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Pediatric oncology resident from Brazil training in St. Louis to help patients in her country

"It gives me hope so I can start something like this in Brazil."

ST. LOUIS — A resident from Brazil is in St. Louis to hopefully bring back helpful tools to her country.

Jessica Rodrigues is a resident at GRAACC, a hospital in Brazil, and she specializes in pediatric neuro-oncology.

Just recently, she moved to St. Louis with her husband to be a part of a new, 3-month global neuro-oncology training program offered by Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Rodrigues' goal is to learn as much as she can from the director of the program, Dr. Mohamed Abdelbaki.

From there, she hopes to bring back this information to Brazil and continue working with Dr. Abdelbaki.

She'll also participate on the International Tumor Board.

She began the program in early September and will remain in the program through Dec. 1.

Credit: Kanna Rook

The program 

Dr. Abdelbaki created this global neuro-oncology program to see patient consultations from different parts of the world. He said they are the leaders of the tumor board and help doctors across the world.

In the last couple of years, they've seen more than 100 patient consultations from different countries, with some even visiting Washington University in St. Louis.

"Specifically Poland patients are treated here," he told 5 On Your Side.

The International Tumor Board gives physicians a chance to discuss difficult cases. 

More than 25 intuitions and 22 countries are involved. 

Credit: Kanna Rook

Dr. Abdelbaki also realized it can be very expensive to come to the United States and he factors in the psychological impact of being away from home.

With that, the program trains residents like Rodrigues to assist patients in their home country.

"The goal is to see a lot of patients, attend a lot of these international meetings, and learn the clinical research," Dr. Abdelbaki said. "When she goes back, she can manage patients, attend the tumor board meetings and help with cases and future projects. She can help physicians and patients in Brazil."

In the 3-month span in St. Louis, Rodrigues will gain knowledge and connections.

"It gives me hope so I can start something like this in Brazil,” she said.

But it won't stop there.

She hopes this can be impact others beyond Brazil.

"In Brazil, we need to help other countries in South America, and we are an up-and-coming country. Some South America countries don’t have the best outcomes. I’m very excited. Every day I take notes to see what I can bring back to Brazil," Rodrigues said with a smile.

Credit: Kanna Rook

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