Dec 21, 2021

Global Health Update: December 2021

Two graduates of the MFM fellowship at Moi University in Kenya
Dr. Bett Kipchumba and Dr. Pallavi Mishra, graduates of the MFM fellowship at Moi University

—Dr. Rachel Spitzer, Vice Chair, Global Women's Health and Advocacy

Global Women's Health is thrilled to take this opportunity to update the department community on our fellowship programs, one at our partner institution Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, and the other here in Toronto.

Moi–Toronto collaboration results in Kenya's first locally trained MFM subspecialists

Through the extraordinary work of a team of dedicated (and almost exclusively virtual since the onset of the pandemic) teachers, led by maternal-fetal medicine division head Dr. Nan Okun, we are excited to announce the graduation of the first two maternal-fetal medicine fellows at Moi University! Dr. Pallavi Mishra and Dr. Bett Kipchumba have become the first locally trained MFM subspecialists in Kenya, completing a program that follows the example started through our similarly successful collaborative program in gynaecologic oncology.

Even through the pandemic, our fellowship continued as a truly collaborative partnership between the very devoted fellows and the U of T instructors. Every week, the fellows attended fetal rounds (supported by Dr. Greg Ryan) and maternal rounds (supported by Dr. Mathew Sermer), special lectures organized by Dr. Candice Silversides, and weekly case-based reviews supported by Dr. Okun. The quality of care improvement was visible from day one of the training program: a distinct benefit of training on site with support from a well resourced academic setting. Our fellows completed a robust final evaluation process including a written exam, adapted to the standards of the RCPSC, and an oral exam, including an external examiner, Dr. Karen Fung Kee Fung. All that remains is a visiting elective for training on fetal diagnosis and therapy, which will then further enhance complex pregnancy care at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

All curriculum components are aligned with the academic requirements of Moi University, the second largest university in Kenya, ensuring that within six years the fellowship will transition into a program fully run by Moi. As soon as they graduated, our new MFM consultants began to transition to teachers and mentors. The program now receives many consultations from outside Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and our new consultants are collaborating with the MFM consultant at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. Congratulations to our "pioneer" grads and to our entire team for this fantastic success that will improve health outcomes for the pregnant population of western Kenya.

Headshot of Dr. Jenny Yang
Dr. Jenny Yang

Dr. Jenny Yang joins department as fellow in global women's health and equity

We are also thrilled to welcome Dr. Jenny Yang to our local University of Toronto fellowship in global women's health and equity. Dr. Yang started with our program in July 2021 and has been enjoying the variety of rotations serving underserved populations at both academic centres and community sites. The fellowship focuses on areas of care that enhance our outreach and opportunities with underserved, global and local immigrant and refugee populations. Chiefs are staffing our supervised fellows' clinics in women's equity at Women's College Hospital and within the community at the Scarborough Centre for Immigrants and Refugees and Health Access Thorncliffe Park.

Dr. Yang is an obstetrician-gynaecologist from Australia who is passionate about global health and improving healthcare access and health outcomes of women and babies in low resource settings and marginalized populations. She has previously worked for Médecins Sans Frontières and in regional Australia where she has cared for First Nations Australian women from remote communities. She is particularly dedicated to improving obstetric outcomes and provision of more comprehensive obstetric services for these women for whom a multitude of barriers (including cultural, financial and geographic) exist and hopes this fellowship will equip her with further skills and knowledge to work towards this goal.