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2014 ASA Legislative Conference



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Physician anesthesiologists head to Rwanda: improving health through education

Monday, February 10, 2014

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA®) Global Humanitarian Outreach (GHO) volunteers offer education and training in anesthesia services

Three members of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA®) and staff at Stanford University School of Medicine depart for Kigali, Rwanda on Friday to take part in a teaching program at the two teaching hospitals of the National University of Rwanda. For four weeks, these ASA members will teach Rwandan physician anesthesiologists, residents and staff about perioperative anesthesia (before, during and after a procedure), including critical care medicine, procedural skills in a new simulation center, and pediatric anesthesia, as part of ASA’s GHO program.

ASA members Ana Crawford, M.D., clinical assistant professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, Melanie Gipp, M.D., pediatric anesthesia fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine and Christopher Press, M.D., resident anesthesiologist, Stanford University School of Medicine, will be teaching members of the anesthesia care team at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Kigali (CHUK) and CHUB (in Butare).  This year additional focus will target the education of anesthesia technicians, the most common anesthesia care providers across Rwanda.

“I have done service-based mission trips before, but left feeling like we did little to make a long-term impact,” said Dr. Crawford. “Certainly we saw hundreds of patients, but we did nothing to improve healthcare long term. With this GHO program, we are focused on the education of medical providers, so they can help their community now and in the future. This is my fourth time in Rwanda.”

The program hosts a Monday academic day with a morning report where an anesthesia resident will discuss a few challenging cases planned for the day. After his or her presentation, the rest of the care team identifies the anesthetic considerations and proposes an anesthetic plan. This is followed by lectures, case-based learning and simulation sessions provided by the ASA members.  While in Kigali, they will focus on topics of respiratory physiology, ventilation, asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome, and thoracic anesthesia. Additional emphasis will be placed on post-anesthesia care and intensive care, as well as anesthesia care for pediatric patients.  The volunteers also host two journal club sessions while in country.

The GHO program, in partnership with the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society International Education Foundation, has worked in Rwanda since 2006 to build and strengthen the medical teaching capacity in Rwanda. The goal is to build capacity for anesthesia training in Rwanda so that, over time, there will be enough local staff physician anesthesiologists to run the program with minimal international support.

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