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July 23, 2012

Continuing to improve continuing medical education

Collaboration is limitless at SickKids. Every day, our staff work with colleagues around the world to develop research, share expertise and learn new practices and techniques.

A partnership between Dr. Shelly Weiss, Staff Neurologist at SickKids, and Dr. Manish Parakh, Consultant Pediatric Neurologist and Associate Professor, Pediatric Medicine at Dr S N Medical College in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, will serve to enhance best practices in guiding international collaborations.

The project was developed as part of Parakh’s year-long fellowship at SickKids and was funded by the SickKids Foundation.

“We created this project to try to improve delivery of education by developing a curriculum in a collaborative manner with a rigorous method of evaluation,” says Weiss. “We had two goals: to develop a Continuing Medical Education (CME) activity to further enhance the clinical care of children in India with neurologic problems, and to publish guidelines on ‘best practices’ about providing education to colleagues working in areas with fewer medical resources.”

A senior paediatrician with interest in neurology, Parakh hosted the first part of the program, a CME activity held in India earlier this year called “Child Neurology for the Intensivist”.

The two-day conference included three SickKids faculty members along with Weiss:  Dr. Manohar Shroff (Radiologist in Chief), Dr. Mahendra Moharir (Staff Neurologist) and Guila BenDavid (CT manager).

The conference was co-taught by five members of the faculty from India including Parakh and was the first-ever medical education activity to be accredited as a CME event by the Rajasthan Medical Council. The delegates included over 75 Indian health-care professionals (primarily paediatricians, adult neurologists and psychologists).

“We believe it’s important to work with international partners and support efforts to build capacity and ensure sustainability,” says Lara Pietrolungo, Manager of International Program Development at SickKids International (SKI). “This project is an excellent example of the positive impact that can come from collaboration.”

Weiss and Parakh, with faculty from Canada and India, will be holding three more CME sessions this year via distance learning. The evaluations from all the CMEs will assist with the development of guidelines to improve the effectiveness of international CME provision, which will benefit others who develop CME activities in countries with sparser resources.

“Education is one of SickKids’ mandates and we fulfill this mandate by the training we provide to doctors from around the world to be better clinicians, researchers and educators,” says Weiss. “This project shows how important it is to have an ongoing association with our international colleagues. We have been able to work closely, with the support of SKI, with Dr. Parakh and share many insights through our collaborative work.”