ECFMG|FAIMER Supports Recommendations for Medical School Graduates Entering PGY-1 Residency Positions in Coming Months

On May 18, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, of which ECFMG®|FAIMER® is a member, released the final report of its work group on Learner Transitions from Medical Schools to Residency Programs in 2020. The report provides important and timely recommendations to mitigate the effects of pandemic-related disruption in the transition from undergraduate medical education to graduate medical education (GME) for more than 30,000 medical school graduates who will begin first-year (PGY-1) residency positions in the United States in the coming months.

ECFMG|FAIMER was represented on the work group, which considered the entire population of incoming PGY-1 residents, including more than 7,000 international medical graduates (IMGs), and the institutions and programs where they will train. The recommendations acknowledge that the pandemic may present elevated risks to the well-being of all PGY-1 residents and that IMGs may face unique challenges.

ECFMG|FAIMER strongly endorses the report’s recommendations, which include:

  • Accommodation of delayed arrival at residency programs due to reasons that include international travel, health concerns, visa issues, or licensure delays
  • Orientation to infection protection, including the provision of personal protective equipment and training in its use
  • Augmented relocation assistance in the form of referrals for services such as health care, housing, legal assistance, transportation, and child care
  • Augmented assessment and monitoring of resident well-being throughout the academic year
  • Enhanced cultural and community support for IMGs, in recognition of their increased risk for social isolation and other unique circumstances

For complete information, please read the final report.

As the J-1 visa sponsor for all foreign national physicians in U.S. GME, ECFMG|FAIMER is committed to the well-being of these physicians as they train in the United States. We welcome the Coalition’s coordinated and collaborative approach to protect all learners, as well as the broader health care workforce, patients, and the public.

ECFMG|FAIMER Endorses Recommendations and Resources for Medical Students, Trainees, and Physicians during COVID-19

On May 11, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, of which ECFMG®|FAIMER® is a member, released final reports from two work groups that examined critical issues facing medical students, residents, medical educators, and medical regulators during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

ECFMG|FAIMER membership on the work groups represented the unique needs and perspectives of international medical students/graduates (IMGs). ECFMG|FAIMER plays key roles in the transition of IMGs from undergraduate medical education to U.S. graduate medical education (GME)—certifying the readiness of IMGs to enter U.S. GME; serving as the designated “Dean’s Office” for IMGs using the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) to apply to U.S. GME programs; and sponsoring foreign national physicians for the J-1 visa to participate in such programs. ECFMG|FAIMER also is a leading expert on the medical credentials issued to physicians by medical schools and other institutions around the world. These credentials are a core component of establishing the qualifications of physicians.

ECFMG|FAIMER strongly endorses the work groups’ recommendations.

  • Medical Students in the Class of 2021: Moving Across Institutions for Post Graduate Training

The current health care crisis presents new challenges for medical students/graduates, trainees, and U.S. GME programs. This work group considered three major issues in preparation for the 2020-2021 residency cycle during the COVID-19 pandemic: away rotations, in-person interviews for residency, and the ERAS timeline. The recommendations, detailed in the following documents, will provide a consistent approach to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly reducing unnecessary confusion, stress, and inequity among students, and promoting a more successful residency selection process for all.

  • Maintaining Quality and Safety Standards Amid COVID-19

The pandemic has created a public health emergency that is rapidly altering the provision of health care services across the country. Physicians and other clinicians have responded with offers to provide care outside of their previously licensed jurisdiction and beyond their typical scope of practice. This work group has developed the following guidance and resources for the deployment of physicians, physicians in training (interns, residents, and fellows), and retired or inactive physicians, to ensure the safe delivery of quality clinical care during this unprecedented emergency.

The Coalition work groups exemplify the collaboration required to create the best solutions for all stakeholders impacted by the pandemic. ECFMG|FAIMER looks forward to continuing to join with Coalition members and other partners to find those solutions.

ECFMG|FAIMER Assisting New Jersey in Bolstering COVID-19 Physician Workforce

ECFMG|FAIMER will assist the State of New Jersey by confirming the authenticity of certain credential information of internationally licensed physicians seeking temporary medical licensure to help in New Jersey’s fight against the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. New Jersey announced its program to reinforce the state’s health workforce in a press release today.

ECFMG|FAIMER is the leading expert on the medical education and credentialing of physicians around the world. “During this public health crisis, we are proud to lend our expertise to the State of New Jersey,” said ECFMG|FAIMER President and CEO William W. Pinsky, MD. “We stand ready to assist other states and organizations in this time of need.”

