A model for global surgical training and capacity development: the Children’s of Alabama–Viet Nam pediatric neurosurgery partnership

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Abstract

  • © 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Introduction: Training capable and competent neurosurgeons to work in underserved regions of the world is an essential component of building global neurosurgical capacity. One strategy for achieving this goal is establishing longitudinal partnerships between institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and their counterparts in high-income countries (HICs) utilizing a multi-component model. We describe the initial experience of the Children’s of Alabama (COA) Global Surgery Program partnership with multiple Vietnamese neurosurgical centers. Methods: The training model developed by the COA Global Surgery Program utilizes three complementary and interdependent methods to expand neurosurgical capacity: in-country training, out-of-country training, and ongoing support and mentorship. Multiple Vietnamese hospital systems have participated in the partnership, including three hospitals in Hanoi and one hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Results: During the 7 years of the partnership, the COA and Viet Nam teams have collaborated on expanding pediatric neurosurgical care in numerous areas of clinical need including five subspecialized areas of pediatric neurosurgery: cerebrovascular, epilepsy, neuroendoscopy for hydrocephalus management, craniofacial, and neuro-oncology. Conclusion: Long-term partnerships between academic departments in LMICs and HICs focused on education and training are playing an increasingly important role in scaling up global surgical capacity. We believe that our multi-faceted approach consisting of in-country targeted hands-on training, out-of-country fellowship training at the mentor institution, and ongoing mentorship using telecollaboration and Internet-based tools is a viable and generalizable model for enhancing surgical capacity globally.
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  • Haji FA; Lepard JR; Davis MC; Lien ND; Can DDT; Hung CV; Thang LN; Rocque BG; Johnston JM