Residents working with Médecins Sans Frontières: training and pilot evaluation.
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AbstractBackground: Well-prepared humanitarian workers are now more necessary than ever. Essential to the preparation process are: clearly defined learning objectives, curricula tailored to the nuances of humanitarian settings, simulation-based training, and evaluation. This manuscript describes a training program designed to prepare medical residents for their first field deployment with Médecins Sans Frontières and presents the results of a pilot assessment of its effectiveness. Methods: The training was jointly developed by the Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine- CRIMEDIM of the Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy, and the humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières- Italy (MSF-Italy); the following topics were covered: disaster medicine, public health, safety and security, infectious diseases, psychological support, communication, humanitarian law, leadership, and job-specific skills. It used a blended-learning approach consisting of a 3-month distance learning module; 1-week instructor-led coaching; and a field placement with MSF. We assessed its effectiveness using the first three levels of Kirkpatrick's training evaluation model. Results: Eight residents took part in the evaluation. Four were residents in emergency medicine, 3 in anesthesia, and 1 in pediatrics; 3 of them were female and the median age was 31 years. Two residents were deployed in Pakistan, 1 in Afghanistan, 1 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1 in Iraq, 2 in Haiti and 1 on board of the MSF Mediterranean search & rescue ship. Mean deployment time was 3 months. The average median score for the overall course was 5 (excellent). There was a significant improvement in post-test multiple choice scores (p = 0.001) and in residents' overall performance scores (P = 0.000001). Conclusion: Residents were highly satisfied with the training program and their knowledge and skills improved as a result of participation.
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