More information on New Jersey’s program and an on-line portal for physicians who wish to register are available here. More information about ECFMG|FAIMER activities in response to the pandemic is available on this website.

ECFMG/FAIMER Boards Elect New Trustees

The Boards of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) elected six new trustees at their final meeting of the year on December 5. ECFMG/FAIMER trustees serve at-large, and five of the new trustees will serve four-year terms.

As part of the election, ECFMG/FAIMER established a new trustee position reserved for a U.S. resident or fellow who is an international medical graduate (IMG). A sixth new trustee was elected to this position, which is a voting member of the Boards with a two-year term.

“We are very pleased to welcome these six accomplished individuals to our Boards,” said William W. Pinsky, M.D., President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. Andrew T. Filak Jr., M.D., Chair of the ECFMG Board of Trustees, continued: “They all bring significant skills and experience to the stewardship of ECFMG/FAIMER as we explore new pathways to improve health care and medical education worldwide. The addition of the IMG resident/fellow perspective to our governance will be invaluable to enhancing our service to IMGs and their U.S. training programs.”

The new trustees are:

Cheryll Albold, Ph.D., MS. Ed.
Dr. Albold is an Assistant Professor of Medical Education at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and the Designated Institutional Administrator for the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education. In partnership with the Designated Institutional Official, she provides leadership and oversight for sponsoring institution and program accreditation activities governing over 300 residency and fellowship programs that enroll more than 1,800 trainees at campuses in Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, and the Mayo Clinic Health System. She has over 25 years of professional experience in a wide variety of education settings. Dr. Albold received both a Ph.D. degree in educational studies (higher education) and a certificate in educational research, measurement, and evaluation from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a master’s degree in counseling and student professional services from Fordham University.

Donald Craig Brater, M.D.
Dr. Brater is the Vice President of Programs at the Walther Cancer Foundation and President of the Regenstrief Foundation, both of which are based in Indianapolis. He served as the ninth dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine for 13 years before retiring from that position in 2013, at which time he was presented with the university’s highest honor, The University Medal, for his visionary leadership. He serves as a board member of BioCrossroads and is President of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. He also served on the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Medicine and served on the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Brater received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry and a Doctor of Medicine from Duke University.

Anne Marie Irani, M.D.
Dr. Irani is Emerita Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Virginia Commonwealth University and a U.S. Medical Expert in the Department of Medical Affairs within the Research and Development Section at GlaxoSmithKline. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Allergy and Immunology. She was the Co-Director of the Allergy/Immunology training program at Virginia Commonwealth University for 26 years. She has served on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; as an Associate Editor of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and is the current secretary treasurer for the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr. Irani graduated from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

Prerna Mona Khanna, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Khanna is a triple board-certified medical doctor, Emmy Award-winning multi-platform medical journalist, and an acclaimed humanitarian and disaster volunteer. She is the medical director of a thriving occupational medicine practice in Palm Springs, CA; a visiting clinical associate professor at her alma mater, the University of Illinois; and an affiliate of the Center for Global Health at the university. Her humanitarian work after numerous natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis has brought her overseas aid work to more than 14 countries. Dr. Khanna is a lifelong advocate of patient empowerment through consumer education, and has been recognized for dedicating thousands of hours since her student days in medical school to educating the public through speaking events, television broadcasts, and publications. Dr. Khanna earned her master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.

John Ogunkeye
John Ogunkeye is Chief Financial and Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Services for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Before joining ACGME, John held senior leadership positions at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Chicago Medical Center. In his role at ACGME, John is responsible for managing the organization’s administrative and financial systems as well as oversight of international consultations to governmental agencies in the evaluation and the design of medical education systems. Growing up the son of a diplomat, John lived in many countries, which drove his passion for working in the international arena. John holds Master of Science degrees in biology and health care administration.

Beatriz Wills, M.D. (IMG Resident/Fellow Trustee)
Dr. Wills is a hematology oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. Previously, she was an internal medicine resident in the Osler Internal Medicine Residency Program at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. A resident of Bogota, Colombia, she is studying on a J-1 visa sponsored by ECFMG. Dr. Wills completed medical school at Los Andes University in Colombia. Prior to her residency with Osler, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Johns Hopkins and has several journal publications to her credit. Her initial interest in medicine was influenced by her family, which includes several doctors. She is passionate about immunotherapy and hematologic malignancies, and aspires to become a world leader in oncology and medical education.

