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Global Health

Global Health education is offered at Children’s Mercy for all interested residents and fellows. The Global Health Track provides residents with an introduction to children's global health care issues. The Advanced Global Health Track offers a more in depth experience for residents. Fellows can participate at various levels depending on prior experiences and career goals. Our mission is to expose residents and fellows to global child health issues and begin to equip them with the knowledge and skills to address these issues both locally and internationally throughout their careers.

The educational sessions embedded in our curriculum include approximately six noon lectures per year on global pediatric health care. Faculty members with different expertise facilitate discussions and simulations covering all aspects of global health care, from infectious diseases, to ethical cases, to cultural competency. Utilizing their training in the Global Health track, third and fourth year (med peds) residents will also help facilitate.

In addition, there are four academic half days each year. Education during these sessions will include cases and hands-on workshops that train residents to think outside the box in tactile and practical ways to provide care in resource-limited settings.

Fellows are encouraged to attend sessions that fit into their schedule as participants or facilitators depending on previous global health experiences.

The local global health component is part of the required Advocacy month in residency. We believe a strong component of global health includes learning about and experiencing challenges faced by populations in Kansas City. We offer a vast range of experiences that expose residents to unique local opportunities addressing worldwide pediatric health problems. Some experiences include participation in citizenship classes and ESL tutoring, learning effective use of interpreters, international adoption clinic, Healthy Departures Travel Clinic, and cultural orientations for immigrants and refugees to address topics such as employment, finances, and healthcare. Fellows can also participate in community activities for exposure to the global populations in Kansas City or to expand on scholarly work.

In September 2019, we introduced an exciting new initiative called the Power of Play. This is a collaborative project with 2 main refugee resettlement agencies in Kansas City; Jewish Vocational Services and Catholic Charities. The AAP released a clinical report in the September 2018 issue of Pediatrics regarding “the power of play” and its ability to “regulate the body’s stress response.” Children of refugees and immigrants have been exposed to numerous amounts of toxic stress on top of having to uproot their entire lives moving to a new country. The Power of Play project provides a soccer ball or age appropriate ball for each newly arrived child. This small token is a reminder of the importance of play amidst the ongoing adversity each family faces. Brief surveys are given to the families by global health residents approximately one month after receipt of the ball to determine its impact on stress and parent-child bond.

 

Residents in the global health track and fellows with an interest in global health may be eligible to participate in an international elective. This elective is typically one month in duration and takes place in the final year of residency or fellowship. The elective fulfills requirements that will be discussed during meetings with the director of global health as well as your mentor. The goal is to match each resident and fellow with an international elective experience appropriate for the career and personal goals for each individual participant. We have partner sites in Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, and the Philippines. We also have affiliations with sites throughout Africa and Southeast Asia. We have had residents and fellows travel to 16 different countries within the last 5 years and continue to open new opportunities for international sites. A portion of your international elective is paid for by the residency program, and a competitive scholarship is available to help off-set the cost of the elective. All residents and fellows receive pre- and post- travel training.

International Sites

To view where residents have travelled, visit our International Sites page. There you will find a map with location for the past 5 years as well as the locations for the past two years with links to the posters that each resident presented at our annual Global Health Grand.

Faculty members at Children’s Mercy who have varying levels of experience in global health serve as mentors for the residents and fellows to help them pave a path to global health in their future practice. Each faculty member incorporates global health slightly differently into his or her career. Residents and fellows are paired with mentor(s) that best fit the trainees needs. When applicable, global health faculty mentors serve on fellow’s Scholarly Oversight Committees.

Scholarly work related to global health varies for each resident and fellow throughout their training. Fellows are required to participate in some form of scholarly work on their international elective. These projects have varied from educational and quality initiatives, to research projects. Residents have also participated in scholarly projects within the community throughout residency.

In June each year, residents and fellows showcase their global health scholarly work and international experiences at our Global Health Grand Rounds. Each resident and fellow that has participated in global health education prepares an academic poster on his or her experience. In addition, some residents and fellows have the opportunity to present at the CME-approved grand rounds. We also encourage regional and national presentations as well as manuscript submission when applicable. We have had residents and fellows present at the Global Health Learning Community session of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors Conference and the Section of International Child Health session of the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition. We have also had fellows work published in journals in Mexico and Peru through collaborations with international faculty.

To view some of the posters from previous years, check out our International Sites page.

Residents discuss their scholarly work in the grand rounds at Children's Mercy.

Residents: Advanced Global Health Track


This track is intended for the resident who comes with international experience already and is seeking a career in global health. There will be a maximum of 2 residents per year in the Advanced Track. The purpose of this track is for the resident to take a deeper dive into global child health issues and prepare him or her for working abroad or a global health fellowship. In addition to the above opportunities, residents in the Advanced Global Health Track may spend additional time internationally, conduct research with global or international populations, and/or attend additional training courses in topics such as skills in low resource settings, disaster and humanitarian emergencies, malnutrition, and Helping Babies Breathe. Also, residents will occasionally help assist the directors with providing some educational sessions throughout the course of residency.

Current Advanced Track residents, Allie Adam and Nana Wilmot, attended the Global Pediatric Skills Week at Boston Children’s Hospital in September 2019.

Children's Mercy Advance Track residents attend the Global Pediatric Skills Week at Boston Children’s Hospital.

 

"Exposure to global health is what led me to go into medicine in the first place. Anyone who knows me well knows I could talk until my face falls off about my experiences in Haiti. I’m excited to be able to expand on my prior experiences through the Advanced Track!"

Allie Adam, PGY2

“Having had the privilege of growing up in Ghana, I was always reminded of the vast inequality between social classes and inaccessibility of basic health services to the masses. By participating in the global health track, I will be able to hone my medical knowledge/skills and apply it in practical settings. I’m excited to participate in the Advanced Track to be able to have more networking opportunities and the opportunity to travel for a more extended period of time.”

Nana Wilmot, PGY2


Fellows


Fellows seeking additional training in global health beyond an international elective as described above, also have opportunities at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Once the fellow is on a successful path of completing the requirements for his or her subspecialty program, the Global Health Director works closely with the fellow and the fellow’s Program Director to offer educational opportunities based on fellow interest, previous experience, and career goals. These opportunities may include additional time internationally, scholarly research projects related to global health, and additional training courses pertinent to both global health and pediatric subspecialty. These opportunities do not interfere with completion of fellowship subspecialty requirements.

"Under the mentorship of Dr. Watts, as a Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellow, I had the opportunity to participate in global health experiences in Switzerland, India, Thailand and Laos. In addition to personal growth and gaining cultural competency, these experiences provided me with exposure to diseases that are not endemic to North America and exposure to children with late presentations of common diseases (such as older children with unrepaired congenital heart disease). In contrast to our local healthcare system, the low resource settings that I traveled to often lacked laboratory or imaging studies, which allowed me to strengthen my history and physical examination skills. I was able to teach and learn from in-country trainees and physicians during these rotations. My experiences in global health set the stage for a future in global health, with a mission of improving the acute care management of children globally by educating the next generation of in-country physicians."

Tania Ahluwalia, MD, Emergency Medicine Fellow