The Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery has enjoyed a very active period since our last newsletter. We have maintained our programs to try to increase the level of training at those training programs that we assist, and bring modern standards and consistency to the residency training. One of the ways we have done that has been boot camps. We have recently completed a boot camp in Nigeria, West Africa and will be instituting this concept of training for residents from many regional countries such as Chile for the central region of South America and Danang, Vietnam for Southeast Asia. We continue to partner with other organizations as well including the WFNS and their courses, and CAANS with courses to inaugurate the training of new residents into their first faculty position.
One of the great successes of this year was the FIENS course put on at the AANS by Dr. Gail Rosseau with the participation of many FIENS members. The course entitled “The Global Neurosurgical Practical Course” was devised to introduce interested neurosurgeons to the possibilities of service in the developing world. It includes concepts of humanitarian neurosurgery; the importance of educational missions; and provides information and details on the sort of cases, procedures, and experiences one might come across in the developing world. It is designed to encourage talented teachers to participate and understand that this is an achievable goal if done carefully. The course was a great success and will be repeated next spring at the AANS. People interested in information for the course are encouraged to contact our executive committee member of FIENS, Dr. Gail Rosseau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two major objectives have taken place during the past year through the collaboration of major philanthropy and FIENS. Through the generous donation of Dick Bassett of Miami we have been able to establish the Bassett-FIENS Fellowships. These are dedicated periods of study for residents in developing countries training at FIENS sites in the developing world who can travel to established educational centers affiliated with FIENS in the developed world, including North and South America, Europe, and Asia. These programs are three months in length, involve an extensive curriculum of simulation, OR observation, and importantly academic building where fellows are introduced through academic neurosurgery, writing, publishing and developing academic plans for their own programs on their return. This program has been a wonderful way to expand the areas of service and to focus those areas of service on a true educational model to allow them self-sustaining facilities established through funding from Mr. Bassett, matched by FIENS endowment. This would be a major jump for FIENS into the future.
The second major advancement for FIENS this year was through the establishment of the FIENS/Clack Family Scholarship. This program, through the generous endowment of the Clack family matched by FIENS endowment, allows residents to complete a year of training in their program primarily in Africa. The training programs in Africa such as Cape Town, Rabat, Nairobi, and Cairo have established slots for the first trainees from a region or a country in neurosurgery. It is essential that they are able to complete and establish their program in their home country. The Clack family understanding this need, has generously endowed this program, which FIENS matches, for selected candidates who do not have sufficient funding to complete (either due to financial restraints in their home country or other problems), a scholarship one year at a time to continue in FIENS-related programs. It is hoped that after the training, FIENS can help establish them in their home country, as well as an obligation to these candidates to continue to serve their people. This is a very forward thinking objective of the Clack Family, who have been generous philanthropists in many areas. It is our hope that this will continue to advance these programs and bring closer ties from the developed to the developing world. (A video of the Chair with the Clacks can be found under the tab, “What We Do – FIENS/Clack Scholarship”.
We are very grateful to the many people that support FIENS this year and every year. I look forward to continuing collaborative programs training more and more neurosurgeons to develop systems of quality care and, eventually, self-sustaining programs of neurosurgery in their developing countries. Thank you for all the help that so many have given us.
Robert J. Dempsey, MD, FACS, FAANS
Chairman and Manucher J. Javid Professor of Neurological Surgery
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin SMPH
Chairman, Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery
Co-Chairman, Co-ordinating Committee for International Initiatives for the WFNS