The Co-Pilot Project: Neurosurgery Training in Ukraine

The Co-Pilot Project (CPP) is an initiative that aims to address the significant deficit in high-quality neurosurgical and spine surgery training in Ukraine, a country of 45 million people in eastern Europe. Just as a co-pilot acts as another set of eyes and ears for the pilot, our mission is to send surgeons from North America to mentor and aid Ukrainian surgeons through difficult cases.

After an exploratory mission trip to Ukraine in August 2016, Dr. Tomycz and his colleagues are convinced that the best way to develop high-quality Ukrainian subspecialty surgical programs is to help train young surgeons through mentoring relationships. During the trip, Luke Tomycz was able to work with neurosurgeons in Kyiv for over a week, examining over 100 patients and performing multiple procedures. Dr. Tomycz was struck by the number of patients with complex neurovascular lesions, epilepsy, spinal deformities, and tumors of the brain and spine who either do not receive any treatment or undergo ineffectual and potentially dangerous operations with surgeons who often lack appropriate expertise.


The overall expected outcome and long-term goal of this initiative would be to raise the bar of neurosurgical training in Ukraine, providing high-quality care to countless Ukrainian patients in the process.


In the course of three months (May 20, 2017 – September 15, 2017) we expect to perform scores of surgeries and endovascular interventions and see hundreds of patients in consultation. As the team-lead, Dr.Tomycz plans to support the neurosurgeons at International Neurosurgery Center and other participating centers including Romadanov Institute, the Central Military Hospital in Kyiv, Okhmadyt Children’s Clinic, and Lviv Children’s Hospital not only in the OR/angio suite but also on the wards, and assist in devising and formalizing a program for resident training and medical student research.


1) Training Ukrainian Neurosurgeons

Fund institutional subscriptions to neurosurgical journals allowing Ukrainian surgeons to stay up-to-date with the fast pace of changing medical practices. ($5,000)


Subsidize travel to conferences and courses in Europe for medical students and surgical trainees to learn contemporary surgical techniques. ($4,500)


Organize short and longer-term mission trips in which healthcare volunteers from the US and Canada can travel to Ukraine to share their expertise. ($19,000)


Provide neurosurgery residency training packages: surgical loupes, lead aprons, and core textbooks. ($10,000)


TOTAL: $38,500

2) Compassionate Care Fund

The fund will subsidize the treatment of indigent and uninsured Ukrainians.


The estimated costs for procedures in Ukraine range from $500 for life-saving chemotherapy to $2000 for a craniotomy for a brain tumor or an intracranial aneurysm.


While most patients are able to afford at least a portion of their medical bill, the vast majority need assistance in paying for life-saving treatment. This fund would allow us to treat all the patients who need our services, regardless of their socioeconomic status.


TOTAL: $25,000

3) Equipment and Surgical Supplies

The quality of medical equipment and the availability of basic surgical supplies varies widely among hospitals throughout Ukraine.


Our goal is to support the hospitals that do not have the necessary equipment in operating rooms (e.g. high-speed drills, micro- instruments, endovascular stents and coils) and to create several centers of excellence that are equipped to perform complex procedures.


TOTAL: $21,000



Luke Tomycz, MD
Physician Director

Mariya Soroka
Project Manager

Mariana Magala
Project Manager


Ruslan Batytskyi




Music: amplifying voices from Ukraine

The Co-Pilot Fundraiser With Slava Vakarchuk and Fima Chupakhin: Promise Kept

The Co-Pilot Project Launch Event in New York, March 5th 2017

Razom announces a new program: The Co-Pilot Project – Neurosurgery Training in Ukraine