Offering an American Graduate Medical HIV Course to Health Care Workers in Resource-Limited Settings via the Internet
ABSTRACT Western accredited medical universities can offer graduate-level academic courses to health care workers (HCWs) in resource-limited settings through the internet. It is not known whether HCWs are interested in these online courses, whether they can perform as well as matriculated students, or whether such courses are educationally or practically relevant.
In 2011, the University of Washington (UW) Schools of Medicine and Nursing offered the graduate course, "Clinical Management of HIV", to HCWs that included a demographic survey, knowledge assessment, and course evaluation. UW faculty delivered HIV clinical topics through ten 2-hour weekly sessions from the perspectives of practicing HIV medicine in developed and developing settings. HCWs viewed lectures through Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro (Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA), and completed online homework on HIV Web Study (http://depts.washington.edu/hivaids/) and online quizzes. HCWs, who met the same passing requirements as UW students by attending 80% lectures, completing ≥90% homework, and achieving a cumulative ≥70% grade on quizzes, were awarded a certificate. 369 HCWs at 33 sites in 21 countries joined the course in 2011, a >15-fold increase since the course was first offered in 2007. The majority of HCWs came from Africa (72%), and most were physicians (41%), nurses (22%), or midlevel practitioners (20%). 298 HCWs (81%) passed all requirements and earned a certificate. In a paired analysis of pre- and post-course HIV knowledge assessments, 56% of HCWs improved their post-course score (p<0.0001) with 27% improving by at least 30%. In the course evaluation, most HCWs rated the course as excellent (53%) or very good (39%).
This online HIV course demonstrated that opening a Western graduate medical and nursing curriculum to HCWs in resource-limited settings is feasible, popular, and valuable, and may address logistic and economic barriers to the provision of high quality education in these settings.
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ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Surgical conditions are an important component of global disease burden, due in part to critical shortages of adequately trained surgical providers in low- and middle-income countries. OBJECTIVES To assess the use of Internet-based educational platforms as a feasible approach to augmenting the education and training of surgical providers in these settings. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Access to two online curricula was offered to 75 surgical faculty and trainees from 12 low- and middle-income countries for 60 days. The Surgical Council on Resident Education web portal was designed for general surgery trainees in the United States, and the School for Surgeons website was built by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland specifically for the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa. Participants completed an anonymous online survey detailing their experiences with both platforms. Voluntary respondents were daily Internet users and endorsed frequent use of both print and online textbooks as references. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Likert scale survey questionnaire responses indicating overall and content-specific experiences with the Surgical Council on Resident Education and School for Surgeons curricula. RESULTS Survey responses were received from 27 participants. Both online curricula were rated favorably, with no statistically significant differences in stated willingness to use and recommend either platform to colleagues. Despite regional variations in practice context, there were few perceived hurdles to future curriculum adoption. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Both the Surgical Council on Resident Education and School for Surgeons educational curricula were well received by respondents in low- and middle-income countries. Although one was designed for US surgical postgraduates and the other for sub-Saharan African surgical providers, there were no significant differences detected in participant responses between the two platforms. Online educational resources have promise as an effective means to enhance the education of surgical providers in low- and middle-income countries.JAMA SURGERY 02/2014; 149(4). DOI:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.4830 · 4.30 Impact Factor