On May 3, 2016 at the AANS Annual Meeting held in Chicago, IL, M. Daniel Eggart, MD received the Public Service Citation; an award given by the AANS Young Neurosurgeons Committee. Dr. Eggart embodies the medical tradition of serving with a special focus on patients in developing countries. His vision seeks to establish permanent international programs to improve long term care and outcomes for at-risk populations. In his short medical career as a medical student and six years as a neurosurgery resident, he has worked in Haiti, Mexico, Bolivia, and Africa.
As a first year medical student, Dr. Eggart founded the non-profit Medical Students for Burn Care International (MS4BCI) and spent his summer in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where he served in the operating room as a surgical assistant for wound debriding. At the end of his South American mission trip he bought 200 Alpaca scarves from the “Concha” local market. Dr. Eggart brought them to United States in anticipation of generating revenue to improve access to care in the underfunded Pediatric Burn Center of the Viedma Hospital. The following December, he presented at Grand Rounds to his medical school hospital; Dr. Eggart sold all of his scarves in five days. He was able to set up an exchange program for future medical students to work in South America and earned over $15,000 in the first 2 years. Funds raised from the
Alpaca Scarf Sale and other proceeds were used to purchase the first PACU ventilator at Viedma Hospital Burn Center, as well as multiple ward televisions with language integration DVDs to assist in long-term social adjustment for non-Spanish speaking orphans from the surrounding mountain areas. Funds were also utilized for physical therapy equipment and burn compression suits to prevent contractures. Each year MS4BCI continues to send medical students to work in Cochabamba, Bolivia in the summer between their first and second years of medical education at the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine in Columbia, South Carolina.
Dr. Eggart has exceeded the expectations of neurosurgical residency in his service to post-operative patients at his local training hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. By reviewing two years of patient dispositions, he identified regional third party payer patterns of acceptance and denial letters. Using this information he created a quality improvement program centered on inpatient disposition targeted documentation that improved placement options for at-risk, under insured patients.
During his residency, Dr. Eggart moved to Mbale, Uganda for three months to serve as a volunteer house surgeon at CURE Hospital, a major African referral center for hydrocephalus and spina bifida. He evaluated patients and performed many endoscopic as well as traditional surgeries to manage the hydrocephalus epidemic. He has also begun a research study to explore hydrocephalus etiologies as it relates to myelomeningoceles post primary closure. Upon finishing residency, Dr. Eggart plans to pursue a fellowship and join a university practice where he will teach residents and serve patients at home and abroad.