A Get ‘Er Done Team in Brazil Waits for No One

The online Urban Dictionary defines “get ‘er done” as a redneck phrase meaning to go ahead and complete a task and Yahoo answers says it is a phrase used in the military meaning don’t waste time, no matter how difficult the task, just do it and get it done. After reading the Global Perspectives section of this week’s Neurology, I think there can be no better adjective to describe the RIO GBS-ZIKV Research Network than to call them a get ‘er done team. This multidisciplinary group of self-funded clinicians and researchers in Rio using low cost technologies, like WhatsApp for group communications, have organized themselves into a lean, mean Zika fighting machine. While authoritative global health organizations are still trying to agree upon basic definitions (what IS microcephaly?), team RIO has developed standardized data collection instruments, protocolized treatment strategies and streamlined referral and triage procedures all while also collecting foundational data on the neurologic manifestations of Zika Virus in Brazil. Don’t miss what promises to be the first of many interesting reports from this inspiring group.

Gretchen L. Birbeck, MD, MPH

Gretchen L. Birbeck, MD, MPH

Gretchen Birbeck is a neurologist who divides her time between the US and Africa. Her US academic home is the University of Rochester where she is the Rykenboer Professor of Neurology and Research Director for the Strong Epilepsy Center with adjunct appointments in the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics and the Department of Public Health. Her additional skills in epidemiology, health services research, and tropical medicine are brought to bear during the 6-months annually she spends in Africa where she serves as Director for the Chikankata Epilepsy Care Team in rural Mazabuka, Zambia, an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Zambia and a consultant for the Paediatric Research Ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. Gretchen’s research programs are aimed at identifying opportunities to prevent or ameliorate the medical and social morbidities of common neurologic conditions in low-income, tropical settings with the ultimate goal of developing successful interventions feasible for scale up and broad implementation. She has been recognized as an Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International League against Epilepsy, a Global Health Research Ambassador by the US Paul Rogers Society, a National Outreach Scholar by the WK Kellogg Foundation and a Leader in Medicine by the American Medical Students Association.

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