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Global Engagement Office announces research grant awardees

two men, two women stand outside with building, tree in background

The Global Engagement Office at WVU Health Sciences is pleased to announce winners of their annual faculty research grant award. Named in memory of Nancy Sanders, an essential figure of the Global Health Program at WVU who passed away suddenly in 2017, these awards aim to support faculty in creating long-term, self-sustaining global activities. 

This $10,000 award focuses on the development or expansion of global health scholarly projects, including collaborative research projects involving faculty in different schools and/or institutions of Health Sciences willing to collaborate with their international colleagues on common healthcare related disciplines that are currently challenging in West Virginia.   

There are two recipients of the 2019 Faculty Research Abroad Grant: 

Dr. Krista Pfaendler, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, will serve as principal investigator on a project aimed at enhancing multidisciplinary research collaboration and strengthening advanced level clinical and research skills of medical personnel from various specialties participating in the gynecological oncology tumor board in Lusaka, Zambia. 

The most important aims of this project are to improve patient care by providing an environment where clinical cases are discussed in a systemized format with participation of gynecologic oncology, clinical oncology, pathology, radiology, nursing and social services; and to build advanced level clinical and research skills capacity of local staff to ensure sustainable generation of locally relevant evidence-based practice. This should culminate into developing multidisciplinary clinical care protocols for women treated for gynecological malignancies in Zambia and multiple publications of much needed evidence of care of cancer patients in a low resource environment. Zambia, a country in Sub-Saharan Africa, falls in the top five countries with the highest incidence of cervical cancer.  Co-investigators on this research project include Dr. Dorothy Chilambe Lombe, specialist at the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia and Specialty Training Program Coordinator in Clinical Oncology at the Zambia Colleges of Medicine, and Dr. Paul Kamfwa, local supervisor of Gynecologic Oncology at the Women and Newborn Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. 

A second grant was awarded to Dr.  Christopher Dionne, assistant professor, Department of Medicine, for his proposal to increase diagnostic imaging availability at Taplejung District Hospital in Taplejung, Nepal, by training clinicians in the use of point of care ultrasound. 

The objectives of this project are to develop and provide an online ultrasound curriculum that supplements in person instructional sessions by POCUS trained WVU physicians. Most importantly, this project will provide ongoing remote review and quality analysis of their obtained images. Should this project show this is an effective means of education, there will be an opportunity to develop and refine the curriculum so that it could not only be used at other international sites, but also in resource limited settings domestically. Taplejung District Hospital is the most outlying governmental hospital in northeastern Nepal. It serves as the main hospital for a region stretching into the High Himalaya to the Tibetan and Indian Border, with many communities only accessible by a multi-day walk. Joining Dionne as co-investigators are Dr.  Jenna Sizemore, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, and Sirish Shrestha, MSc, biostatistician at the WVU Medicine Heart and Vascular Institute.