International journal of emergency medicine 2018 04 0611(1) 22 doi 10.1186/s12245-018-0182-y
In many resource-limited settings, emergency medicine (EM) is underdeveloped and formal EM training limited. Residencies and fellowships are an ideal long-term solution but cannot meet immediate needs for emergency providers, while short-term programs are often too limited in content. We describe a third method successfully implemented in Haiti: a medium-duration certificate program to meet the immediate need for emergency specialists.
In conjunction with the Haitian Ministry of Health and National Medical School, we developed and implemented a novel, 6-month EM certificate program to build human resources for health and emergency care capacity. The program consisted of didactic and supervised clinical components, covering core content in EM. Didactics included lectures, simulations, hands-on skill-sessions, and journal clubs. Supervised clinical time reinforced concepts and taught an EM approach to patient care.
Fourteen physicians from around Haiti successfully completed the program; all improved from their pre-test to post-test. At the end of the program and 9-month post-program evaluations, participants rated the program highly, and most felt they used their new knowledge daily. Participants found clinical supervision and simulation particularly useful. Key components to our program’s success included collaboration with the Ministry of Health and National Medical School, supervised clinical time, and the continual presence of a course director. The program could be improved by a more flexible curriculum and by grouping participants by baseline knowledge levels.
Medium-duration certificate programs offer a viable option for addressing immediate human resource gaps in emergency care, and our program offers a model for implementation in resource-limited settings. Similar options should be considered for other emerging specialties in resource-limited settings.