My name is Danielle Ehret. I am a neonatologist at the University of Vermont Children's Hospital and Director of Global Health for Vermont Oxford Network (VON). Following VON's Annual Quality Congress in Chicago, IL, we recently held a post-conference Master Trainer Course in Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB) and Essential Care for Small Babies (ECSB), co-sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). I co-taught this course with a tremendous group of faculty including Vicki Flanagan, George Little, Sherri Bucher, Dee Millard, Carlos Ramos, Steve Ringer, and Bogale Worku.
Our course represented a passionate multi-disciplinary group of 40 participants and 8 faculty members from six countries gathered to learn and share together, in preparation for dissemination of this curriculum globally.
We kicked off this course with a hands-on introduction to the Quality Improvement curriculum under development, led and facilitated by Carl Bose. As approximately three-quarters of our group attended the VON Annual Quality Congress, this provided a wonderful transition from the quality improvement focus of the conference, into our Helping Babies Survive (HBS) content.
We surveyed our participants in advance of the course to learn of their experience with Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), and their plans for implementing ECEB and ECSB. We were surprised to learn that a significant number of our registrants did not have prior experience in HBB, especially implementing in a resource-limited setting. We offered and recommended an introductory session on HBB following the QI kick-off so that learners new to HBS could get exposed to the educational methodology and equipment. This offering proved to be immensely helpful in providing a more even foundation for our mixed group of participants, so that we could focus efforts on the ECEB/ECSB content and the skills of facilitation in the main ECEB/ECSB course. We then spent a full-day on ECEB, and a half-day on ECSB. Our faculty provided brief introductions to the different zones for the large group, with demonstrations, modeling, and feedback happening within the small groups at each table. Representatives from the AAP were present to provide an overview of utilizing HBS resources, including the website.
We also utilized our pre-course survey and registration information to assign tables for the course. We recognized the importance of evenly distributing the experience of providing care and implementing HBB in resource-limited settings amongst our small tables of learners. We were fortunate to have faculty and participants with tremendous international experience to provide insight on local adaptations, and provide context to the content of ECEB/ECSB. Feedback from our participants and faculty noted that this was a key strength of our course. To model an option for facilitating and planning courses, the faculty rotated tables the second day so that participants could work with and learn from different teaching styles. Following the course, we also distributed the list of participants' names, email contacts, and the sites in which they were working to promote ongoing collaboration and communication.
In reflecting upon the course, I am so proud to have taught with and learned from this fantastic group. The energy and passion for improving newborn care was palpable throughout the course, and new collaborations and friendships were formed. We would like to support these endeavors with additional opportunities to socialize and network, outside of the table assignments during the course. One improvement that we have identified for next year is to host an informal group dinner after our full-day session to build upon the inherent energy and provide more opportunities to learn from and work with each other. We look forward to building on this momentum and hosting an HBS course again next year!