Trains local doctors in developing nations in radiology to save lives.
As we have moved into a new decade, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we work, live, provide care and interact with each other.
In 2020, we had planned to visit Cambodia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka - all of which are impacted by the current travel restrictions and on hold until further notice.
We have shifted our focus on providing support, assistance and education to our colleagues in developing nations through our online programs, including webinars, the RAB Filmbank and targeted COVID-19 panel presentations by Professor Thomas Gottlieb, Dr Ben Kwan, Dr Catherine Jones and Dr Jason Zhang.
Our new Sonographer Mentorship Program provides the opportunity for 1-1 mentorship for colleagues in developing nations to learn from experienced technicians in Australia and New Zealand. We are expanding our RAB library and focussing on the next phase of our TIDES project. Our Diploma project is progressing well with a few to commence at the end of the year.
Once the travel restrictions lift, I hope to provide you with inspiring updates from our site visits, be that this year or next.
Until then, I hope for you and your families to stay safe. We are in this together and we are committed to support each other to the best of our abilities.
Radiology across borders in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Radiopaedia, with support from E-Integrity Riti are well advanced in the design of an international graduate certificate in radiology. This one-year online certificate will provide comprehensive teaching in the basic core radiology required to provide sound guidance in the management of radiological issues. It doesn’t matter what corner of the globe you are in, how far you are from the next major city/town, as long as you have access to a computer and some form of Internet access, you can undertake this novel graduate certificate. The certificate will cover the core topics that are required to have some basic radiology skills and will be available to any medical practitioner or health professional in developing nations.
All the core subspecialties are covered in the certificate with the core material coming from the British E-Integrity Riti program. This will be supplemented with cases and material from Radiopaedia and personal material of the core radiologists involved. In addition, there will be case-based video lectures, video tutorials as well as monthly clinical sessions with the clinical leads of the project. The assessment and some of the content will also be provided by the University of British Columbia, who we are working with to for it to become recognised as an official graduate certificate.
We are working towards the commencement of this novel project by the end of the year. From our understanding, a project of this nature in radiology has never been achieved online before for developing nations, due to the complexity of such a project. It has been made possible due to the exceptional skills and unwavering commitment of the project lead Ailsa Cowie. She has been supported by many key members who unfortunately are too many to list in this article. However a special mention is made to thank Professors Bruce Forster and Pete Tonseth of UBC as well as Dr Shane Greek, Dr Henry Knipe of Radiopaedia and from RAB, Drs Matt Andrews, Jash Agraval, Sohrabh Memon, Parveen Sidhu, Salman Ansari, Trina Whittaker, Arjuna Somanathan, Greg Briggs, John Pereira, Mr Steve Hardwick and Professor Richard Mendelson.
Film Bank Quiz (FBQ) - New Project Update
We are excited to announce the launch of a new learning initiative, the RAB Film Bank Quiz (FBQ). From its origins as an 'in house' Integral Diagnostics monthly interesting case presentation, it has been adapted and developed into a monthly case-based educational programme available for all RAB members and in particular, members in developing nations. This has only been possible due to the valuable contributions from many individuals, including Dr Katerina Mastrocostas, Dr Henry Knipe, Stephen Hardwick, Kacey Blake, Dr Suresh de Silva and Julian Gully.
The FBQ will run over 12 months, commencing from April with trial cases. Each month, a new case will be featured, consisting of clinical history, corresponding imaging and a series of questions. The selected cases aim to illustrate interesting and/or important radiological findings and will cover a broad range of body systems, serving as a stimulus for further learning. At the end of each case, suggestions for further reading will also be provided.
From August, registrants in developing nations who undertake the quiz every month over a 12 month period will have their quiz responses assessed and will be in the running for prizes; to be awarded twice yearly to those who score the highest.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Radiology Across Borders has been able to provide education about the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Several very informative and well-attended webinars were held on the clinical and radiological aspects of the virus. A special thanks to Professor Thomas Gottlieb and Drs Ben Kwan, Catherine Jones and Jason Zhang.
A COVID-19 online page on our website was also added providing relevant information and video material. With thanks to Professor Bruce Forster and Professor Pete Tonseth from the University of British Columbia who have provided much of this material for us.
We plan to continue to update the page with quality material and conduct further relevant teleconferences as the pandemic progresses.
NEW - Sonoprahper and Radiographer Mentorship Pilot Program
As a result of the current travel restrictions globally, we have been focussing on ways we can still provide assistance and support to our colleagues in developing nations.
This new program offers the opportunity for a virtual 1-1 mentorship over a 2-month period for colleagues in developing nations who would like to be tutored by a more experienced sonographer or radiographer.
We look forward to updating you along the way on this exciting new project!
TIDES (Teleradiology in Disaster Events, Screening and Second opinions) Update
The TIDES project was successfully trialled between August 2019 and March 2020 to provide teleradiology in disaster events and second opinions on difficult cases. TIDES averaged one referral each week with a turnaround response time of 48 hours. The cases were challenging and varied including neuroradiology, ENT, paediatrics and body imaging.
