Since 2013, the Emory University Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipids has participated in teaching and training fellows in the Addis Ababa University (AAU) Endocrine Fellowship Program through Emory’s Global Health Residency Scholars Program (GHRSP). The endocrinology fellowship program in Ethiopia began in 2008, when the prevalence of diabetes began to rise.
Currently, it is estimated that there are 1.6 million adults with undiagnosed diabetes in Ethiopia. When the fellowship program began, there were only four practicing endocrinologists in the entire country. In 2014, the first two endocrine fellows completed their fellowships; they have since joined the faculty at AAU.
In 2013 AAU’s Helen Yifter, MD traveled to Emory as a visiting endocrine fellow. In 2014 and 2015, Emory endocrinology fellows Sonya Haw, MD and Maya Fayfman, MD traveled to Ethiopia under the mentorship of Emory faculty member Mary Ellen Sweeney, MD. During those rotations, they attended diabetes, gestational diabetes, and general endocrine outpatient clinics; worked with internal medicine residents and fellows; gave lectures, including Grand Rounds; and developed educational materials on diabetes care.
In 2014, Dr. Sweeney’s team worked with AAU faculty to develop protocols for outpatient and inpatient diabetes treatment. The protocols were made into posters and pocket cards and distributed to hundreds of internal medicine residents and faculty.
In 2015, the team developed protocols for hyperglycemic emergencies. These educational materials have been valuable resources for medical students and residents studying diabetes treatment. In addition, they adapted case presentations for Observed Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs) to the Ethiopian Endocrine Fellowship Program, presenting cases each year using materials brought from Emory. Last year, Shreya Pujara, MD, a first-year Emory fellow, received a travel grant from The American College of Endocrinology. This year, she was accepted into the Global Health Residency Scholars Program. In early 2017, Drs. Pujara and Sweeney will travel to Ethiopia, where they hope to expand upon their previous work. Next year, they hope to develop protocols and educational materials on cardiovascular risk reduction through the management of hypertension and lifestyle; the detection and treatment of microvascular diseases; and a collaborative research project on the treatment of diabetes.
Dr. Sweeney said, “The endocrinology in Ethiopia fellowship program has impacted Emory faculty and fellows in several positive ways. Our fellows have learned about the global treatment of diabetes—particularly in resource-poor areas of the world—and the need for the development of community-based diabetes education and treatment.”
Emory has developed a strong partnership with the fellows and faculty of AAU. Drs. Haw and Fayfman, who both now serve on the Emory University Department of Medicine faculty at Grady Memorial Hospital, remain passionate about their time in Ethiopia and plan to continue their work in global health.
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