Dr. Chinekwu Anyanwu and Sherri Pratt work together in Carilion’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.
"I love what I do," says Sherri Pratt, an EEG (electroencephalogram) technician at Carilion. "I love scanning EEGs. I love interacting with the patients."
"I like my work because it gives me an opportunity to associate with different types of patients, those with neurologic diseases or psychiatric disorders," explains Chinekwu Anyanwu, M.D., a Carilion neurologist.
They’ve taken their medical expertise more than 5,000 miles away, from Roanoke to Nigeria, where Dr. Anyanwu is from.
"I look at the people and I see there is so much need for them to be helped," said Dr. Anyanwu.
She helped organize this conference to improve epilepsy understanding among physicians, related to diagnosis and treatment.
Part of the conference focused on EEG training. Sherri demonstrated how the device detects electrical activity in the brain, pinpointing the source of seizures in epilepsy patients.
"There are a lot of people out there with epilepsy that need help and need the correct medications given, the correct treatment plans," said Sherri. "To be able to take that out of our country, to go to a different country where they don’t have a lot of that, was really special, really important."
This first epilepsy walk was also held to start a community conversation about a condition that often carries a stigma related to religion and spirituality.
"These patients would rather suffer in silence than go to a doctor," said Dr. Anyanwu.
If smiles are any indication of success, this appears to be the first of many opportunities to walk the talk for epilepsy patients around the world.