The December 5 meeting also was the last for Anne M. Murphy, J.D. and Daniel V. Schidlow, M.D., who are stepping down from the Boards. “I would like to thank Ms. Murphy and Dr. Schidlow for their years of dedication to ECFMG and FAIMER,” Dr. Filak said. “Their experience and expertise have helped lead us through a time of growth and change, and we are grateful for their service.”

ECFMG/FAIMER Convenes Stakeholders to Discuss Impact of Hahnemann University Hospital Closure

The Boards of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) held a biannual Stakeholder Engagement Forum on Friday. The Forum explored the impact of the closure of Philadelphia-based Hahnemann University Hospital, which occurred earlier this year and was the largest permanent displacement of medical trainees in U.S. history.

Doctor holding sign that reads "Closed"The closure of Hahnemann displaced about 570 medical residents and fellows, including 55 international physicians sponsored by ECFMG to train on J-1 visas. According to Dr. William W. Pinsky, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER, several of the organizations represented at the Stakeholder Engagement Forum joined in a coordinated effort to assist the displaced trainees.

“The closing of Hahnemann University Hospital had a significant impact on the city of Philadelphia, especially its patients. It also was a wake-up call for our nation,” Dr. Pinsky said. “Given the economics of health care in the United States, such incidents are likely to happen again. By engaging with other leading organizations like those represented here today, we will be better prepared to coordinate efforts to protect the interests of patients and the physicians in training who are a vital part of our physician workforce.”

Forum participants included John Andrews, M.D., Vice President, GME Innovation, American Medical Association; David Johnson, Chief Assessment Officer, Federation of State Medical Boards; David Kountz, M.D., Board of Directors, Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers; John Prescott, M.D., Chief Academic Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges; and Kevin Weiss, M.D., MPH, Chief Sponsoring Institutions and Clinical Learning Environment Officer, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. They joined ECFMG/FAIMER Trustees for the half-day session.

Held twice annually in Philadelphia, the Stakeholder Engagement Forums offer the opportunity for industry thought leaders to share perspectives on emerging trends and pressing issues and to strengthen partnerships among organizations involved in medical education and health care worldwide.

Dr. Pinsky Conducts National Media Tour with Renowned Forensic Pathologist

ECFMG President and CEO William W. Pinsky, M.D., on October 24 joined Bennet Omalu, M.D., the Nigerian-born forensic pathologist who was the subject of the 2015 film Concussion, for a television and radio tour of cities nationwide to talk about the importance of international medical graduates (IMGs) to health care in the United States.

William W. Pinsky & Bennet Omalu

From a studio in New York City, Drs. Pinsky and Omalu did 24 interviews via satellite with television and radio stations in 19 cities in 17 different states, including such large-market cities as Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, St. Louis, and Tampa.

During the interviews, Dr. Omalu talked about his path from medical school in Nigeria to being one of the eminent forensic pathologists in the United States. Dr. Pinsky discussed the important contributions that physicians, such as Dr. Omalu, make to health care in the nation.

Dr. Omalu identified and named the disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which results from repeated concussions suffered by athletes, including football players. He is the President and Medical Director of Bennet Omalu Pathology and author of the memoir Truth Doesn’t Have a Side, which was published in 2017 by Zondervan, HarperCollins.

The television and radio tour was part of Strategic Initiative 9 of the ECFMG/FAIMER strategic plan to be a thought leader and to serve as an active advocate for IMGs. In recent months, the Communications Department paired Dr. Pinsky with several IMGs to talk about the important contributions they make to U.S. health care, especially amidst a growing national physician shortage.

