Preparing Residents for Global Health Experiences

The Midwest Consortium of Global Child Health Educators, co-founded in 2010 in part by University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics faculty Sabrina Butteris, MD, and Nicole St. Clair, MD, is helping U.S. pediatric residency programs better prepare residents for global health experiences.

In October 2017, representatives from its seven participating institutions—including nine UW Department of Pediatrics faculty, residents and staff—piloted a full-day “boot camp” that aims to ensure that learners are ready for the clinical, emotional and ethical challenges of practice in a resource-limited setting.

During the pilot, eight medical students, 12 residents and one practicing pediatrician participated in case simulations and skills workshops that mimicked scenarios encountered in global health experiences. They also took part in discussions on culture shock, wellness and ethics—issues that affect learners working abroad, but that might be difficult to imagine ahead of time.

The boot camp brought together tools and best practices already developed by Consortium members, including the Simulation Use for Global Away Rotations (SUGAR) curriculum that Dr. Butteris and University of Minnesota colleague Michael Pitt, MD, launched in 2013.

October’s meeting was the first opportunity to test the full boot camp, called SUGAR Predeparture Activities Curricular Kit (SUGAR PACK), with learners, whose initial evaluations were positive. The team then fine-tuned the boot camp and rolled it out in March at the Association of Pediatric Program Directors annual spring meeting.

Dr. Butteris, chair of the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Global Health Task Force, along with colleague Maneesh Batra, MD, MPH, from the University of Washington, is also co-leading the development of a series of manuscripts on global child health slated for submission to Pediatrics.

Three articles in that series, “Partnerships for Global Child Health,” “Global Health: Preparation for Working in Resource-Limited Settings” and “Supporting Global Health at the Pediatric Department Level: Why and How” have already been published. In addition, Dr. St. Clair is the lead editor on a guide—currently in development through an ABP Global Health Task Force trainee workgroup—that will be a resource for pediatric educators who wish to provide meaningful global health education for residents and fellows.