amazing.Edita Pllana-Pruthi, MD
"As soon as I learned about Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), it became my dream to come here and work with real experts," says Edita Pllana-Pruthi, MD at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo in Prishtina. That dream, formed in the early 2000's when she was a medical student, came true in October 2022 when she arrived at DHMC for six months of research and study.
Pllana-Pruthi' s visit is supported by a Fulbright Scholarship. The highly competitive program—only 20 percent of applicants receive grants—promotes cultural exchange through post-college work, study and research. Over 140 countries participate in the program. Pllana-Pruthi, who is also a PhD candidate at the University of Zagreb, was one of only four Kosovans to receive a Fulbright in 2022.
"My PhD research has been prolonged by work and family responsibilities," says Pllana-Pruthi. "Here, I'm able to focus and learn from experienced providers and researchers."
Her research looks at changes in the ability of the heart's right ventricle ability to push blood forward while single-chamber pacemakers are in place using echocardiogram data. Echocardiograms use ultrasound waves to provide a visual display of heart function. "While I'm focusing on single-chamber pacemakers, I'm able to learn more about dual-chamber pacemakers here at DHMC," says Pllana-Pruthi.
Under the sponsorship of Cynthia C. Taub, MD, section chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, Pllana-Pruthi devotes half her time to research. She is also observing and interacting with providers in the Cardiac Care Unit, echocardiography lab and electrophysiology lab.
"By giving bright young minds a chance to sharpen their academic skills and broaden their horizons, we build bridges and disseminate knowledge worldwide," says Taub. "Edita brings such positive energy and has an insatiable desire to learn. She's the first to show up at our Heart and Vascular Center conferences and actively engages in clinical rounds."
"At home, I can learn about new procedures and technology through books and the internet," says Pllana-Pruthi. "Here, I can see and experience those things. I saw a mitral clip procedure for the first time, which was amazing."
The day-to-day practices Pllana-Pruthi observes at DHMC are also inspirational. "Everything at DHMC is so different," says Pllana-Pruthi. "For example, here, students are present during patient rounds. They see cases from the start, which is so valuable. And, the way things are scheduled makes physicians more efficient. Those ideas, while seemingly small, could have a big impact at home."
While Pllana-Pruthi is learning from her DHMC peers, they are learning from her. "Our way isn't the only way, and Edita inspires us to learn something new every day," says Taub. "It's especially helpful to understand how things are done in countries with fewer resources. For example, there are no sonographers in Edita's hospital so she performs echocardiograms. I suspect her image acquisition skillsets are more advanced than many U.S. providers."
"Dr. Taub is a great sponsor and everyone at DHMC has been wonderful," says Pllana-Pruthi. "At first I was homesick but now I think this place is perfect."