Dr. Pinsky did a video interview and opinion pieces in cardiology trade publications with Mandeep R. Mehra, M.D., a renowned cardiologist and medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Vascular Center; a widely published press release with Archana Chatterjee, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist in South Dakota; and a radio media tour with Beatriz Wills, M.D. of Colombia, an internist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

The television and radio tour with Dr. Omalu included interviews with the following media outlets (links to available interviews are included below):

  • KCTU, Wichita-Hutchinson, KS
  • KETV, Omaha, NE
  • KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa, OK
  • WYRQ-FM, Minneapolis, MN
  • Daybreak USA, IRN/USA Radio
  • Health Professional Radio
  • WXGM-FM, Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA
  • KTXA, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
  • WALA, Mobile-Pensacola, FL
  • WTWO, Terre Haute, IN
  • WHIG, Raleigh, NC
  • Spectrum News 13, Orlando, FL
  • KPLR, St. Louis, MO
  • KFKA-AM, Denver, CO (interview begins at 8:18)
  • WISR-AM, Pittsburgh, PA
  • News Around America
  • SNN 6, Tampa, FL
  • WKUL-FM, Birmingham, AL
  • Park City TV, Salt Lake City, UT
  • CONN TV
  • WFIF-AM, Hartford-New Haven, CT
  • Mississippi Hometown, Jackson, MS
  • Louisiana Hometown, New Orleans, LA
  • Sports Byline USA

Steven D. Kirkpatrick Selected as Next ECFMG/FAIMER Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) announced today that Steven D. Kirkpatrick, CPA, has been selected as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. Mr. Kirkpatrick will join ECFMG/FAIMER on September 30, 2019, succeeding Dennis M. Donohue, CPA, MBA, MS. Mr. Kirkpatrick will serve as a member of the ECFMG/FAIMER Executive Leadership Team.

“Steve has an extraordinary talent for balancing strategic expansion with continued smooth operation of existing services in the health care space,” said William W. Pinsky, MD, ECFMG President & CEO and FAIMER Board Chair. “He is an invaluable addition to our Executive Leadership Team as we seek continued development of our services to promote quality medical education and health care around the world.”

Mr. Kirkpatrick’s extensive experience includes strategic development, operations, and financial management of hospital systems, physician networks, and life care. Before joining ECFMG/FAIMER, Mr. Kirkpatrick was Director of Finance for the Main Line HealthCare Physician Network, a multi-specialty network of 400 physicians and more than 100 Advanced Practitioners serving suburban Philadelphia. Prior to this, he held a number of executive leadership roles with Fornance Physician Services and the Montgomery Healthcare System supported by Fornance, including Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Fornance, President of Fornance, and Senior Vice President of the Montgomery Healthcare System. As Senior Vice President of Einstein Physicians, Mr. Kirkpatrick led the integration of Fornance Physician Services into the Einstein Healthcare Network. Mr. Kirkpatrick’s experience also includes fourteen years as a Senior Audit Manager for Ernst & Young, where he served health care, non-profit, and other clients. As part of his responsibilities at Ernst & Young, Mr. Kirkpatrick provided strategic financial consultation on debt and equity financing transactions, business combinations, and start-up organizations.

For the past 20 years, Mr. Kirkpatrick has volunteered for Waverly Heights, Ltd., a senior living community serving the Main Line Philadelphia suburbs, where his roles have included Director; Chair of the Audit Committee; and member of the Finance, Risk Management, and Foundation Committees. Since 2006, he has volunteered as a Trustee of The Walden School, an independent, Montessori-based preschool and elementary school in Media, Pennsylvania, where his past roles also include Vice President and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. He also has served on the ECFMG/FAIMER Board of Trustees.

Mr. Kirkpatrick is a Certified Public Accountant in Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Medical Group Management Association. Mr. Kirkpatrick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware.

ECFMG Co-Organizing Symposium to Address Global Health Workforce Accreditation and Regulation Issues

ECFMG is pleased to announce that it is partnering with the World Health Organization and the Global Health Workforce Network to convene a Global Symposium on Health Workforce Accreditation and Regulation. The Global Symposium, to be held December 10-12, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey, will engage global experts to address issues in the accreditation of health worker education and the regulation of health workers, with the goal of expanding and optimizing the global health workforce. More information is available in the announcement.

We are now inviting abstracts for poster presentations related to the Global Symposium’s themes. For more information on submitting an abstract, please visit the Global Symposium website at http://www.healthworkforce2019.org.

New Case Studies Offer Actionable Insights to Reduce Clinician Burnout and Improve Well-Being

Clinicians of all kinds, across all specialties and care settings, are experiencing alarming rates of burnout. New case studies from the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience provide an overview of initiatives that reduce clinician burnout and support clinician well-being at organizations across the country.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) is a member of the NAM Action Collaborative. Every year, ECFMG sponsors more than 11,000 foreign national physicians in J-1 visa status to participate in U.S. clinical training programs. These residents and fellows face the stresses of living and working in a foreign country in addition to the significant demands of their training programs. ECFMG and its Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) are refining several initiatives to support these physicians and meet their unique needs.