The formal review of the 6-month trial gave directions for the future of the project in 2020 and beyond as it plans to start again and add another nation.
Steve Bell - Isolation Marathon Fundraising
One of my early memories as a child was sitting on the side of St Kilda Road, between the Arts Centre and the Concert Hall in Melbourne, waiting for my Dad to run up to the finish line of the Melbourne marathon. Quite a few years ago now I made a commitment to Dad to run a marathon before I was 40....a commitment I did not manage to keep for no really good reason.
The O’Keefe Challenge near Bendigo which raises money for a local dementia facility was quite rightly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite fully supporting the lock-down rules here in Australia, there was also a degree of disappointment for me after all this training; training which is rather painful for someone who is not a natural, long-distance runner.
As such, I have decided to run my own isolation marathon to make use of all this training, and also try to raise a little money for Radiology Across Borders who are a wonderful organisation training doctors in developing nations in many aspects of radiology. To be honest, I had no idea how much money could be raised by one person getting dizzy running around and around the same block for upwards of four hours before the sun comes up on a Sunday morning. Looking at my network on LinkedIn, I see that I have over 5,000 connections and a little simple mathematics says that at just under $1 donated per connection I could raise $4,219.50 or a nice, round $100 per kilometre. So that was my aim and I was hopeful that many people in my network could get an introduction to the great work that Radiology Across Borders do, and take this opportunity to make a donation to support RAB through this isolation marathon.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues, followers and family for their tremendous support as we far exceeded our goal and raised $5,398.00.
Finally, I need to say that the chance to raise even a little money for Radiology Across Borders is an over-riding driver in getting me to the end of this ’race’. I remain very impressed by this organisation, and especially the people who volunteer their time and skills to improve the lives of people in developing countries through the delivery of high-quality education in radiology. I think every dollar going to RAB will be a dollar well invested which makes a repetitive loop of my block for a few hours an absolute pleasure
Steven Bell Siemens Healthineers Senior Vice-President Diagnostic Imaging and Digital Health Asia-Pacific
Renee Johnston - 3000km New Zealand Bike Ride Fundraiser We recently followed Renee as she cycled the length of New Zealand and raised:
$2629 for RAB!
Having heard about RAB in 2019, Renee knew this was a charity she wanted to raise awareness about. This decision helped her through the most challenging and toughest days, knowing she had a spot tracker showing her progress to her supporters who were cheering her all the way along to the finish line.
Thank you, Renee, and to all those who supported her adventure and gave financially to our work.
Why I share my time and expertise with RAB in developing nations
- Matt Andrews
When I decided to set out on my journey into medicine, one of my reasons for doing so was to help people in my local community and in the third world. During my time as a junior doctor, my wife and I travelled for 3 months through South-East Asia, and we used this as an opportunity to see where our skills may be used in the future. We visited several local hospitals and met with doctors, and ran an outreach clinic in rural Cambodia. It struck me that there wasn’t a need for more overseas doctors per se, but rather, for the education of the local doctors, nurses and other medical staff who spoke the local language and understood the needs of the people much better than we did.
As I specialised in Radiology, it became even clearer that education was a major way I could contribute my skills. There would be little to be gained in heading to a third world country for a couple of weeks and reporting several hundred x-rays. I partnered with Radiology Across Borders towards the end of my radiology training, and have since given a webinar, and travelled to Cambodia in 2018 and 2019 to help give the annual lecture series.
I believe that education leads to better radiologists, and this, in turn, will improve the healthcare outcome of many more patients. I am fortunate to have received high-quality training throughout medical school and fellowship and am in a privileged position to now pass that knowledge on to other radiologists, registrars, sonographers and other local medical staff.
On these visits, I have been able to combine some travel, accompanied by my wife, within Cambodia to Siem Reap and an island in the Gulf of Thailand, Song Saa, and with visits to neighbouring countries Vietnam and Thailand. With my daughter, I travelled to the south to the Tatai river to a jungle lodge.
The connections with our colleagues in other countries are probably the most important thing that comes out of all of this. The younger Radiologists who visited maintain contact and exchange cases and queries with some of the Radiologists they met.
Over multiple visits and this time, people who were trainees at the time of my first visit have become Radiologists at various hospitals in Phnom Penh. The relationship with the President and Secretary of the CAR has strengthened. My understanding of the conditions and requirements in Cambodia has increased. The facilities in Cambodia are advancing rapidly. The radiologists’ skills are advancing and on our last trip, there was a lot of interest from the radiologists in learning Ultrasound-guided injection technique. Musculoskeletal imaging is a relatively new area expanding rapidly in their practices.
A meeting was planned for July 2020 with a predominately gastroenterological and genitourinary content in conjunction with ARGANZ, RAB and CAR. The organising committee includes young radiologists who were trainees at the time of my first visit. This meeting is postponed due to COVID 19.
I have seen a lot, and learned a lot, about the world and people and myself. I would strongly recommend this type of involvement to anyone with a curiosity to look at the world in a new way.