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New website launched to strengthen international medical links

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Health and also in Communities, Education

Since 1996, the University of Leicester has been medically linked with hospitals and the University of Gondar in Gondar, Ethiopia. This significant academic relationship has now been strengthened further through the development of a website, called Leicester Gondar CTP, which will maximize the bond between the institutions by offering expert medical teaching in an easy to use format.

The website has been developed by staff in Leicester - including University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), Health Action Leicester for Ethiopia (HALE), De Montfort University and Leicester Partnership NHS – who have formed the Leicester-Gondar Collaborative Teaching Project to encourage collaborative teaching and working between Leicester and Gondar.

The website is deliberately collaborative, inviting users to submit material for teaching purposes and discuss them. While the initial content is clinical, its scope will be broadened over time to encompass wider academic areas, allowing for synergy across fields for the benefit of both Leicester and Ethiopia. 

The website project was initiated by Dr Barrie Rathbone (Consultant Gastroenterologist at UHL) following a visit to Gondar in 2012 and developed with a small team including Dr Daniel Rogers (Consultant Gastroenterologist), Dr Rob Jay (Foundation year 2 doctor, UHL), Dr Rakesh Patel (Specialist Registrar in Nephrology, UHL) and Terese Bird (Learning Technologist, University of Leicester).

Terese Bird, from the University of Leicester’s Institute of Learning Innovation, provided all of the podcast technical support for the project. In 2010 she was awarded the Highly Commended in the Association for Learning Technology Learning Technologist of the Year Individual Award.

Terese said: “The Leicester-Gondar Medical Link is a project that instantly appealed to me. I felt that I could really be of help to people who needed it by helping Leicester medical staff implement simple methods of creating and sharing multimedia learning material. The podcasts and videos are creative commons licensed, so anyone can use them. Now I’m really looking forward to seeing how the materials are received and used, and then helping Gondar colleagues to create their own materials and share back – that will be really exciting.“ 

Material is submitted to the website through specific standardized templates, such as ‘in 5 minutes’, ‘in 10 Slides’ or case studies. Podcasts currently featured on the website include: Upper GI Bleeding in 5 minutes; Hepatic Encephalopathy in 5 minutes; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in 5 minutes; and abdominal x-rays in 5 minutes. 

The team has also developed video podcasts on the subjects of resuscitation and assessment for ill patients, physical examination skills and clinical skills. Information on Nursing, Midwifery, Psychiatry and Paediatrics will also be added to the website, which will be expanding to cover all areas of medicine and surgery. 

The project came about after a visit to Gondar where it was discovered that, while the clinicians were of excellent quality, they were quite isolated and in the early stages of developing medical subspecialties. The project was set up to provide useful learning material for trainees in both Leicester and Gondar with the aim that material will be provided from both ends of the link.

The website will be officially launched at the Royal College of Physicians Meeting on Wednesday 11 December 2013 at the University of Leicester’s Stamford Court Conference venue.  The project will have a stand and demonstrations will be given.

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