Minnesota-Based Global Health Course Offers Intensive Training for Clinicians in Partnership with M Simulation

Jennifer Syltie Johnson

Each May, the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Medicine offers a global health course providing intensive training for physicians, medical students, residents, fellows, and other health care providers who serve global mobile populations, such as immigrants, refugees or international travelers.

One of 17 similar courses offered worldwide and approved by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene as a diploma course, the in-person course is the only program of its kind offered in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, M Simulation partners with the Department of Medicine to collaboratively offer simulation-based education into the course to create a unique learning environment. In the varied settings, the focus is on clinical and laboratory skills required to deliver patient care in limited-resource settings.

Associate Professor of Medicine Brett Hendel-Paterson, MD, served as a co-director for the course from 2010-2020 and is currently one of five lead faculty for the Minnesota-Based Global Health Course.

Hendel-Paterson’s passion for global health was heightened while providing medical care in Haiti following a devastating 7.0 earthquake that killed an estimated 220,000 people.

“Historically, there’s been a U.S.-centric, high-income country view that assumes we can take our medical paradigm and export it to a completely different setting,” said Hendel-Paterson. “That is problematic. The best practices really have more to do with first seeking an understanding of the needs of our colleagues in lower resource settings and co-developing any interventions based on what they need and want.”

This past May, a total of 47 local, national, and international learners participated in the two-week course.

“It’s amazing to see the breadth of health care professionals attending—from medical students to resident physicians to mid-career clinicians looking to make a career change,” said Hendel-Peterson. “It spans geography, specialties and background.”

M Simulation team designs and delivers simulated training experiences for learners

M Simulation plays a key role in the course by emulating clinical scenarios commonly seen in resource-limited settings. M Simulation staff also set up procedural tasks such as starting an IV, draining an abscess, and other challenges clinicians may face in recognizing and treating tropical infections illnesses and other diseases in low-resource settings.

Aaron Yeshe, technical simulation coordinator for M Simulation, participates in the planning for the annual course with a focus on providing the highest quality simulation programming and innovatively incorporating technology into the curriculum.

“Each year informs the next year’s course,” said Yeshe. “We take feedback from the learners and the faculty and apply that information to the content the faculty leads want to deliver for the next course.”

The M Simulation team sets up a variety of equipment and simulated environments to provide learners with opportunities to manage cases involving diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cerebral malaria, poisoning, Ebola outbreaks, and a scenario of a patient gored by a buffalo.

“This was the first year we implemented this course in the Health Sciences Education Center, which was an exciting logistical challenge,” said Yeshe. “Each day of the course is like its own theater production.”

For more information, visit the Department of Medicine Global Medicine Courses & Certificates page.

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