Library grant to enhance emergency medicine in Ghana

January 28, 2014

The Taubman Health Sciences Library has received an Elsevier Foundation grant to finance the enhancement of education, research and practice in emergency medicine in Ghana.

The award is part of the foundation’s Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program, which funds innovation in improving access and use of scientific, technical and medical information.

“We are always on the lookout for game changing projects that can serve as models with lasting impact on our health and science communities,” says David Ruth, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation and Senior Vice President Global Communications, Elsevier.

The project, “Information skills training in emergency care: Strengthening research and healthcare capacity in Ghana,” funded for two years, is in conjunction with the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative (GEMC), which aims to improve emergency medical care in Ghana through training physicians, nurses, and medical students. Awareness of the urgent need for such training followed a stadium disaster in Ghana that killed 127 people.

The GEMC is a partnership between Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the Ghana Ministry of Health and the U-M Department of Emergency Medicine and School of Nursing.

Gurpreet Rana, the Health Science Library’s global health coordinator, says the project is a wonderful opportunity to further the library’s engagement in the GEMC, which began in 2007.

When Ghanaian scholars visit U-M, Rana often provides information resource training sessions. But, she says, “It’s not sustainable – teaching a two-hour class to a group of medical or nursing students and then sending them on their way.  The grant will allow us to develop a sustainable program for lifelong learning in the emergency care environment.”

Rana will travel to Ghana to assess information needs, learn about present information infrastructure and conduct training. She intends to approach with a listening ear to learn about the local culture and needs. For example, many emergency care doctors in Ghana carry smart phones, but they do not have access to the same information resources as doctors at the University of Michigan; so Rana and others must identify clinical and primary information sources that are accessible to practitioners in sub-Saharan Africa.

Beyond creating a sustainable Ghanaian model for information skills training of emergency faculty, health and information professionals, the project plans to create a template for assessment, training and retention in emergency and trauma care that can be used in other developing countries.

The grant includes funds requested for open access publishing fees. Rana explains, “We hope to not only teach, but to learn through this program and bring back information that can be used in other countries as well as in Michigan. We want what we learn to be accessible and helpful to everyone.”

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Last modified: 01/28/2014