Building Clinicians' Capacity with Point-of-Care Ultrasound

Ultrasound Uganda

Dr. Jessica Schmidt and Dr. Jim Svenson of the Department of Emergency Medicine have partnered with Dr. Peter Olupot-Olupot, Director of the Mbale Clinical Research Institute (MCRI) and Dr. Lisa Umphrey from the non-profit ATLAS International to expand training and research opportunities for clinicians at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH). Funded in part by a Seed Grant from the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin, they have created a program focused on point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) for use in low-resource settings. The program aims to build capacity of local clinicians by developing skills in POCUS and to improve patient care through clinical research.

Dr. Schmidt returned from MRRH in August, when she launched the training program and enrolled the initial cohort of physicians and clinical officers (similar to physician assistants). Along with Dr. Olupot-Olupot and Dr. William Okiror, a MPH student and physician, she also helped to finalize the study protocol for the POCUS project.

" The people just amaze me," said Dr. Schmidt. "The physicians are able to pick up and adapt this new technology so quickly and immediately put it into action to improve the care they provide to children. "

GHDr. Ilan Kolkowitz, class of 2020, helped Dr Schmidt launch the training—even sacrificing himself as an ultrasound model. He then spent an additional month at MRRH for his global health elective in the pediatric ward. During this time, Dr. Kolkowitz participated in daily morning rounds with the team, learning from the physicians about new diseases and how to manage them in a low-resource environment. In the afternoon, he was able work closely with that same team to teach new skills in POCUS and to see new pathologies through the lens of the ultrasound.

In October, global health fellow Dr. Arthur Chiu, class of 2019, spent three weeks giving training sessions and hands-on teaching. In addition, Dr. Chiu and Dr. Okiror began to enroll children in a research project which focuses on using POCUS in pediatric patients to better understand pediatric respiratory illness and sepsis.

Over the coming year, faculty, residents and fellows from the Department of Emergency Medicine will commit to teaching POCUS at MRRH. In addition, 14 clinicians in Mbale have enrolled in the training program and have already logged nearly 50 ultrasound scans. The University of Wisconsin and BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine are excited and honored to be part of this collaboration and look forward to seeing our family grow across borders and continents.

Learn more about the Ultrasound Uganda program here.