Intensive annual training prepares new generation of clinicians for global health service

A new generation of talented physicians, residents and health care professionals participated this summer in Texas Children’s Global Health Pre-Service Training in preparation for long-term clinical placements at network sites in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Global Health hosted the annual, month-long intensive training in July for five newly hired Texas Children’s Global Health Corps physicians, six Dr. Kelly DeScioli Global Child Health Pediatrics residents and one Global HOPE (oncology) Pharmacy Fellow.

The course included didactic lectures, interactive workshops, hands-on simulation sessions, expert panels, small group projects and laboratory trainings. Topics ranged from infectious diseases like tuberculosis, dengue, Chagas and malaria; to HIV pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment; and caring for non-communicable diseases in resource-limited settings including cardiology, endocrinology and nephrology care.

Participants also took part in sessions to enhance their understanding health systems, global health ethics, partnership principles and the history of colonialism in global health – tapping into the vast expertise and knowledge of faculty and staff at Texas Children’s, the Baylor College of Medicine, the wider Global Health Network and external institutions.

Scroll through the gallery below to see photos taken throughout the training, and watch a video here.

“It’s vital that physicians and learners we send to the Global Health Network sites are prepared not only with the medical knowledge to diagnose and treat unfamiliar diseases, but are also well-versed in global health ethics and principles of global health partnership, and prepared to navigate new health systems, work within resource constraints, and experience culture-shock,” said Dr. Heather Haq, course director and chief medical officer for the Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative.

Haq is part of the Pre-Service Planning Committee along with Lynnie Roth, Ratania Green, Catriona Gates and Dr. Mimi Abadie.

“One highlight for me was watching our participants present mock grant proposals to the TCH Global Health staff for critique,” she said. “It was wonderful to see our learners gain skills in grant-writing and budget development and to see the variety of project proposals they put together to address problems ranging from mental health to hypoglycemia.”

The course also counts toward requirements to sit for the Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travel Health examination offered through the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.

“Pre-Service Training allowed me to understand the pathophysiology, treatment options and diagnostic options which are vastly different from what we experience here in Houston,” said Global Child Health Resident Dr. Anirudh Vinnakota, who will be serving in Malawi.

“One of the sessions that I really appreciated was the point-of-care ultrasounds. I’ve always seen them being used in the Emergency Department but have personally never used them myself, especially for needle placement, IVs and diagnostic purposes,” Vinnakota said. “Those methodologies will be very useful with the technologies that are already currently in the in-patient settings in Malawi.”

About Texas Children’s Global Health Corps

Since its inception in 2005, Texas Children’s Global Health Corps has trained and sent more than 200 pediatricians and family doctors to sites across our Global Health Network. Physicians provide clinical care, technical assistance and shoulder-to-shoulder clinical mentorship, while supporting the Global Health Network to create curricula tailored to the structure and priorities of the local health systems in each country.

About Global Health learning opportunities

The Global Health Network connects U.S.-based residents and fellows to unique learning opportunities, including the one-of-a-kind Global Child Health Pediatrics Residency program that offers an integrated 4-year training program with one year of clinical service at a global health site; the only Global Women’s Health Residency training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; and fellowships in Global Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Global Women’s Health.

The goal of the Dr. Kelly DeScioli Global Child Health Pediatrics Residency Program is to prepare residents to address the critical need for lifesaving pediatric health care, pediatric education and training, clinical research and child advocacy in resource-limited settings, and to prepare residents for leadership roles in global child health.