September 30, 2020

Toolkit for Global Ultrasound

Global Health Subcommittee

Ultrasound and global health seem married in many ways. Given limited access to imagining modalities in most low-resource settings, combined with growing expertise in Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) and smaller and affordable ultrasound machines, ultrasound is being used in global health on an increasing scale. The range and diversity of global ultrasound is vast and spans across many disciplines, including emergency medicine, radiology, OBGYN, anesthesia and internal medicine, to name a few. The programmatic goals and scope are as diverse as the disciplines. Some include short experiences focused on using ultrasound as a screening tool or as a clinical adjunct during medical rotations. Others include educational capacity building and developing core skills in growing residency or other training programs. Still others focus on training ultrasound leaders that will then become trainers in their respective countries.

Regardless of the differences, all programs require thoughtful consideration prior to initiation, especially regarding various technical and programmatic aspects specific to the global context. In many cases, these technical aspects may be things that someone who has not worked on such a program before may not even know to ask. Think: How will you get the machine through customs? How will you keep the machine secure? Is there reliable power? Will the plug even fit? Can you get gel locally or should you make it out of cassava? Education and curricular decisions have similar challenges. Can I teach in English? What is the staff turnover? How do I ensure investment and completion of the program? Do I need to give out fancy certificates at the end? (Btw, the answer to the last question is YES).

At the ACEP19 Annual Convention, the Global EUS Subcommittee came up with the idea to create a Toolkit designed to cover technical nuts and bolts, programmatic considerations, and other insights from experience and expertise. Our goal is to create an open-source document that can assist those interested in global ultrasound to help guide and prepare them, learning from our insight and trial and error. So far, a core writing group has identified relevant themes including machine selection, technical aspects, education and curriculum, remote QA, and research. Our next step is to the bring these chapters to life.

We welcome all incomers (subcommittee members or others)! If interested in learning more, please contact Jessica Schmidt.

Jessica Schmidt, MD, FACEP
Assistant Ultrasound Director, Medical Student Education, University of Wisconsin

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