“Our mission at ECFMG/FAIMER is to advance medical education and help improve health care worldwide,” said Dr. William W. Pinsky, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. “These case studies are important examples of how we can attend to the needs of clinicians, so they can attend to the needs of their patients.”

The NAM hopes that each case study serves as an idea-generating resource for leaders to implement programs and policies at their own organizations that address systemic factors that contribute to clinician burnout. Each case study is designed to help readers more fully understand the successes that organizations have had in implementing well-being programs.

Ohio State University Case Study

At Ohio State University, initiatives to address burnout and promote the well-being of medical, nursing, and health sciences students, trainees, and practicing clinicians are supported by the highest levels of leadership, including the university president. This case study explores the central coordination and alignment of well-being initiatives that span the university, as well as focused examples of programs and policies within the College of Nursing, College of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine Residency Program, and the Wexner Medical Center. The Ohio State University case study also explores the role of the University Chief Wellness Officer in advancing the professional fulfillment and well-being of the entire university community. Ohio State calculates a cumulative productivity net savings of over $15 million from wellness programming as well as a $3.65 return-on-investment for every dollar invested in wellness. Additional impact includes decreased anxiety, depression, stress, and suicidal intent among students, faculty, and staff as well as increased academic performance and levels of healthy lifestyle behaviors. University Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Bernadette Melnyk notes, “Leaders, faculty, and managers must ‘walk the talk’ and provide needed wellness resources as well as support for ‘grassroots’ initiatives. The return on and value of investment—including faculty, staff, and students who are happy, healthy, and engaged—will be well worth it.”

Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center Case Study

The Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center, an outpatient clinic located outside of Seattle in Kirkland, WA, utilizes an innovative, system-wide management method to improve patient care and safety by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. This management method is used to streamline repetitive aspects of care delivery, standardize clinical roles, and engage in continuous learning activities. Two pillars play a central role in improving wellbeing at the medical center: (1) Workflow optimization and (2) Promoting a culture of collegiality, respect, and innovation. Kirkland Medical Center relies heavily on the integration of clinical pharmacists into the care team to free up time for physicians, physician assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners to see patients with more complex conditions. Medical assistants help reduce clinician workload and manage administrative tasks, such as confirming patient medications, processing orders, and replying to patient portal messages. Mandatory “pauses” after every 3-5 patient visits allow clinicians to address documentation needs throughout the day, ensuring that all clinicians can leave for home within one hour of seeing their last patient. Surveys from the medical center show that 90% of Kirkland Medical Center’s non-clinician staff and 93% of clinicians are “content” or “engaged.”

The development of each case study was informed by expert interviews with professionals from each organization. The NAM conducted preliminary interviews, in-person site visits, extensive follow-up interviews, and document review for each case study. Additional case studies are forthcoming.

Read the full case studies: nam.edu/clinicianwellbeing/case-studies.

For questions, please contact the National Academy of Medicine at ClinicianWellBeing@nas.edu.

ECFMG/FAIMER Awards $180,000 in Grants to Support Global Community Health Projects

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) on Monday announced the award recipients from the 2019 Projects That Work competition. Each of the six projects will receive a $30,000 grant from ECFMG/FAIMER and the opportunity to send a representative to present the project on the world stage.

Launched in 2013, Projects That Work is an annual international competition that shines a spotlight on projects that have had a significant impact on the health of communities and the education of health professionals. This year, for the first time, ECFMG/FAIMER is awarding $180,000 to help recipients expand their work. A representative from each project will present his/her project at the 2019 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) to be held September 10-13 in Darwin, Australia.

“The projects are an important link between capacity building of health workers and impact on community health,” says William Burdick, MD, FAIMER’s Vice President for Education. “Our Projects That Work competition highlights the teamwork, innovation, and evaluation that characterize the best of these. We are committed to improving world health through education, and these outstanding projects help advance that important mission.”

For this year’s competition, ECFMG/FAIMER received 53 applications from around the world. Applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel of international reviewers with a wide variety of expertise in health professions education.

