Developing a clinical educator fellowship in Guyana
Zahira Khalid, MBBS, FRCPC, wants to create the next generation of academic leaders in Guyana. Working closely with several Royal College Fellows, including Joel Hamstra, MD, FRCPC; Brian Cameron, MD, FRCSC; and Azim Gangji, MD, FRCPC, Dr. Khalid is building a two-year clinical educator fellowship that will reduce Guyana’s dependence on international volunteers to train postgraduate residents.
“Graduates of the fellowship program will have the skills to develop and maintain sustainable, academically rigorous, contextually appropriate postgraduate medical training programs,” says Dr. Khalid, associate professor of medicine at McMaster University. “They will also learn to design, implement and evaluate quality improvement and research curriculum to enhance overall patient care and safety.”
Creating a self-sustaining program
At present, Guyana has 11 postgraduate medical training programs. But a lack of local mentorship and training capacity has created a strong dependency on international volunteers to deliver the training. The intention with the fellowship is to spark a self-sustaining program – essentially a train-the-trainer program – that ultimately will be led by local graduates in Georgetown, Guyana.
With International Development, Aid and Collaboration (IDAC) funding from the Royal College, the fellowship will deliver core content through a combination of in-class sessions by visiting volunteers and online sessions for supervision and mentoring. Participants will also visit McMaster University to observe and collaborate on teaching sessions. This will include participating in McMaster medical education workshops and McMaster-based clinical learning opportunities (for example, simulation) with supervision and mentoring by a McMaster faculty member.
The fellowship will enroll seven to 10 participants per year over three years.
IDAC funding will build infrastructure and engagement
Dr. Khalid will use the project’s IDAC funding for three main purposes: to build infrastructure that will support online learning, to finance participant visits to McMaster for mentorship and collaborative opportunities and to enable participants to attend medical education conferences where they can present scholarly work.
“The conference component is key for engaging participants in lifelong scholarly work,” explains Dr. Khalid. “For the program to become self-sustaining, we need to ensure clinical educators are engaged in quality improvement and research opportunities, and presenting at conferences encourages this type of engagement.”
The fellowship will provide many opportunities for participants to produce academic scholarship in the form of innovative curriculum design, community outreach projects, educational research projects and clinical-based quality improvement projects.
“Our graduates will become academic leaders who have the knowledge and skills to develop and sustain postgraduate medical training programs that meet regional accreditation standards,” says Dr. Khalid. “That’s our overarching goal for this first-of-its-kind program in Guyana.”