New fellowship in knowledge translation for Rwandan anesthesiologists

June 7, 2022 | Author: Royal College Staff

Since 2006, the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society International Education Foundation (CASIEF) has been working with the University of Rwanda to deliver postgraduate medical training to residents. In general, the training has been successful, with residents acquiring all the knowledge and skills they need to practise. But a number of volunteer educators with CASIEF in Rwanda have noticed, over time, that the anesthesiologists CASIEF helps train are not always able to apply their learning as expected.

Joel Parlow, MD, FRCPC, has volunteered in Rwanda on several occasions. He is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Queen’s University and Kingston Health Sciences Centre. He is also the chair of CASIEF.

“We noticed, for example, that some patients coming out of surgery in a lot of pain were not being treated optimally,” he said. “We realized that knowledge of pain management wasn’t always being translated into the clinical environment, so we set out to tackle the problem.”

Dr. Gaston Nyirigira (centre), an anesthesiologist and pain physician in Butare, Rwanda, with his colleagues in the pain management clinic. Dr. Nyirigira trained with Canadian faculty and Royal College Fellows, and returned to Rwanda to start the first pain-management program. He now leads a regular pain conference attended by clinicians from several low- and middle-income countries (photo submitted)

Fellowship in knowledge translation

Dr. Parlow is working with Gregory Klar, MD, FRCPC; Melanie Jaeger, MD, FRCPC; Jon Bailey, MD, FRCPC; Dylan Bould, MD; Queen’s researcher Ana Johnson, PhD; and Rwandan colleagues. Together, they are using International Development, Aid and Collaboration (IDAC) funding to develop a fellowship in knowledge translation for Anesthesiology and pain management. Six Rwandan fellowships are planned over the three-year project (two per year). Also planned are online modules in knowledge translation for the Rwandan Anesthesiology residents.

One program goal is to build local capacity in Rwanda. They will do this by first training fellows face-to-face at Queen’s University and then working alongside them to determine a clinical area for knowledge translation. Fellows will become champions for that clinical area in their home country.

Sustainable and culturally appropriate

Each fellow will have a Rwandan and a Canadian mentor, which will help ensure culturally appropriate training. The fellowship will consist of a three-month didactic component (the first five weeks will take place in Canada). This will be followed by a nine-month knowledge translation project based at the fellow’s home institution.

“This project will expose fellows to knowledge translation methods not readily available in Rwanda,” said Dr. Parlow. “Meanwhile, fellows are of course in the best position to evaluate best practices and then develop, implement and evaluate effective Anesthesiology and pain management strategies according to local needs and barriers.”

Measures of success will hinge on how well fellows’ projects are adopted in local environments and by local medical institutions.

“They need to get buy-in from hospitals, Rwandan health authorities, physicians, nurses and other stakeholders,” said Dr. Parlow.

Other metrics will involve the extent to which medical teams use tools developed by the fellows like pain-assessment tools and feedback from patients. The hope is that the project will ultimately be extended to CASIEF-partnered programs in other resource-limited countries.

Volunteer opportunity

CASIEF is looking for additional volunteer anesthesiologists interested in mentoring the project’s fellows. The required subspecialties will depend on the fellows’ areas of interest within the fields of Anesthesiology, perioperative medicine, critical care and pain management.

If you are interested in volunteering, please email (subject: Dr. Parlow’s project in Rwanda) with some details about yourself. Your email will be passed on to the project lead.


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