Attisso Komlan Dabla
Ending Preventable Deaths in Togo is one of six recipients of the 2019 Projects That Work Awards

The 2019 projects and representatives are:

Project: Chamas for Change: An Integrated Maternal and Child Peer Support and Micro-finance Model in Western Kenya
Country: Kenya
Representative: Laura Ruhl

Chamas for Change is a Community Health Volunteer (CHV)-led peer-support model that empowers women with health education and microfinance literacy during pregnancy and throughout their children’s infancy. Women participating in the program are engaged over three years. They join during the antenatal period and continue through the first and second years postpartum. The intervention combines best practices from women’s health groups and microfinance programs to improve maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) outcomes. Currently, nearly 2,000 women participate in 122 chamas (societies), led by 214 CHVs across the participating counties. A pilot study was conducted and showed a very positive impact on MNCH, and they are in the process of conducting a larger-scale validation study.

Project: ECO-SAN
Country: Rwanda
Representative: Ange Seminega

ECO-SAN was formed in May 2015 as a collaboration between the University of Rwanda and Water for People, to construct latrines for 17 selected families and at three schools for the Batwa, a socially marginalized group in Rwanda that face significant discrimination in education, housing, and employment. There is a high rate of diarrhea and pneumonia-related diseases among the Batwa, so this project aims to raise awareness about hygiene and sanitation through school education and monthly community meetings. The ECO-SAN project has taught thousands of community members proper hygiene techniques, how to properly take care of the latrines, and how to build new ones. By the end of the first year there was a sharp decrease in diarrhea and pneumonia-related cases.

Project: Ending Preventable Deaths in Togo
Country: Togo
Representative: Attisso Komlan Désiré Dabla

The Integrate Health program is aimed at raising the standard of emergency maternal care in under-served and rural areas of Togo, where maternal and child (under five) mortality rates are very high and many of these deaths are from diseases that are entirely treatable at very low costs. The program trains, equips, and supervises community health workers to provide home-based care, and trains traditional healers to help identify danger signs and refer sick women and children to appropriate care. It was piloted effectively in three rural communities and one peri-urban community from 2015 to 2018, and preliminary data indicates a 50 percent reduction in child mortality in those pilot communities.

Project: Improving Malawian Pediatric Assessment and Care through Training (IMPACT)
Country: Malawi
Representative: Charles Mulilima

The IMPACT project began in 2014 to fill the need of providing pre-service Emergency Triage, Assessment, and Treatment (ETAT) training to healthcare professionals in Malawi, ensuring effective patient care to even the most isolated regions. Pre-service ETAT training has been implemented at three universities to teach medical and nursing students early identification management of children with emergency conditions. IMPACT is responsible for the training of lecturers and mobilizing resources for student training. The project leaders also offer refresher training sessions for former students and have developed participant and facilitator manuals for pre-service use. With IMPACT, many new physicians are adequately trained in ETAT procedures and have the skills to perform quality in-patient pediatric care to reduce child mortality.

Project: The Mfangano Health Navigation Program
Country: Kenya
Representative: Robinson Okeyo

The Organic Health Response (OHR) and the Ekialo Kiona Center (EKC) developed the Health Navigation Program to sustainably strengthen maternal emergency care in the Mfangano Island region along the shores of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. Approximately 30,000 people reside in these remote fishing communities, which are a two-hour boat ride from the mainland and have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in East Africa. Since the project began in 2014, OHR-EKC has trained more than 30 Health Navigators who have aided with nearly 550 emergency transfers between island facilities and mainland hospitals, with an average response time of 14.44 minutes. This project developed comprehensive referral protocols for two remote Ministry of Health facilities, has written safe birth plans for more than 310 pregnancies, and has implemented the region’s first 24-hour emergency boat service.

Project: Wax and Gold
Country: Ethiopia
Representative: Suzanne Hally

Wax and Gold, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, worked with the staff at Saint Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa to design a comprehensive program that trains existing hospital staff to provide on-site birthing care, attend all deliveries, and perform newborn stabilization and resuscitation. This Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS) team is selected from hospital staff members who have Bachelor of Science degrees and a minimum of two years of bedside patient care experience. Baseline data taken before and after the employment of full-time NALS teams show that neonatal mortality decreased from 3.53 percent to .33 percent, and rate of admission into the newborn intensive care unit decreased from 22.8 percent to 10.4 percent in two years.

Eric Nizeyimana of Rwanda, who originally was selected as a 2018 Projects That Work recipient, also will present at the 2019 Network: TUFH conference. His project is titled Community-Based Malaria Prevention Empowerment.

For more information on the Projects That Work competition, visit www.faimer.org/project-competitions/projects-that-work.html.