Our nurse anesthesia program is well-known in the United States, and is now becoming known across the world. In 2005, we hosted two visitors from the Kigali Health Institute in Rwanda. Dr. Desire Ndushabandi, Rector of the Institute, and Mr. Charles Rangira, Director of Anesthesia, spent a week with the program administrators to learn about nurse anesthesia education here. The ambassadors knew of the good reputation of our program, and they wanted to observe our educational approach and resources. The purpose of the visit was for the ambassadors to learn about our teaching methods, evaluation techniques, interview process, and our 1988 transition from a diploma to a Master’s degree program.
The Kigali Health Institute serves to train various types of health care workers in Rwanda, and directors are seeking to transition their anesthesia program to a Master’s level of preparation. While here, the visitors observed our program both at the medical center and our university. The university's International Programs Office discussed possibilities for faculty and student exchanges with the Institute. Since the visit, we have established an ongoing relationship between our programs, whereby we provide support to the KHI in terms of curriculum consultation, textbooks, and clinical teaching tools. The relationship has been beneficial to both sides, as we share our experiences with one another.
In January, 2007, Dr. Rieker visited the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the Komfo Anoyke Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.
There, he learned about the struggles of this, the primary of only two anesthesia programs in the country, to teach and support nurse anesthetists with severely limited resources. He delivered lectures, and presented gifts of textbooks and airway devices to the program. This interaction also began a process of considering the development of a new training program in Ghana, as part of the Kybele collaboration (see more under Systems Redesign tab).
In 2009, in support of the Kybele project, Dr. Rieker and Dr. Holly Muir (of Duke University) met with institutional and regional representatives to begin the formal planning of a new nurse anesthesia training program, to be based at Ridge Hospital in Accra. The curriculum was formulated, budget and physical resources were determined, and assignment of key duties were carried out.
In the fall of 2009, the dream of a new training program in Ghana was realized, as the first 20 students were admitted. Back on site in January, 2010, Dr. Rieker delivered the keynote address at the students' matriculation ceremony. He and members of the Kybele organization provided a full week of didactic and clinical education to the students.
In 2011, a student and faculty exchange program was initiated between our programs in the U.S. and the anesthesia training program at Ridge Hospital in Ghana. A number of students and faculty members have already spent time visiting each others' programs under this exchange.
Pictured above are Jacob Wumbei (2011 President of the Ghana Association of Nurse Anesthetists) and Pearl Ansah, nurse anesthesia faculty members from Ghana with Alison Davis, SRNA at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Our program is becoming a hub of international training and exchange, and we are currently in contact with representatives from training programs or clinics in Kumasi, Ghana (Komfo-Anoyke Teaching Hospital), Leogane, Haiti, and Kampala, Uganda (the Wentz Medical Center).
Pictured above, Dr. Michael Rieker and clinical instructor Keith Penner with Dr. Martin Nkundeki (center), of the Wentz Medical Center in Uganda. Dr. Nkundeki visited the program to discuss opportunitites for future collaborations with staff and students.